The Rolling Stones are BACK! Yes, AGAIN! Arguably the world’s biggest still-surviving rock and roll act, Jagger, Richards, Watts, Wood, Jones, Starr, Holder and Bullard have announced a few gigs to help promote their new 50th anniversary greatest hits album.

It all sounds pretty good until you look at the cost of the tickets for their show at the O2 Arena, formerly know as the Millennium Dome. The cheapest ones are £106 and they go up all the way to a whopping £406. Yes, £406! Those prices include some fairly mammoth booking fees as well (£31 in the case of the most expensive tickets).

Are the Stones worth that amount of money (bear in mind that they probably won’t be doing this kind of thing for that much longer)? Is any artist worth that amount of money? TELL US!*

(*before noon on Tuesday)

Easter poll: Which egg would you like most?

March 27th, 2012 10 Comments By Andy Dawson

This is important, so please answer truthfully…

 Easter poll: Which egg would you like most?

[Egg pic via @christinamartin]

Scotrail ticket skirmish – too much or not enough?

December 12th, 2011 32 Comments By Andy Dawson

It’s time for us to sort society out once and for all. Here’s some amateur footage of a recent incident on a Scotrail train – a ticketless young man becomes embroiled in a stand-off with the ticket inspector, and seems intent on standing his ground until a fellow passenger takes action. Witness…

What are we to make of THAT then? Should such force have been used against the hapless youngster? Perhaps the ‘big man’ should have kept out of it and let the inspector do his job properly? Or should more of us ‘step up to the plate’ and dole out some instant justice to anti-social, fare-dodging little bell-ends? What do you reckon Bitterwalleteers?

 Worst Company in Britain 2011  start the nominations NOW!It’s that time of year again, when we look down the barrel of your eyes and ask you to start nominating your most hated names for our Worst Company In Britain award. This year’s eventual winner will follow in the footsteps of Setanta Sports (2008), Royal Mail (2009) and Vodafone (2010).

You’ve got, oh, a week or so to nominate the company that has got your goat the most over the past year. You can nominate any company as long as they operate in the UK (sorry again, haters of Finland’s wretched CakkiNet dial-up ISP).

Put your nominations and your reason for naming and shaming them in the box below or if you’re following us on Twitter, you can tell us which company you hate the most over there as well with an @ reply.

GO!

Bitterwallet poll: would you eat a horse?

December 1st, 2011 17 Comments By Andy Dawson

184128 mysterious horseboy proves internet sensation 410x230 300x168 Bitterwallet poll: would you eat a horse?Over in the USA, where they do stuff and the rest of the world blindly follows, the ban on the slaughter of horses for food has been lifted, leading to speculation that horse burgers could soon be on the menu in restaurants right across the land of the free.

Well, maybe not, but it’s a possibility. After all, horsies are eaten in many other countries, and why not? They’re just like cows but a bit different – from horses, it’s just a small step to dog consumption and then we’ll probably be eating each other.

So then, be honest, have you or would you eat a horse? TELL US.

Screen Shot 2011 10 21 at 16.26.02 Beef v pork   its time for the public to decideWe’re all VERY aware of the current campaign to get us all to buy and consumer vast quantities of pork – it’s got us brainwashed here at Bitterwallet and we’re in thrall to slogans such as ‘Love pork’ and ‘Stand by your ham’.

But shit just got real as beef is getting in on the action. November will see a new pro-beef promotional campaign that they hope will touch the hearts and minds of every single British citizen.

But who is behind this full-on piece of marketing. Well, there’s the National Farmer’s Union, as you’d probably expect, and of course, Ladies in Beef. What’s that – you’ve never heard of Ladies in Beef? Seriously?

Well as it happens, it was launched in March 2011 by the Princess Royal and its purpose is to… erm… raise the profile of beef. In campaigns such as the one we’ve just mentioned (which will be fronted by former Oxo mum Linda Bellingham, who makes a controversial leap from gravy to meat).

Minette Batters, from Ladies in Beef, said: “We are proud to support this initiative as we’re passionate about British beef. Our aim is to share with people the quality and versatility of British beef by raising awareness through our countrywide network of dynamic lady beef ‘champions’. We hope that everyone helps support British farmers by buying locally whenever possible.”

Now here at Bitterwallet, we like beef, but we also like pork. But which is best – there’s only one way to find out – VOTE!!

Poll closes at midnight on Sunday. There is NO VEGETARIAN OPTION.

VOTE for your favourite Bitterwallet magazine cover!

September 22nd, 2011 12 Comments By Andy Dawson

Hello readers. A while ago, former Bitterwallet editor Paul Smith launched a competition on the site, asking for you to design a front cover for a fictional Bitterwallet magazine that he’d imagined inside his moon-shaped head. Shortly afterwards, he resigned from his post.

This left the running of the competition to yours truly. From the very beginning I regarded the whole thing as a ridiculous waste of everybody’s time and relegated it to the very bottom of my to-do list, just below ‘performing amateur surgery on my dog’s ingrowing toenail’.

Then the comments section of some of our stories began to fill up with disgruntled competition entrants who were wondering why the whole thing had been sidelined. This amused me, and I vowed to ignore their comments for as long as possible.

But I feel as though I have stretched your patience far enough, and now it is time for you, our dear readers, to vote for your favourite Bitterwallet magazine cover out of this lot. You’ve got until midnight tomorrow night (Friday) and the lucky winner will receive a £25 Amazon voucher. Any lip and I’ll hang on to that for as long as possible as well.

COVER A:

bitterwallet magazine competition entry gav989 366x500 VOTE for your favourite Bitterwallet magazine cover!

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COVER B:

bw mag 344x500 VOTE for your favourite Bitterwallet magazine cover!


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COVER C:

bitter wallet MAG 353x500 VOTE for your favourite Bitterwallet magazine cover!


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COVER D:

BW COVER cmcintosh 353x500 VOTE for your favourite Bitterwallet magazine cover!

Bitterwallet Starbucks logo change 300x197 Bitterwallet poll   is free wifi ruining the coffee shop experience?It has been known for some, more or all of the Bitterwallet writers to spend part of their working week in a coffee shop, sucking up free wifi. Yes, we’re fully paid-up members of the LMT club – the Latte Mac Twats – ordering the cheapest coffee on the menu in order to check emails and piss about on Facebook.

But although we may only drink a couple of coffees while hogging a table for hours on end, we’ll return time and again to our favourite cafes and bookshops, because we don’t get any chew about working there. We’re loyal customers. The likes of Starbucks has become the second office and, in plenty of instances the primary office, to hipsters and Groupon salesmen and the Shelley Levenes of this world.

Businesses with free wifi secure our business and over time, our loyalty. Those without, don’t. But some proprietors aren’t fans of people pitching up with their laptop and minimum spends. Take this gentlemen, the owner of a bookshop that doesn’t offer wifi. People still sit at his table with their laptops, and it’s fair to say he has issues:

…the sight of people going into retail establishments and whipping out a laptop seems akin to public masturbation. What compels them to use their laptops in public? I suspect that there is some sort of exhibitionist behavior at play here. Why can’t they do whatever they are doing at home or back at the office? Or don’t they have homes?

The laptoppers will unashamedly sit for hours nursing a single cup of coffee while immersed in their “work,” or whatever the hell they are doing on their precious devices. An hour or two? That’s a short coffee break for these slackers. I’ve seem some of them hole up for five or six hours. But rarely, if ever, do these digital wankers ever buy an actual book.

It’s just another sign, in my opinion, of the decline of civilized society. Yeah, yeah, all these gadgets are nice and handy — and apparently indispensable for some — but they are also a major contributor to slothful, impolite behavior. It’s time to fight back!

The owner admits some laptop owners are perfectly polite, but that he hasn’t space for people wanting to do anything other than buy books and drink coffee. He then describes one lady who asks if there’s a power supply for her laptop as a ‘wench’. How to win friends and influence people.

The question is – is he right? Has mobile society gone too far? Does the sight of a dozen Mac Books put you off frequenting your closest coffee shop, or is it no more impersonal or impolite than sitting alone reading a book? Your vote and comments please, citizens.

groupon Bitterwallet poll   are you a Groupon groupie?Groupon has become a way of life for many frugal consumers. Their daily deals promise at least 50% off a whole host of products and services; there are plenty of imitators, meaning dozens of offers and vouchers flooding inboxes and social media every day.

But while there are seemingly plenty of satisfied customers, there are some scathing of Groupon, their customer services and the businesses ultimately offerings the deals. Here’s a snapshot of Groupon complaints posted on MeasuredUp:

“All was well till we realised that the boots and seats had not been cleaned (not even vacuumed). The company asked if I’d read the small print from Groupon. I couldn’t even find any, never mind read it. Apparently the service we bought into is normally £35 and doesn’t include any work on the boot or seats! We usually get our cars valeted much more thoroughly for £14. The company were very pleasant about it, but essentially blamed Groupon.”

“They sold me a days sailing on a huge white motorboat (they pictured the type seen in the south of France), when in fact Liverpool Watersports Centre do not own anything that remotely resembles this vessel. The lesson is in fact on a small black motorised dinghy. At £59 this was a terrible purchase for my husbands birthday and I wish I had bought him something else. Groupon have not replied to any e-mails and I have been mislead by their advertising.”

“I purchased a beauty voucher for my girlfriend, however, when she tried to use it the venue explained that more places had been sold than they could accomodate. I have since e mailed Groupon 3 times requesting the procedure for a refund. To date there is no reply.”

Of course, punters are more likely to complain than they are to praise, so negative comments are likely to be amplified – but as an avid BItterwallet reader, you’re no doubt a fan of a bargain too. So today’s poll – are you a Groupon groupie? Have you done the daily deal dozens of times or would your rather stay clear? Cast your vote in the poll below and let us know what you think in the comments.

Bitterwallet LG Optimus 3D 300x184 Bitterwallets Friday poll   what do you think of 3D products?Yesterday I had a quick play with the LG Optimus 3D, the £500 3D smartphone due for release in the UK next month. While it fun to explore beaches and underwater coral in wacky bonkers 3D without wacky bonkers glasses, I struggled with the point of it. But then I’ve struggled with the point of 3D from the beginning; I got my first pair of 3D glasses on the cover of Look-In when I was a kid and my reaction was probably much the same as it is now – it’s a gimmick that gets tired pretty quick.

The main problem for me is that the 3D market is entirely self-fulfilling – there was no consumer demand for 3D, it adds very little value to the content and it doesn’t represent any significant, long-lasting step forward in technology. 3D purely exists in the here and now because it wrings more money out of the consumers – the 3D experience costs more at the cinema, it costs more to watch at home.

That’s before you consider how poorly the 3D treatment in films is implemented – I had to watch the last 3D film without the glasses, because otherwise my eyes would have been strained out their sockets. And the health issues around Nintendo’s 3DS may have been exaggerated by the media, but any product with the potential to cause nausea can hardly be considered a winner.

3D doesn’t feel like the future for technology, more a sideways step to indulge the entertainment industry and shortchange the customer. Then again, perhaps I’m just annoyed that we’re pissing about with 19th century novelty turns instead of cracking on with the holodecks.

So the question for the increasingly adhoc Bitterwallet poll concerns what you think of 3D. Would you buy a 3D product? Do you own one already? Vote away and let us know what you think in the comments.

Poll – where do you buy travel insurance?

April 11th, 2011 1 Comment By Paul Smith

summer holiday 300x293 Poll   where do you buy travel insurance?As we gear up for our summer holidays, our thoughts will slowly turn to to minutiae of it all; the squeaky detail that requires checking and double-checking. Some of you will, of course, leave it until the week before to check your passports and visas are in order, and hilarity will no doubt ensue.

What about travel insurance? Since many of us now put together our own itineraries instead of relying on travel agents, we’re free to pick and choose where and how we source insurance, if we bother at all. And everywhere will flog you insurance; it’s the perfect up-sell for hotel websites and flight operators, supermarkets and pharmacies, an easy way for vendors to line their pockets.

So where do you buy your travel insurance for the family holidays? Or do you save a few quid and not bother? Let us know in the poll below, and squirt your comments in, too.

Just what is the best picture on the internet then?

February 27th, 2011 6 Comments By Andy Dawson

There’s been some mass debate (stop laughing at the back) over the past few days about just what is the best picture on the internet. The row was sparked by the appearance of this picture…

T3Zox 500x365 Just what is the best picture on the internet then?

Thousands of people have united, all of them saying: ‘Yes! THAT is the best picture on the internet!’ But there has been some dissent over the past 48 hours. A rival faction has appeared, saying: ‘No! THIS is the best picture on the internet!’

248015299 500x311 Just what is the best picture on the internet then?

Well, we like the cat picture, but we also like the cow picture. But which is best? There’s only one way to find out – VOTE!

You’ve got until noon tomorrow (Monday) and then we’ll be able to settle this important issue once and for all…

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, all the talk has been around tablet launches. That, and how not to get mugged in every third street of the city centre. The HTC Flyer, LG Optimus Pad and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 are just some of the headline devices to be announced in the past few days (see Mobot.net for in-depth mobile news from MWC), and this activity follows on from January’s Consumer Electronics Show when nearly 100 new tablets were launched.

HTC Flyer Bitterwallet poll   will you be buying a tablet PC in 2011?

Apple doesn’t attend MWC, although the iPad was certainly the delegate’s hardware of choice. It’s a little odd to hear company CEO’s making derisory comments about Apple, when they’re already a year behind the game, and throwing everything they’ve got at a market Apple created. Regardless, the tablet PC will dominate 2011 and manufacturers in Barcelona are expecting big numbers from their sales.

The question is, is all this activity enough to make you consider shelling out for another portable device? Is there now a tablet that has the functionality you’ve been waiting for? Or are you still struggling to see the point of a device bridging the gap between your mobile and your laptop? Let us know and share your Marmitesque feelings concerning tablets in the comments.

TripAdvisor 300x176 Bitterwallet poll   are you a fan of TripAdvisor?There’s a lot of stuff and nonsense about TripAdvisor flying around today, after the Guardian published an extensive article that said much the same thing three times over. At the nub of it was the fact that hoteliers still aren’t happy with the hotel review site and are still considering legal action, while TripAdvisor are still holding their ground.

There is a little more to it than that; there’s the commentator who points out that some people are never happy – even when offered the opulence of five star accommodation, they will piss and moan about the ripeness of their breakfast watermelon and leave a one star review as a result. The point is that the views of the ludicrous carry as much weight as the views and the reasonable and sane, and it’s left to consumers to figure out which are which.

Other issues are more difficult to deal with; the fact that PR agencies can be employed to astroturf the site – not only planting positive reviews about their client’s hotels, but leaving negative reviews about competitors. Perhaps the more interesting claim came from TripAdvisor themselves with regards to Duncan Bannatyne; that “in the case of Bannatyne’s hotels we have had several worrying examples of individuals being intimidated by Bannatyne and his hotel representatives.”

Ultimately, the article doesn’t answer the question that matters – for all its faults, are consumers ultimately better off with or without TripAdvisor? We’re fans of the site, but then we’re also able to prevent ourselves plunging our hand in boiling pots of water and stepping out in front of moving traffic. In other words, we don’t live our lives by it – it’s just one source of information alongside many others.

So over to you, the avid Bitterwallet reader and occasional traveller. What do you make of TripAdvisor? Place your vote and comments below.

lovefilm logo As Amazon buy Lovefilm, we ask   where do you buy your films?Popular online movie rental concern Lovefilm will soon be entirely in the clutches of Amazon after the mack daddy of online entertainment retail agreed to gobble up the remaining 58% of the Lovefilm shares that they don’t already own. Amazon snaffled up the other 42% back in 2008.

The news comes a day after it was revealed that old-school ‘bricks & mortar’ movie retailer HMV are in the brown, sticky stuff, having recently announced the closure of stores along with reports that suppliers are facing pressure from insurance companies. In other words, there’s not a lot of confidence in HMV right now.

hmvpa 468x374 300x239 As Amazon buy Lovefilm, we ask   where do you buy your films?As a combination of mass-market adoption and online competition forces the cost of physical product into the floor, HMV is struggling to make the profits it once did. Music sections have been reduced to bestsellers, DVDs are piled high to sell cheap and Blu-ray titles will inevitably go the same way. HMV is being forced to rely on volume in order to make money these days, instead of selling titles at £15 a pop. There may still be hefty profit in a £30 game title, but it isn’t HMV’s core business.

HMV is quickly running out of  formats that generate high yields, but also running out of customers who care about buying physical product. It’s difficult to see stores like HMV still in business in a year or two, never mind five or ten.

So while we note the strengthening of an online brand while prematurely signing the death warrant of a British institution, safe in the knowledge it’ll happen at some point before we die, we thought we’d ask about where you lot usually buy your films these days – assuming you’re buying them at all, of course. If HMV isn’t getting your business, then who is? Let us know, popcorn gobblers.