BLACK FRIDAY1 300x300 Black Friday: How to shop at work without your boss knowingSo, Cyber Monday and Black Friday are nearly upon us. If you’re at work, you might be cursing your luck that you’ll be missing out on a shedload of bargains.

If you work in an office with an internet connection, then you don’t need to miss out.

That means, you don’t have to use up your holidays, throw a sickie and get paid while dossing about on the computer. If the company you work for have it in your contract that they can snoop on your internet history, then let’s be clear on this – you do it at your own risk and Bitterwallet will show zero sympathy or compensation if you get sacked or anything else.

Okay? Good. Let’s have a look at some of the things you can do to buy a load of stuff while sat at your desk.

KILL YOUR BOSS

If you want to get away with shopping, kill your boss. Also, kill any snitches too. If killing seems a bit much, then simply maim them.

INCOGNITO MODE!

Use an incognito window while shopping at your desk without your boss cottoning on. This method of browsing automatically deletes cookies, browsing history and any other data from your hard drive. Sadly, it isn’t a feature on all browsers, but if you have Chrome, Safari, IE, Firefox or Opera, you’ll be fine. All you need to do is press these buttons, if you’re not willing to execute your boss.

Chrome: CTRL+SHIFT+N (or, if you’re on a Mac: SHIFT+COMMAND+N )

Safari: Click the gear icon in the upper right hand corner and hit ‘Private Browsing’

Opera: CTRL+SHIFT+N for Windows; on a Mac press SHIFT+COMMAND+N

Internet Explorer: CTRL+SHIFT+P

Firefox: CTRL+SHIFT+P for Windows; on a Mac press SHIFT+COMMAND+P

TOGGLER

To toggle quickly between tabs while keeping an eye out for people who might grass you up, use keyboard shortcut CTRL+TAB and you can flick between windows without anyone noticing. Or, if you maim your boss or murder them, toggling is completely needless.

THE UPSET STOMACH

Pretend you’ve got the squits. That way, you can regularly sneak off to the toilets and check out all the deals on your mobile. All the app stores have farting sound effects apps you can get, for added authenticity. Or you could just stick an axe through your boss’s spinal column.

THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK

Take a screengrab of your work. That way, you can have a full screen image of what you’re supposed to be doing when people check out what you’re doing. It is like creating a mask for your computer. Or, if you’re on Chrome, you can download the ‘Boss Button’ extension, which hides your screen’s activity while your gaffer is snooping around. Or, if you like, you could throw you boss face-first into a wood chipper. Up to you.

You’re good to go! For more tips, if you’re a Black Friday n00b, check this out. For all our Black Friday bargain finds, advice and tips, click here.

CLICK HERE FOR OUR LIVE UPDATES ON ALL THE BEST BLACK FRIDAY DEALS

Royal Mail can’t deliver to everyone

November 26th, 2014 4 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Royal Mail Royal Mail cant deliver to everyoneEven though the Royal Mail said that they were looking at doing a Sunday service, they’re now saying that it is financially impossible for them to fulfil their legal obligation to deliver mail across the whole country, six days a week.

The say that competition from companies like Whistl (that’s TNT to you) is hitting them so hard that they won’t be able to provide the universal service. The uniform tariff is what they’re blaming, which means that prices are going to be changed. That inevitably means a more expensive service for us.

While talking to a parliamentary investigation into competition in the delivery sector, Royal Mail Chief Exec Moya Greene said: ”If you allow cherry picking in the urban areas you undermine the economics. It siphons off very quickly a lot of revenue – more revenue than can be offset by even very vigorous efficiency measures and it makes the universal service unfinanceable and uneconomic.”

Whistl CEO Nick Wells, who just happened to be sitting beside Greene, said: ”As a start-up business we cannot cover every household in the UK. We are going to dense urban areas… it’s the only way you can develop effective end-to-end competition.”

It’s no joke. Royal Mail have previously said that Whistl’s expansion plans could cost them more than £200 million in revenues by 2017. The Royal Mail want Ofcom to hurry themselves up and bring forward a review planned to take place next year which will look at the impact of competition on the universal service, because they’re worried that their rivals will be bedded-in, in the profitable areas, before an inquiry has taken place.

Ofcom said, basically, ‘we’ll think about it’.

Twitter introduces Offers

November 26th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

twitter offers 300x277 Twitter introduces OffersTwitter have just introduced a new thing called Offers to US users.

Twitter will work with a variety of brands to offer up deals on various things, and they’ll be able to redeem discounts from the social network.

Once an offer gets linked to your card, you can then use it to buy where the discount will be activated. Also, Twitter will also be able to focus deals to particular users based on their Twitter habits and which brands they engage the most with.

According to a Twitter blog post: “Starting today (in the US only), we’re beginning to test a new way for advertisers to connect with consumers on Twitter and convert them to loyal customers in their stores, on their websites and in their apps.”

“This feature, Twitter Offers, enables advertisers to create card-linked promotions and share them directly with Twitter users. As we continue to learn and improve based on the experience of our advertisers and users, we’ll make this feature available for more advertisers.”

It sounds a bit Groupony to be honest, but no doubt we’ll embrace it when it arrives over here at some point in the New Year.

Spar Guy sticks up for consumers

November 26th, 2014 3 Comments By Thewlis

a man in his shop 227x300 Spar Guy sticks up for consumersHere at Bitterwallet, we’re always banging on about sticking up for consumers, but a shop assistant in Dublin has gone far and beyond the call of duty in sticking up for his customers in Spar. Henceforth he shall be known as SparGuy and imagined in lycra and a cape.

While everyone is both entitled to hold their own opinions, and dress how they like, when one customer expressed his homophobic attitude towards a ‘flamboyantly dressed’ fellow customer in the queue, SparGuy did not quietly ignore the incident as most of us might have done, he decided to stick up for the person who was rudely insulted while simply doing his shopping.

Mr Insult Pants, who was in the queue with a lady friend, reportedly smirked “look at the faggot in the shorts” before laughing with his companion, while just inches in front of said shorts-sporting customer. SparGuy came to the rescue, however, and flat refused to serve the antisocial customer who felt entitled to insult other people just because he wanted to.

Of course, there are no laws to prevent people insulting other people, and we all know a few who could do with a good slanging match, but in Spar, SparGuy is King, and Spar rules allow all shoppers to shop insult-free as far as possible. And to pre-empt ‘whatever happened to freedom  of speech?’ thoughts, remember: you are free to say as you please, but not free from the consequences of saying them. That’s called ‘House Rules’ that.

Anyway, after some discussion, the insulting customers left without their purchases, and the insultee told his tale on social media, with Twitter commenters roundly lauding SparGuy’s actions. Spar were also impressed by their employee, commenting “We believe in respect for all people and therefore we’re very proud of #SparGuy.” There are no faggots in Spar. Not even Mr Brains’.

sparguy pic 500x198 Spar Guy sticks up for consumers

But Spar won’t be out of pocket, in case you were wondering about the lost sales to the barred customers, as Twitter users have claimed deliberate patronage of the Dublin store to show their appreciation for SparGuy’s stance on homophobia.

Or perhaps it’s just a stance on being a decent human being to other human beings.

And in the spirit of human concern, we also join some Twitter users in recommending the man saved by SparGuy think harder about his choice of clothes in future- not for sartorial reasons, but just to ensure he doesn’t freeze to death wearing shorts at the cold end of November…

Lenovo prank customers by breaking stuff

November 26th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Lenovo have hit upon a novel way of promoting their wares.

The company have enlisted comedy lot Upright Citizens Brigade to make a video to promote Lenovo Yoga 3 laptop where they mess with people’s heads.

It’s being termed as ‘prankvertising’ which is possibly the worst word ever and should be helicoptered out to the middle of the sea and dropped like toxic waste.

The stunt involves UCB members posing as employees of Lenovo and touting the hinged hybrid computer to shoppers passing by a laptop-test-drive kiosk at Pennsylvania’s Plymouth Meeting Mall. The stooge employee tells shoppers of the laptop that transforms into a tablet: “What makes this laptop special, among many things, is that it bends. Try and do that with a Mac.”

So obviously he picks up a Mac and snaps it. Hahaha. Before handing the broken laptop to the poor customer and runs away. Obviously the reaction shots are what makes the ‘prankvertisment’

Once the prank is revealed, everyone’s all good and smashing, though we don’t know whether they come back to buy a Lenovo Yoga.

According to Bob Cordell, digital marketing manager for Lenovo: “We definitely recognize people will [view] this in different ways, just as we recognize there are passionate supporters of other people’s products,”

“But we hope to do this in a way that we’re upfront about it. We’re not trying to pull a fast one.”

Harriet Green ditches Thomas Cook

November 26th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

thomas cook shop Harriet Green ditches Thomas CookHarriet Green has, out of the blue, quit as chief executive of Thomas Cook after only two years in charge of holiday botherers.

As you may recall, Thomas Cook were a fixture in our Deathwatches, but Green managed to turn things around when she took the wheel two years ago. Back then, it was worth less than £150m and now, it is worth around £2bn.

However, her sudden exit has made everyone jumpy and shares in the company have fallen by 20%.

In a statement announcing her leaving Thomas Cook, Green said: “I always said that I would move on to another company with fresh challenges once my work was complete. That time is now.”

 

Now, compare that to last week, when at a conference, when she implied that she’d be there for a while yet: “You can’t do a transformation on this sort of scale in a year or two years. I usually say it’s about six years. We go to the City next week with our second year of results and to show if and how the company has become fitter and better and we’re absolutely not done.”

So what’s going on? Does Green know something about the company and we’ll have to stick Thomas Cook back in Deathwatch? Or was she pushed? Most importantly, can we have a load of cheap holidays out of this while Thomas Cook tries to woo us back into their arms in a bid to impress the stock markets?

We don’t care if Green left because they were doing ritual slaughter in the boardroom if it means we can get a holiday in a sunny coastal region on the cheap.

Super Wi-fi throughout the UK could be a thing

November 26th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

WIFI icon 300x300 Super Wi fi throughout the UK could be a thingThe UK looks set to be super WiFi’ed up if a plan to use old TV frequencies gets the go ahead.

The idea is to broadcast super WiFi throughout the land, which will mean you’ll be able to get an internet connection literally anywhere. The new WiFi would travel through walls far more effectively than current systems and has a range 100 times greater than current routers.

According to researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the fast connections could be made available to the public for free.

The WiFi would use up the white space between TV channels, and offers speeds similar to 4G

It all boils down to the government allowing people to use it, rather than sell it off to telecoms companies that they may have interests in.

Arnd Weber of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology said: “Implementation of our approach would have far-reaching consequences. Individuals, institutions, and companies would be far less dependent on expensive mobile communications networks in conducting their digital communication. This would also be of great economic benefit.”

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology hope that governments can discuss the issue at next year’s World Radiocommunication Conference. Which sounds like quite the party.

wine Aldi take on the poshos by selling vintage wine for cheap!Every Christmas, Aldi start annoying all their competitors by selling fancy booze for knock-down prices and, this year, they’re wooing the middle classes by taking on Selfridges and the like, by flogging vintage wine for £18.99.

Among their booze offerings, they’re selling something referred to as ‘the king of wines’, which is the six-rated Chateau Pajzos Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos. No. Us neither. We’re assured that it is rare and raved about and a dessert wine from Hungary which won gold from the International Wine Challenge (our invitation to that was lost in the post, clearly).

Aldi have been saying that this wine retails at £76 per bottle and they’re selling it for £18.99. Having a browse online, Selfridges sell the 5 Puttonyos Tokaji for £35.99, which is somewhat inferior to the one being sold by the German supermarket.

If dessert wine isn’t your thing, Aldi are selling Ducastaing 1973 Armagnac for £24.99 and a Glen Marnoch 18 Year Old Single Malt Whisky for £29.99. Considerably cheaper than most other places selling it.

They also have Chevalier XO Cognac for £29.99, Insuperable Solera Gran Reserva Brandy De Jerez for £15.99 and Maynard’s 10 Year Old Tawny Port (bronze medal winner at the International Wine Challenge) for £9.99.

Aldi are so pleased with their prices that they’ve made a little chart for you to read.

chart 500x333 Aldi take on the poshos by selling vintage wine for cheap!

creditcards FCA investigation into credit card market to ensure consumers interests protectedThe FCA are at it again, actually doing something for consumers. This time they have outlined exactly what they are going to do to verify “whether credit cards are marketed in a way that works against the best interests of consumers”.

The investigation was announced back in April, but the details of the specific areas being targetted by the FCA has only just been released. Recently Which!!!’ called  for an end to 0% credit cards and an increase in minimum payments, both of which look like they will be picked up in the terms of reference for the FCA enquiry.

The FCA will look at three main areas; first, how easy it is for consumers to shop around, compare cards and find one that best meets their needs. Specifically, they are concerned that consumers are unable to shop around effectively owing to product complexity and opaque terms and conditions.

Second, they want to know how firms recover their costs across different cardholder groups- specifically whether certain groups (eg poor credit customers) are adversely impacted, and whether this prevents new products coming to market.

Finally, and in keeping with the FCA comparison of the credit card market to payday lending, they want to look at issues around unaffordable lending and whether particular groups of consumers are over-borrowing or under-repaying their credit card balances. Tied in with this is investigating whether credit cards are marketed in a way that works against the best interests of consumers. This is where 0% cards (that carry a transfer fee) and artificially low minimum repayments are likely to be scrutinised.

Credit cards in the UK are a big business with around 30 million consumers carrying a credit card, accounting for £56.9 billion of outstanding debt.

Mike O’Connor, the chief executive of StepChange Debt Charity, said: “We welcome today’s announcement by the FCA. Too many people are using credit as a safety net when all too often it is a trap which leads to problem debt.

“Credit card debt is one of the most common debt problems we see. Many people are struggling with multiple debts, high balances and interest rates.”

Christopher Woolard, director of policy, risk and research at the FCA said: “The credit card market is well-established and hugely important for UK consumers, who hold around 70 per cent of all credit cards in Europe. We want to understand in more depth what drives consumers to make the choices they do and how firms develop the services they offer. We want to make sure that the market works well for all consumers and that card-holders get a fair deal.”

The FCA is seeking feedback on the scope of the market study by January 5 next year.

Tesco and customer write poems to each other

November 25th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Tesco and a customer have been flirting with each other in the most nauseating way imaginable – by writing poems to one another.

That’s right, a pair of Charlies wrote to Tesco’s Sir Richard Broadbent with a poem about salted popcorn and how their local branch had no plans to restock it.

Honestly.

10382849 10153451000014988 6622340706480997225 n 500x337 Tesco and customer write poems to each other

Tesco replied with a poem and a £10 voucher while the rest of us vomited up everything we’ve got (save for the saps who will inevitably say ‘Ooooh stop complaining – it is just a bit of fun!’. They’ll be the first against the wall come the revolution).

 

Amazon and the Post Office: together at last

November 25th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

amazoninstant Amazon and the Post Office: together at lastAmazon have just partnered up with the Post Office! No really. It’s happened. Bolt the doors.

Don’t panic, it’s not forever or a bid for the Christmas No.1 or anything, the online retail giant have teamed up with the posties, to allow buyers to have their parcels delivered to the branches directly.

That’s quite good news for anyone whose postman stashes their items with the neighbour but neglects to inform the actual recipient.

10,500 Post Offices are now added to Amazon’s Pickup Location Programme – which sounds slightly unsavoury. This however brings the total of Pick Up posts to 16,000 in the UK.

It’s an odd but good move for the online shop to team up with the very thing it was trying to destroy, which is quite a nice festive message for us all to take from it.

Oh but of course, there has to be something in it for Amazon too, so the service will be yet another incentive to sign up to its Prime subscription deal; free with Prime, Post Office deliveries will otherwise cost standard First Class post rates.

Google nix homophobic games and trolls

November 25th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

asshunter 300x199 Google nix homophobic games and trollsGoogle have got rid of a game that required the gamer to kill gay people. Which is nice.

Ass Hunter had already been downloaded over 10,000 times and had 200 five star reviews, but was eventually pulled by Google after some people online went “Yeah, that’s a bit iffy”.

Basically you play a hunter with a shotgun – such a good look – and you must kill naked men before they approach you. Nice! If you fail to kill the naked men, they pounce upon the hunter and bum him. Enlightening.

In the description of the app, its uploaders AppDay – who sound like charmers – described Ass Hunter as a “Legendary game, where you are hunter and your mission is to kill gays as much as you can”.

When the game went up on November 5th, the description read “Popular game hunting on gays is now on Android! Play and do not be gay!” (Seriously. Someone has received money for coming up with that tagline). Making homophobia justifiable with such taglines as “Remember! When they catch you they will do with you whatever they want.” the game was also exempt from classification so anyone could download it.

Well done everyone. Genuinely, give yourselves a round of applause. Anyway, it’s gone now, but if you’re desperate there are versions of it lying around the internet.

In addition to that, Google have gone after trolls. Not particularly willingly, mind you. The internet giant lost a legal battle with a man who took them to court for extreme trolling.

Daniel Hegglin, a former Morgan Stanley banker, had took action in an attempt to block links to the “vile and abusive” posts about him from appearing in its search results. He’d been accused of being a murderer, paedophile and Ku Klux Klan sympathiser by one particular troll who we could surmise ‘had some form of grudge’, with posts saying as such on over 3,600 websites. That’s literally ‘a bit too many’.

Hegglin settled the case with Google yesterday, despite Google’s lawyers suggesting that the case could have enormous implications., with the search engine basically being held up as the internet police.

Hugh Tomlinson QC, acting for Mr Hegglin, told the court that Google had taken steps to remove the material: ”Whilst I am not in a position to disclose the details, I am pleased to report that the parties have now settled the matter,” he said. “The settlement includes significant efforts on Google’s part to remove the abusive material from Google hosted websites and from its search results.”

Now Hegglin plans to bring the troll to justice, however he doesn’t know who they are. Oooh – this is slightly worrying now: ”Google provides search services to millions of people and cannot be responsible for policing internet content. It will, however, continue to apply its procedures that have been developed to assist with the removal of content which breaches applicable local laws.”

A Google spokesperson said the company had “reached a mutually acceptable agreement”. Now: why can’t everyone just play nicely?

Sony pull masturbation advert

November 25th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Sony posted an advert on their YouTube channel last week, but thanks to a load of criticism, they’ve decided to pull it. The commercial, which uses a console for a masturbation euphemism was yanked offline after people were displeased at the depiction of a ‘sexy’ doctor going on like she’s talking about pud pulling.

The clip talks about being able to play your PS4 games on your Vita. It seems, the more you play with it, the harder it gets.

There’s criticism that adverts for games in 2014 shouldn’t be just aimed at randy teenage boys anymore, but the real criticism should be that the advert is thoroughly rubbish.

Sony haven’t said why it took the ad down, but you can assume it was the knee-jerk ranting about sexism and the like. That said, the gaming industry is very, very jumpy at the minute, what with all that very unpleasant #gamergate business still doing the rounds.

Of course, this isn’t the first time a console-vendor has used a bit of nudge-nudge-wink-wink to flog some games. Microsoft did pretty much the same skit in 2010.

Give us a shout when everyone’s stopped being so offended.

Google make Christmas shopping easier

November 25th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

Google have made spending your money even simpler for you this Christmas.

The search engine has been updated to include new elements on smartphones and tablets to sell you even more stuff this Black Friday.

Extra information will be yours when you tap in something like ‘kettles’, and it will tell you where the product is available and user reviews and will pop up on a regular search. You’ll also have the option to use a 3D, 360-degree rotation tool to view some products.

Google Mobile 151x300 Google make Christmas shopping easier

Oooh.

Google reckon half of all people between 25 and 34 use their phones to shop while they’re out shopping. This new app will enable them to do so with even greater ease, and you’ll be even able to track your items and stock levels. I mean, how much more help does one want here?

car in flood Admiral insurance could charge you £145 more just for paying monthlyCar insurance is compulsory, so once a year you have to find the spare cash to insure your car for another year (making sure you shop around at that time to find the best deal). In recent times, of course, it has been possible to pay for your insurance monthly, convenient for people paid monthly, but it seems that some insurers are trying to cream extra profits out of poor instalments payers- by charging extra on top of additional interest charges.

In an ideal world, insurance companies would allow you to spread the cost of your annual insurance over the months you use it free of charge. Unfortunately these are insurance companies we are talking about, so there is generally an interest charge for spreading the payments- although it’s always worth checking what this is, as the rates can vary wildly between providers. However, a new Which!!! investigation has discovered that, in addition to interest charges, some insurers are charging monthly customers more just because they can.

The offending insurers are the Admiral group of companies, which includes the Elephant and Diamond brands, who are using this double-dip approach to effectively charge monthly customers twice for paying monthly. By comparing the annualised monthly and the one-off annual insurance cost on a number of vehicles, Which!!! found that the difference could be as much as £145.

The examples found by Which!!! include a quote with Elephant.co.uk for a 25-year-old Toyota driver, where the annual premium was £594.66. Without including a charge for interest, however, when selecting a pay monthly premium, the cost rose to £642.36. Interest was then added on top of the inflated premium, bringing the full cost over a year to £702.35. That’s £108 more for paying monthly.

Of course, the insurer would never admit to charging people more for anything. Instead what they are actually doing is offering single-payment customers a ‘discount’ from the standard price. Of course they are. Which!!! found that these ‘discounts’ varied considerably depending on the scenario and insurer. For the Toyota driver above they ranged from £44.52 to £47.70, while for a 30-year-old Audi owner they were as little as £2.12 with Diamond and Elephant, and £8.48 with Admiral. In the worst case, Which!!! found a difference between one-off and monthly premiums of £145.22 on a quote for a Ford Focus Zetec, insured with Admiral.

Which!!! say they “don’t think [insurers] should be attempting to make a second profit on customers” who don’t have the funds, or who simply choose to pay their premiums monthly. We agree, although capitalist society can’t blame the insurance companies for trying. What’s clear is that if you do check quotes at renewal, you are likely to find a cheaper monthly premium by selecting an insurer who doesn’t bump up the prices.

Admiral declined to comment owing to “commercial sensitivity.”