Argos have found themselves in a row. A RACE row about dolls. So they have.
The original click and collect front, have a white doll priced £10 more than their black and Asian offerings.
The white ‘Maria’ doll, made by French company Corolle Calin, is being sold on the Argos website for £34.99, while Asian and black dolls ‘Yang’ and ‘Naima’ are for sale for £24.99.
All the dolls are, like, the same and beautiful inside and of the same dimensions and on the manufacturer’s website all three are sold at the same price of £23.
A mum of three named Lisa O’Reilly from Lincs reckoned: “It’s unacceptable for children to think white is better or more desirable. It’s wrong for our youngsters to grow up thinking non-white skin colours are worth less.”
“There’s enough prejudice in the world already without battling against racist toys.”
Argos blamed it handily on a genuine pricing error and said it was urgently rectifying the problem. Why, even a spokesman chipped in with “[We] can confirm all three dolls will be priced at £24.99″.
So that’s alright then. Nothing like checking these things BEFORE they’re uploaded, eh.
The British government looks set to vote on legislation at the next general election.
Australia have had the move in place since 2012, yet there’s been some disagreement as to whether it has made a blind bit of difference.
Australian smokers have been used to buying their snouts in plain packets for a couple of years now, with its depictions of rotted teeth and mank-lung, and so naturally the antis are saying “Hurrah!” and the tobacco industry are saying “Pffft”.
Figures from Australia’s Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Health show that by just about all measures cigarette smoking has decreased since plain packaging was introduced.
It also says that expenditure on tobacco products fell by more than A$100m (£53m, $80m) between December 2012 and March 2014. The figures for the first quarter of 2014 were the lowest ever recorded.
And there’s research that shows a considerable increase in the number of people calling quit-smoking advice lines. The cigarette companies are starting to see a decrease in sales, with Imperial Tobacco claiming the market has declined by 2-3%. Some suggest that this means smokers are fleeing to hooky suppliers with imported fags made up of barbed wire and sawdust. And with the average price for 20 fags in Australia being £12, who can blame them.
It is fair to say that the decline in smoking rates seems relatively small. But anti-smoking researchers say they were never expecting a huge drop-off, and that the plain packaging ruse was more about deterring new smokers from taking up the habit.
So ultimately, if it’s hardly having much affect in Australia, will it really win people over here?
British boozers are increasingly flashing their cash on higher priced wines, rather than the traditional ’8 for a tenner’ deals that we’re used to
The UK actually spends an average of £7 a bottle now, and overall look set to splash out £11 billion by 2018, turning the UK in the second biggest vino market after the states, barring any wine-based scandals
By then, wine consumption will reach 1.54billion bottles – the equivalent of 22.5 litres per head – according to a forecast by International Wine & Spirit Research for wine exhibition Vinexpo.
In some ‘no shit sherlock’ findings, they also noticed that wine sales were down during the recession.
Prosecco is the main driver in the wine explosion, with a 43% rise in its sales in recent years. Speaking about these spurious and wild claims, Vinexpo’s Guillaume Deglise said: “We can say confidently that 2015 will show that the UK wine recession is over.”
“While the UK market shed 9.6million cases between 2008 and 2013, it is now past its low point. The UK wine trade is building value and many leading marketers report progress at the premium end”.
White wine is the UK’s favourite, with 676.7 million bottles bottles expected to be drunk this year, rising to 698.7 million bottles by 2018. Spanish reds like the Rioja are becoming more popular, as drinkers turn their backs on French wines such as Bordeaux, and sales from regions such as Chile, Australia and South Africa have also slumped somewhat too.
So, that’s why you’ve been seeing all those ‘wine o’clock’ comments from functioning alcoholics on Facebook and Twitter.
We wouldn’t like to say that traffic wardens are pointless, dimwitted individuals, but you might after you hear about this.
In Carmarthen, a traffic warden is under investigation after they gave a parking ticket to a bin. That’s right. One of those big bins that are on wheels.
The bin was on some double-yellow lines and passers-by noticed the strange behaviour as the warden stuck a penalty charge notice to the rubbish receptacle.
Mercifully, Carmarthenshire council said that there was no ticket was inside the wrapper, so you have to assume that it was a joke by the warden. However, this being a council, they will still be looking into the traffic warden’s conduct.
Salesman Mike Jones told the BBC: ”It was bizarre – I realised I had just watched a warden give a ticket to a wheelie bin for bad parking. It appeared the warden slapped the plastic ticket envelope on the bin in a moment of high jinks after a member of public pointed out it was parked on double yellow lines.”
Carmarthenshire council traffic and safety manager John McEvoy said: “There was no ticket issued, it is not possible to book a wheelie bin or anything that is not motorised.”
“Although this was meant as a humorous incident, we take this kind of thing very seriously and have launched a formal investigation into the conduct of this officer.”
Alex Nash, from Cornwall, got an invite to a party just before Christmas and didn’t end up going. The schoolfriend’s mum – Julie Lawrence – said that the no-show left her out of pocket, so she sent a bill for £15.95 to compensate her.
Alex’s father Derek is understandably flummoxed by the whole thing, and has been told that he’ll be taken to the small claims court if he doesn’t pay up. And this is all because the Nash family decided that their child should spend some time with his grandparents instead of doing to a dry ski slope in Plymouth.
Alex’s parents said they had no contact information for Ms Lawrence and, more importantly, why on Earth would you invoice a child to sort this out, instead of being an adult and telling someone that you’d like a tenner off them or something, because the party was more expensive than you could afford?
The news was broken to the family when they found the invoice in a brown envelope in Alex’s schoolbag last week.
Derek Nash told the Beeb: “It was a proper invoice with full official details and even her bank details on it. I can understand that she’s upset about losing money. The money isn’t the issue, it’s the way she went about trying to get the money from me.”
“She didn’t treat me like a human being, she treated me like a child and that I should do what she says.”
Ms Lawrence isn’t having any of that though and… get this… in a statement, she said: “All details were on the party invite. They had every detail needed to contact me.”
Astonishing. You can only hope this is some kind of situationist prank or something. That’d still be annoying, but at least it wouldn’t be quite as bad as someone invoicing a toddler who probably drew all over the invite and ate it and forgot to tell his mum and dad about a party on a ski slope and ended up round his nanas for a plate of custard creams and a pint of Ribena.
The social network braindump is travelling the globe in a bid to encourage developers to build apps using Twitter data. This follows last year’s announcement that Twitter were launching a mobile devlopment platform called Fabric, which is supposed to make it easy for developers to create their own apps.
Fabric features a suite of tools that enable developers to monitor the stability of their apps, embed streams of tweets, verify users’ identities using phone number sign-in, and monetise their apps via the MoPub platform. Money! Everyone likes money.
Twitter will be roaming Earth offering all of these tools to developers for free, and making it extremely simple for developers to embed them into their apps.
Already, the likes of Spotify, McDonalds and the Wall Street Journal have come aboard using elements of Fabric to improve their performance and engagement.
There’ll be a series of half-day events in cities around the world, including London, Berlin, New York, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangalore and Sao Paolo. The London event will be on February 19th.
Twitter’s director of mobile platform Jeff Siebert said: “The mobile market is very much dominated by Apple iOS and Google Android. Where we’re different is we want to look across both of them, and we’re hoping to provide the tools that solve developer challenges no matter what platform they’re developing for.”
The company has also announced its first worldwide startup contest, called Hatch, which gives winners the opportunity to meet with potential investors and win cash to fund their projects.
“Our goal is to make developing apps as an individual as easy and powerful as if you have a large development team at a big enterprise,” said Siebert. ”While we obviously care about the big brands, our passion is enabling these small independent developers to build equally incredible experiences with just a few lines of code.”
Everybody can have incredible experiences with a few lines of… oh sorry, they said CODE.
Is that all?
Such things as ‘organising a whip around’, ‘please sponsor me’ and ‘happy birthday’ topped the list of irritating messages, as well as stuff like ‘the printer has broken’ and such mundane rubbish like that apparently sends people hammering the delete button.
A third of the 2,000 office workers polled went on to say that they have someone in their team who is known for sending pointless emails, and would like them killed.
The poll by headphone giant Sennheiser Communications found emails about fire drills, Secret Santa and milk shortages were also viewed as futile by workers, and that round robin affairs where everyone is cc’ed into them drive workers up the wall too.
53% of those polled said they wish everyone picked the phone up and spoke more to one another, rather than clogging up inboxes with wasted emails. Which is cobblers really, as you ignore calls just as much as emails.
Charlotte Gaskin, Marketing Manager at Sennheiser Communications, said: “We are used to firing off emails for even the slightest thing.”
“But it seems like some of the more mundane requests can be avoided. Copying in lots of people to emails does seem to be a bugbear of British workers. Sometimes it’s more effective to have a face to face conversation or just pick up the phone. This way there’s less room for misinterpretation as well.”
Shall we look at what are deemed pointless emails? Well, you’re here now:
Please sponsor me
Introducing new starters
The printer has broken down
There is going to be a fire alarm
Congratulatory emails about ‘a job well done’
Can everyone chip in for a whip around please
Someone’s car has left their lights on
Debates over the temperature of the aircon
Sweepstake for the lottery
Sweepstake for the Grand National
The toilet is blocked
Food has gone missing from the fridge
The fridge needs cleaning
Whose photocopying is left on the photocopier
Ran out of milk
Has anyone seen my building pass?
Someone is blocking me in the car park
Someone has stolen my stapler / calculator / etc.
Whose turn is it to make tea?
There aren’t any tea bags / coffee left
Someone has stolen my mug
Someone has used their favourite mug
The bins need emptying
Dishwasher needs empting
There isn’t any toilet roll left
Anyone got the keys to the pool car?
Charlotte Gaskin concluded: “It’s clear many people tend to hide behind emails, rather than have a telephone call. But phone calls don’t leave room for error and making a call is usually easier than writing an email, especially with the wide range of professional headsets we offer, which mean your voice can be heard in HD sound clarity.”
(Oh, here we go, here comes the sell)
“Headsets allow you to be hands free and multitask to allow for even the most hectic of working days. You’re also far more likely to resolve an issue quickly and correctly. Perhaps it’s time we all started using our voices a little more often.”
It is hoped that it make it a faster method for shoppers to add items to their online baskets.
Tesco Groceries is a free download for the £1,000 smartglasses, which went on sale in the UK in June 2014. That’s either demented thinking from the mad, or some proper well-thought out futurism.
You can operate the app by speaking commands, like “Glass, find me a Snickers” or via the scanning of barcodes that are in the sight of the shopper. Or, you could stand in a shop and find it yourself, put it in a basket and be stood outside eating it before Google Glass does anything useful.
Shoppers will also be able to look at how much fat or salt something has. Dullards.
The chain had prototyped it back in June 2014, probably imagining that Google Glass would become quite the thing. “We thought about how our colleagues might be able to use Glass to check stock hands-free, or how our customers might be able to add a product to their grocery delivery basket while making a cup of tea,” blogged Tesco’s Pablo Coberly at the time.
“Getting to that stage has been a journey into entirely new areas of user interaction: new gestures, user interface elements, and input mechanisms.”
Coberly has bugled about Google’s genius again in an updated post too: “The Glass Development Kit (GDK) documentation is good and getting better. The community is helpful and proactive about sharing knowledge, especially on stackoverflow. The Glass team at Google does all they can to try to make sure the glassware delivers the best experience possible.”
“This is a challenge given how Glass is still being developed, so it can be somewhat of a moving target. The Glass software platform went through 6 updates in the time we worked with it, which shows how much Google is still investing in the platform. Given the steady flow of software updates, and the various articles that have been published alluding to updated Glass hardware, I can’t help but feel this is still the beginning of the journey for Glass and for Tesco.”
Admittedly Coberly is not expecting it to happen overnight, allowing five to 10 years for our new eyewear overlords to enslave us all.
Crazy Chinese people news now, and a man has been arrested after trying to smuggle 94 iPhones into China. You might not think that this is mental at all…
…but this man tried to do it by strapping them on to his body, of course.
The man caught the attention of inspectors at the Futian crossing in Shenzhen, a southern Chinese metropolis bordering Hong Kong, who noticed the gent was walking a little funny carrying a couple of carrier bags, and was waved through when there was nothing suspicious found in the bags.
However, when he went through the metal detector, the alarms went off and he was busted.
Photos released by customs show dozens of neatly shrink-wrapped shiny iPhones strapped around the man’s chest, abdomen, crotch and thighs with duct tape. Dude clearly went to some right effort.
iPhones are quite the thing in China, with consumers going nuts for the gadget ahead of the launch of iPhone 6 last year. Apple handsets are also more expensive in the mainland than Hong Kong, due to higher import taxes. Fr’instance, an iPhone 6 with 64 gigabytes of storage, sells for almost $1,000 in the mainland but only about $820 in Hong Kong, hence a bit of a black market has sprung up.
This isn’t the first case of iPhone smuggling the authorities have seen, Shenzhen customs officials disclosed that they have caught 18 mules strapping smuggled electronic products – including 282 iPhones – on, or in their bodies since December.
One can only applaud the audacity and madness of the man who thought “Yeah. 94 iPhones strapped on my body. That’ll work. NO ONE WILL SUSPECT A THING”.
But in Mandarin obviously.
You know how it is – around Christmas, the cards, presence and stuff with fake snow on it ends up with your house being covered in a fine layer of glitter.
It is beyond annoying.
Well, there’s a company who has recognised this and is offering a service that allows you to send you enemies a package that will get glitter all over their house and clothes. Marvellous. Death by tweeness.
The folks at ShipYourEnemiesGlitter say: “We f*cking hate glitter. People call it the herpes of the craft world. What we hate more though are the soulless people who get their jollies off by sending glitter in envelopes.”
“We’ve had enough so here’s the deal: there’s someone in your life right now who you f*cking hate. Whether it be your shitty neighbour, a family member or that bitch Amy down the road who thinks it’s cool to invite you to High Tea but not provide any weed.”
“So pay us money, provide an address anywhere in the world & we’ll send them so much glitter in an envelope that they’ll be finding that shit everywhere for weeks. We’ll also include a note telling the person exactly why they’re receiving this terrible gift. Hint: the glitter will be mixed in with the note thus increasing maximum spillage.”
Order some bloody glitter here. (The site is having a bit of trouble, presumably with increased traffic today, so if the link isn’t working, that’s not Bitterwallet’s fault).
Yes, that’s right, ahead of Burns Night which celebrates the birth of Scottish poet Robert Burns on 25 January, the cheery supermarket will offer up bargain tartan kilts, ‘leather’ sporrans, and ghillie shirts ahead of Burns Night as it looks to “help everyone celebrate in proper Scottish style”.
OH GOD! YES! AYE!
They’re in store from January 15th across the chain’s 610 stores and available in two separate tartans – although you’ll probably have to read up on it – cost just £29.99, while a shirt is just under £12 and a leather sporran can be picked up for £10.
That’s some fresh garms on the cheap there, which even we’re tempted by – we’ve got the legs for one, apparently. We’ve always enjoyed having a bit of Scottish in us too.
Lidl’s non-food buying manager Josie Stone said: “This fantastic range, at unbelievably low prices, will give everyone the chance to celebrate Burns Night in proper Scottish style, whilst showcasing Scotland’s proud heritage and traditions.”
“Highland wear can often be unaffordable to many, costing hundreds of pounds, so it’s great to be able to offer an 8 Yard Kilt for under £30.”
However, a new study has shown that English train passengers are being properly rinsed, and can save up to 60% if they buy their tickets in Wales.
It’s a bit of a trek, admittedly, to get to Wales to then try and save on a train ticket, however people in Bristol – 20 miles from Wales – are stumping up over £50 or more just to get to major cities in the North, and single peak time tickets bought in Newport or Cardiff to the same destinations are up to £58.60 cheaper.
The key example of the ludicrousness is a trip to Manchester during morning rush hour on Monday next week will cost £80.70 from Bristol Temple Meads, but a train leaving Newport just four minutes later travelling to the same destination will cost less than half the price – only £32.
Welsh train operator Arriva offers cheaper fares on journeys heading north than can be found on many journeys leaving from Bristol, while services from Cardiff to Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool and Blackpool also proved cheaper than travelling from Bristol, but with just minutes added to the journey.
Latest figures from the Office of Rail Regulation reveal huge disparities between the government funding for passenger journeys, varying from an average of £2.19 per journey in England to £9.33 in Wales.
These price differences are the result of the system used by nationalised operator British Rail, which was privatised during the 1990s, according to Christopher Irwin, a director of Travel Watch South West, which promotes the interest of public transport users.
Irwin said: “The history of British Rail helps us understand how fares are priced. Before the railway was privatised, lines used to be classified in three categories; intercity fares, South East fares, which covered a lot of lines to and from London, and regional railway fares.”
“Traditionally regional lines would charge less, as those journeys would contain more stops and take slightly longer. Something like Bristol to Manchester would be classed as an intercity line, whereas something leaving from Newport and travelling through Wales is likely to be a regional line and would cost less.”
Not wanting to get all electioneering, but the party that promises to re-nationalise the railways, could win by a landslide.
The fast food chain are trying to get people to sit around their branches to make them look busier, and so that will work.
Teaming up with Aircharge, the Qi wireless charging devices will be mats that are wipe clean and water resistant and the service will be available in 50 McD’s London outlets, as well as other sites around the country.
Burger munchers will be able to use the service for free, presumably once they’ve bought something first. Then again, not everyone puts money in the till before having a McPiss do they?
The upcoming launch follows a successful trial in a limited number of restaurants.
Also, tellingly, the trial showed that customers were willing to wait up to 30 minutes just to use one of the charging mats. That’s a lifetime in a McDonald’s world, frankly.
The main problem here is that this technology only works with compatible phones, which are currently very few. If you have the Nexus 6 and Lumia 930, you’re in. If you’re not (ie The Majority Of You), then you’ll have to whistle. Or use a plug socket somewhere.
Ikea have come up with quite a clever advert as part of their ‘Wonderful Everyday’ campaign.
The ad sees flocks of t-shirts migrate back to homes with stylish Ikea storage solutions. It’s quite good. Have a butchers below. The 60-second ‘Joy of Storage’ commercial hits screens on 10th January across the UK and Ireland before print, digital and outdoor in the following weeks.
Ikea UK and Ireland marketing manager, Peter Wright, explained that the brand wants to move people’s thoughts away from seeing storage as simply a functional part of the home.
And he’s spouted a load of guff to back this up.
“Whether you have a detached house in the country or a one-bed flat in town, we know that there is joy and satisfaction in giving the things you love a home, whatever your storage needs are. The Joy of Storage is about the time saved and the stress reduced when you have things easily to hand, stored out of sight, or the freedom you get when things are in order.”
Freedom, everyone. FREEDOM.