deals of the day 300x162 When that great deal on electricals is more like a dodgy dealIt’s almost Christmas. That means it’s almost time for the post-Christmas sales, where many people try and get that electrical bargain they’ve been mulling over. However, a new investigation by our chums at Which!!! reveals that, as a massive surprise to no-one, some of these ‘offers’ aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, and in some cases aren’t even offers.

Which!!! tracked the prices of electrical goods over the course of six months at Amazon, Argos, Currys and John Lewis. They found a number of ‘deals’ where the savings either didn’t exist or were much lower than claimed.

Some examples of non-deals include:

Argos maintained that the Nikon D3300 was on offer at a £200 saving even when it was only £10 cheaper than the previous month.  There was also a note saying it had previously been sold for a cheaper price.

Amazon’s ‘discounted’ price for a Philips iron was actually higher than the Philips RRP of £65. Which!!! couldn’t find any other retailer selling it for more than £65 either.

The Canon EOS 70D  has an RRP of £1239.99 according to Amazon, making their offer prices of £959.99 and £967.99 look pretty impressive. However, Canon’s own typical selling price of £959 means you would probably have ended up paying £8.99 more.

Which!!! asked the retailers for their comments. Amazon said: ‘We work with product manufacturers to provide our customers with a wide range of information about any given product, including RRPs. We aim to provide the very latest information.’

Currys said: ‘We are proudly transparent on our prices, which are 5-10% cheaper than most of our multi-channel competitors. We are the only retailer to always show customers when and for how long our ‘was’ prices applied, both online and in- store. We strictly observe government guidelines on pricing by giving customers clear information.’

John Lewis said: ‘It is never our intention to mislead our customers. We have very robust checking procedures in place for our offers. However, our processes do rely on manual input and it appears there was a human error. We have reviewed our processes and when we display information about the dates a product is at the higher price it will be in a more prominent position.’

Argos said: ‘We work hard to ensure that all of our offers are fully compliant with all regulations and guidance. For full transparency, we use explanatory text and reference intervening prices. We cannot comment on retail prices that the manufacturers have quoted due to competition law.’

So what can you do? Well caveat emptor rules, and make sure you do your research when contemplating one of these purchases, rather than taking the word of a business that has a vested interest in relieving you of your money. For Amazon products, you can always use a price tracking system like camelcamelcamel to see whether you are getting a genuinely good price, or set up a price alert to buy when the price falls.

Google to introduce one-click shopping?

December 18th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

google Google to introduce one click shopping?You’ve inevitably seen Amazon’s one-click ordering button, and it looks like Google want in on the action too.

A report reckons that Google’s ‘Shopping’ tab will soon allow you to buy stuff without going through menus and the like.

So does that mean Google are getting into the idea of e-commerce? Not quite - Google won’t be selling the products directly, which means that the internet behemoth is likely to team up with business partnerships with other retailers.

Sounds like it is going to be slightly more faffy than Amazon’s offerings.

Talks with retailers are said to be in preliminary stages, and, if rumours are to be believed, Google like the idea of to-day shipping, again, very similar to Amazon who have Amazon Prime.

As these talks are in the very early stages of development, it could mean that Google ditch the idea after weighing up all the pros and cons. However, Google want more of your data and online behaviour patterns, so this is an attractive prospect that they’re obviously going to take seriously.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

Shoppers happy to buy wonky looking fruit

December 18th, 2014 No Comments By Ian Wade

funny shaped vegetables Shoppers happy to buy wonky looking fruitWhat do you think of wonky fruit? No need to tell us because we’ve got some figures to share!

Mintel’s Fruit and Vegetables UK 2014 report (very exciting) found 48% of shoppers who bought fruit and veg, would be totally into buying disfigured root vegetables that resemble genitalia and moody looking fruit, if they looked edible enough.

56% of the researched believe that retailers should do a bit more to reduce the amount of food they waste, with 28% voicing concerns about the amount of fruit and veg that ends up scrapped.

Kiti Soininen, head of UK food, drink & foodservice Research at Mintel, said: “It is clear that consumers are open to ‘ugly’ produce, but where oddly shaped fruit and veg sits with mainstream offerings, it is at risk of going unchosen, even if subconsciously.”

“The fact half of consumers would buy good quality oddly shaped fruit and veg, and the recent focus on food waste and the grocers’ role in curbing it showed there was scope to actively use the non-standard quality of produce as a selling point”

“Prices come across as a real consideration for many and by positioning ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables as a tasty, low-cost option should help the grocers to reach this group.”

So, don’t turn that carrot away because it doesn’t conform to conditioned pre-conceptions of what beauty is, right? Yeah.

kanavape 300x282 Introducing the first cannabis electronic cigaretteDo you enjoy the drugs, but trying to quit smoking? Well, rejoice stoners, for the first ‘e-joint’ is now available to buy in the UK.

The first cannabis electronic cigarette came out in June, but it was only available abroad.

KanaVape, a device similar to electronic cigarettes but with cannabinoids, will be purchasable online from the UK from next Thursday.

The product uses hemp with 5 per cent cannabidiol, meaning that it apparently gives users the same effect  – especially the relaxed feeling – as cannabis but without the psychotic side-effects.

The e-joint will mean users can inhale cannabis vapour without the usual smell of smoke.

However the makers of Britain’s first e-joint – Antonin Cohen and Sebastien Beguerie – claim their product is entirely legal as it contains no THC – the chemical in marijuana.

As if to make it sound a bit wholesome, the hemp used in the e-joint is grown in France, Czech Republic and Spain without the use of synthetic pesticides and chemicals.

They said, in unison apparently: “We made KanaVape to give millions of people a legal and tasteful way of using cannabinoids. We craft our production with love, care and scientific research. KanaVape is good for our customers and good for the planet.”

Drug charities aren’t that impressed by the idea, shading it off as something of a lousy gimmick, but accept that it will be legal due to the THC issue.

That’s literally someone’s idea of a very merry Christmas. Not here though. Bitterwallet’s body is a temple.

amazoninstant Being chased for full payment after 1p Amazon cock up?You heard about the 1p cock-up at Amazon? Well, some people got themselves a bargain before Amazon corrected the glitch.

Well, turns out some companies aren’t happy about this and have sent messages to customers, saying they want the rest of the money.

One avid BW reader told us that they were sent an email by a company called PremiumBrands4Less. The order has been fulfilled by Amazon and dispatched.

The email reads: “Dear Customer, firstly, I’d like to apologise for the disruption this email may cause. We experienced a problem with Amazon UK yesterday at about 18:00GMT and worked to fix the original issue by 20:00GMT.”

“We continued to work over the following few hours in conjunction with Amazon to revert any incorrect prices to their original prices, caused via the Amazon system. We have received communication that Amazon will not penalise sellers for this error, but have requested we contact buyers and ask them to create a return request to return the stock back to amazon.”

“We are continuing to work to identify how this problem occurred and to put measures in place to ensure that it does not happen again. We’ve been in business for over 4 years and we’ve always taken pride in the levels of service we provide, so everyone here is devastated and disappointed we experienced this problem. Unfortunately, our inventory lost over 10000 units within a space of 2 hours, which couldn’t be prevented. This will result in PremiumBrands4Less entering liquidation as a result of this pricing error by amazon.”

“We understand that you think you may have grabbed a great bargain, but we have instructed amazon to revert the prices to our usual prices and recharge your card with the correct amount owed. We would like to offer customers a grace period of 7 days to create a return request and return any stock incorrect priced and dispatched. If this action isn’t carried out, we will seek to recover sums owed”

“1. By recharging your credit/debit card
2. If funds are not available, passing to a debt collection agency
3. Informing experian and getting your address added to the mail order black list”

“We would like to urge customers to be honourable and honest during this Christmas period and not take advantage of a small business, who cannot afford to give away its £100,000 inventory for under £100. This will create a number of job losses in the run up to Christmas, due to the behaviour of a select number of customer.”

“I again reiterate, the products were not Amazon Inc, products, but were PremiumBrands4Less owned products dispatched on our behalf by Amazon Inc.

Yours sincerely

PremiumBrands4Less”

What do you make of that then? Would you laugh at them and think ‘hard cheese! I’ve done nothing wrong and you can whistle!’ or would you be guilt-tripped into helping out a small business?

**UPDATE** When queried, Amazon responded. Have a look in the comments.

facebook 300x300 Facebook catching up as a search tool for Christmas ideasWhen Facebook aren’t recreating HAL, who will try and kill us all through the power of dead-eyed nagging, they’re apparently a portal for shopping research for Christmas consumers.

It seems that, according to research, nearly a quarter of UK shoppers researched festive gifts on Facebook. This is according to some lot called Searchmetrics, who said that 23% waltzed around Facebook looking for ideal presents.

This isn’t quite as much as Google’s 50% search share, but creeping up fast.

Of course, Amazon is still the daddy in this instance, taking the top slot with 61% of shoppers finding the answers to their gift solutions on there.

The chief technology officer and founder of Searchmetrics, Marcus Tober, reckoned: “One of the benefits of looking for product ideas on social networks is that you get to see feedback and preferences from other consumers, as well as participate in online discussions about products with a range of people, including your own friends and followers. And of course purchase recommendations from other shoppers – especially friends – can be very powerful,”

This news will gladden the heart of Mark Zuckerberg, as apparently he’s been eyeing up Facebook to become more searchy, and hopes to enhance that further.

Lower down the findings, both Pinterest and Twitter had 7% of shoppers sifting through them for ideas for gifts.

Tober has advised retailers on increasing their internet presence for Christmas: “They should be trying to increase their visibility in Google searches, as well as building a strong presence on social networks such as Facebook. And even if they are not present on marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, they need to be checking these sites to see what their competitors are doing.”

We await the figures from the report that tells us all about people going into shops, holding something in their hand for 40 seconds and thinking “it’ll do.”

Britain’s first ‘social supermarket’ is here

December 15th, 2014 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

supermarket sweep b 300x225 Britains first social supermarket is hereWhen we first heard the phrase ‘social supermarket’, we assumed it would be some awful social media experiment selling cheeses called ‘LOL’ and toilet roll with hashtags on it.

Mercifully, it is much nicer and more useful than that, as it is a supermarket that sells items at a fraction of the price for people who are struggling financially. The Community Shop is a cooperative that want to help those stuck in food poverty and will sell goods that are deemed surplus food, donated from the big supermarkets.

Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, the Cooperative, Ocado and Marks and Spencer are all on-board.

Each of these social shops will operate through a membership scheme, so try and make sure it is solely available to those who are skint. It won’t stop some people trying to pull a fast one. For the latter, we advised swift retribution, concerning the seat of someone’s pants and a foot.

At the shops, there’ll also be advice on how to make wholesome, cheap food and help in how to find work. The first official store has opened in London’s Lambeth and a national roll-out is planned after a successful pilot in Goldthorpe in Yorkshire.

John Marren, chairman of Company ShopGroup, who run the scheme, said: “Members can shop for good food at great prices, which eases pressure on their family budgets, and they will also access tailored, professional development programmes, to kick-start positive change in their own lives.”

Amazon’s 1p cock-up causes mayhem

December 15th, 2014 3 Comments By Ian Wade

amazoninstant Amazons 1p cock up causes mayhemA software error on Amazon’s website on Friday saw hundreds of things sold for literally 1p.

The error, which occured between 7pm and 8pm on Friday, could cost retailers – who use the tool RepricerExpress – thousands of pounds.

So what happened? Well, this software balls-up has seen hundreds of items sold for just 1p. The tool, which promises to “auto-optimise” prices on behalf of retailers, allowing them to “sell more and keep listings competitive 24/7 without constant attention”.

While those who spotted the glitch, ramraided the site for tat they didn’t necessarily need and wanged on about it on Twitter, the retailers being hit are mainly small companies, and family-run set-ups.

Well what did Brendan Doherty, the RepricerExpress CEO, have to say about the matter?: “I am truly sorry for the distress this has caused our customers. We have received communication that Amazon will not penalise sellers for this error. We are continuing to work to identify how this problem occurred and to put measures in place to ensure that it does not happen again.”

Amazon said the majority of orders were cancelled immediately and confirmed it would be working with sellers who had seen orders processed.

A spokesman for Amazon said: “We are aware that a number of Marketplace sellers listed incorrect prices for a short period of time as a result of the third party software they use to price their items on Amazon.co.uk.”

“We responded quickly and were able to cancel the vast majority of orders placed on these affected items immediately and no costs or fees will be incurred by sellers for these cancelled orders. We are now reviewing the small number of orders that were processed and will be reaching out to any affected sellers directly.”

UK trounces rest of World in online shopping

December 12th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

online shopping  UK trounces rest of World in online shoppingEveryone! We’re a nation of online shoppers! Praise be! That’s how much we hate human contact and actually walking down a street!

The UK spends around £2,000 online per head each year on average – it’s 50% more than the nearest rival Australia manages, and is down to broadband and our inability to get off our arses.

A higher use of debit and credit cards has also been cited as quite a key thing, according to a new report from Ofcom.

As a bonus, Ofcom also discovered two-fifths of advertising spending was now happening online – way more than in any other country.

Ofcom said the popularity of online commerce was boosted by widespread superfast broadband access in the UK, which is ahead of France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Nearly eight in 10 UK homes have access to broadband services that provide connection speeds of at least 30 megabytes per second.

Said Ed Richards. Ofcom’s chief executive: “The internet has never been more important to the lives of people in this country, and the demand for better connections keeps rising,”

“We are making significant progress in this area. However, we all acknowledge that there is more to do, and this will be the challenge for the coming years.”

Tesco now selling giant champagne

December 12th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

lanson 203x300 Tesco now selling giant champagneA fine example of fiddling while Rome burns now, as Tesco have taken to selling six-litre Methuselah bottles of Lanson White Label Champagne.

A snip at £499, the troubled supermarket have limited it to four London stores as stockists, otherwise there’d no doubt be riots.

The bottles are only available from the following City of London stores : Bishopsgate, Tooley Street, Canary Wharf and Cheapside. Customers must place an order a day in advance, rather than swan in and clear the shelves, obviously.

According to Tesco Champagne buyer Charlie Craven (that’s his job title, he doesn’t just buy Tesco champagne out of habit or anything): “As the Christmas party season kicks off, we thought it would be a great idea to make some larger-format bottles available to customers,”

“Magnums have been popular over the past couple of Christmas’, but this year we thought we’d go even bigger.”

Maybe they confused Magnums with the jolly ice cream treat. Everyone likes them. Anyway, expect to these these huge bottles in the VIP section of a provincial nightclub near you, while someone ‘makes it rain’ with the contents of their 2p jar.

Yodel: the can’t cope with all your parcels

December 12th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

yodel 298x300 Yodel: the cant cope with all your parcelsThe Royal Mail have been complaining about having to deliver to everyone, so they’ll be pleased that someone else is having a bad time of it all too. Yodel, the couriers, have stopped collecting parcels from shops because they can’t cope with the spike in online orders after Black Friday.

So what’s the craic? Well, Yodel say that some people are going to have to wait for 72 hours while they clear their backlog. Now, that might not seem like a big deal to some, but you should know that there’s a load of nutters out there who demand everything, AND NOW.

Yodel have told their clients that there’s going to be no collections from distribution centres on today. They didn’t do any yesterday either. They’re hoping that everything will be back to normal on Monday, when of course, they’ll have another rush starting because it is the build-up to Christmas.

Hardly inspires confidence, does it?

In a letter to clients, the company’s executive chairman, Dick Stead, said that Black Friday and Cyber Monday had exceeded expectations and that, orders had doubled from the same time last year.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but one that we have had to take to protect service levels,” he said dramatically.

In a statement, Yodel said: “We would like to reassure shoppers that there is no suspension to our delivery service. Deliveries will continue throughout this period, and we are working hard to ensure that these are made as soon as possible. However, some parcels may be delayed for up to 72 hours.”

“By Monday we expect to resume our normal service. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience this may cause to our clients and their customers.”

Who uses Yodel? Well, Argos and Amazon for starters, but Amazon assured that those asking for next day delivery will still get their packages in the correct timeframe while Argos were a little more browbeaten and said: ”We are very sorry and are urgently contacting all affected customers to rearrange their collections.”

“In the meantime, unlike other online retailers, customers have the option of returning items at their nearest Argos store. 90% of the UK population lives within seven miles of one of our 734 stores.”

So there you have it.

Tesco get festive with Turkey & Stuffing doughnuts

December 11th, 2014 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

Tesco have been having glue for their breakfast, especially in the accounts department.

Seems like the product design team have been on something stronger than that, as they’ve got in the festive mood by unleashing doughnuts that taste like turkey and stuffing.

Yeah. We know.

weirdoughs 500x435 Tesco get festive with Turkey & Stuffing doughnuts

 

If you’re feeling giddy and mentally poorly, you can buy them for a quid from Tesco’s site and, if you do end up managing to bite into one and swallow it without crying it back up through your nose, feel free to review it for us and we’ll inevitably share your thoughts with the rest of the readers.

 

Lidl now selling record decks

December 11th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

silvercrest 300x192 Lidl now selling record decksLidl have started selling record players.

Yep, the demand for vinyl is at its highest since 1996 (mainly because people gave up pressing new records on vinyl in the mid-nineties, so yeah) and so, to capture that vogue, the supermarket chain has started stocking Silvercrest USB Record Players.

It’s the first time that the supermarkets have taken notice of such things, and Lidl are leading the way with stocking the £49.99 turntable.

The Silvercrest also offers FM radio transmissions, playback of MP3/WMA files from USB memory devices and SD/MMC memory cards, and playback of audio signals from external audio devices.

It will also digitise any vinyl that you’ve managed to source that’s not on the internet already directly to a USB stick or as MP3s to an SD/MMC card.

Silvercrest is a Lidl brand, and the turntables will be available throughout the store’s 10,000 branches across Europe.

Of course, this isn’t going to tick the boxes for craft-ale, Clarks-wearing 40something audiophiles, but as a starter record player for your hipster-leaning, music-nerd child, it could be an excellent Christmas present.

google wallet All I want for Christmas is to be able to pay for it via a digital wallet claim shoppersQuite a few shoppers would have liked to have used near-field communications (NFC) solutions to pay for things this Christmas.

This is according to a new survey from Skrill who have nothing better to do and added that over a third of 2,000 consumers responded, saying that they’d be well into it.

As an eye-opening insight into consumer habits, 40% said that when they have a budget, they stick to it.

59% believed a prepaid card with a set limit would minimise the risk of going mental, while 8% admit to using a digital wallet. The perverts.

36% reckon using credit cards online was the most likely way of overspending, however 90% said they’d purchase at least one thing online this season, with 26% making between one and five.

Spiros Theodossiou, vice president of product strategy at Skrill threw some insight into these findings: “New technology such as prepaid cards and digital wallets are an ideal way to curb expenditure, as you can set a limit and then cut your cloth accordingly. Spending with new technology like this can help people to enjoy their Christmas and a debt-free January too.”

Mobile wallets are rapidly becoming a thing, with the Apple Pay solution linking up with several retailers when it was launched in September.

Heineken and Wetherspoons: it’s WAR

December 10th, 2014 1 Comment By Ian Wade

Heineken 254x300 Heineken and Wetherspoons: its WARThe pub chain JD Wetherspoon has pulled Heineken products from its 926 in the UK after a bit of handbaggery over the supply to one pub in Ireland.

Wetherspoon reckoned Heineken had refused to supply, um, Heineken and Murphy’s Stout to its second Irish pub due to open in Dun Laoghaire.

(Is it an Irish theme pub in Ireland? Amazing).

Heineken was less than impressed that Wetherspoon’s first Irish pub were knocking out Heineken’s wares at 40% less than the competition. Whereas Wetherspoon claim Heineken requested its chief executive John Hutson give them personal guarantees to pay all the bills if the pub chain did not pay them.

So instead of doing away with the two ales in dispute, it’s now withdrawn all of Heineken’s wares such as Strongbow, John Smith’s and Fosters (so no great loss then).

In a statement released today, JD Wetherspoon said it is “no longer trading with a major supplier, Heineken, at any of its 926 pubs in the UK and Republic of Ireland”.

Tim Martin, Wetherspoon chairman, said: “We have been trading with Heineken for 35 years and they have never requested personal guarantees before. It’s obstructive to do so now, especially when we made record profits of around £80 million last year. The refusal to supply Heineken lager and Murphy’s just before the opening of our new pub in Dun Laoghaire, which represents an investment by us of nearly four million Euros,  is unacceptable and hard to understand.”

Heineken are probably meanwhile thinking “Oh yeah Christmas” and has said it was seeking a resolution “as soon as possible”.

In a statement the brewer said: “Heineken UK has had a long standing and successful relationship with JDW in the UK market over a 35-year period, and it is unfortunate that commercial issues in Ireland between Heineken Ireland and JD Wetherspoon have led to the current situation. We are seeking a resolution as soon as possible.”

For the love of Jesus.