Archive for January, 2010
- The airline that is offering beds instead of seats in economy class ā but thereās a ban on the yankee doodle.
- The genius boy-man (pictured) who has hacked the unhackable PS3.
- Is Virgin Mediaās piracy-busting software an illegal privacy attack?
- Pioneering online newspaper paywall scheme ignored as readers flee to the free.
- How to avoid a hefty upgraded bill if youāre a Sky Broadband subscriber.
- The Daily Express have been telling porkies ā well whoāda thunk it?
- COMPETITION TIME: Win an Apple iPad! No, really!
- The Daily Mail have been telling us all that nearly everything will cause cancer. Hereās a handy round-up.
- Do cowboy clampers face a crackdown with the launch of a new tribunal service? Doubtful.
- Finally, the future of synthetic fashionwearā¦ as it looked in the past.
Supermarkets who set a limit on how long their customers can use their car parks are breaking disability discrimination laws, according to an investigation by the BBC.
Increasingly, supermarkets enlist the help of private firms to oversee car parking, using keen-eyed patrol twats and automatic number plate recognition to ensure that customers donāt hang around for too long, er, buying stuff (no, us neither.)
But in a survey by the BBCās Breakfast programme (Susannah Reid eh fellas?) about two thirds of 124 large supermarkets from the big four chains confirmed that their parking regulations donāt allow any extra time for disabled people to shop, something which flies in the face of the Disability Discrimination Act.
Neil Coyle, from the charity Disability Alliance, told the Beeb: “Supermarkets need to acknowledge there is a problem, and secondly, very quickly they need to ensure their car parking procedures conform with the law.
“You or I can stamp our feet and say how outrageous it is but at the end of the day there is a law that protects disabled people from this happening,” adding that the supermarkets need to end the “unfair charges” or “they can wait until someone takes a legal case and potentially face a considerable compensation case”.
Our favourite unfair charge of course, was the one brazenly advertised by Sainsburys in Kettering which was a whopping Ā£50 for a stay in excess of two and half hours. Thankfully, the charge has since been amended, as has the sign, possibly by someone with feet for hands (who ironically would qualify for a longer stay in the car park, feet for hands of course being a recognised disability).
Have you entered yet? No? You delicious fool, you. Don’t think leaving it until the last moment will help you. Bitterwallet are giving you three chances to win an iPad, so what are you waiting for? You only have until 5pm on Wednesday to enter, dontcha know.
The terms and conditions are in the original post here, otherwise read on to find out how you can win:
- if you havenāt already, subscribe to our email alerts; you can do this by entering your email address in the top right hand corner of the page where it say āSubscribe To Email Alerts!ā and completing the registration process. This counts as one entry.
- using your powers of cognitive thought and imagination, complete the following quote in 12 words or less:
āI would lose my virginity all over again to Bitterwallet if I won an Apple tablet, becauseā¦ā
Post your completed quote in the comments of the original announcement – you’ll find that here; weāre not judging them on grounds of content, so donāt take too long to compose it. Remember to include a valid email address in the appropriate field when you leave your comment ā donāt worry, other readers canāt see it. This counts as one entry.
- If youāre on Twitter, tweet a link to this post (or simply retweet this one) and include the hashtag #bitterwallet. Donāt spam folk with multiple tweets as weāll only be counting eligible accounts once. This counts as one entry.
As soups go, it’s a little on the thin side but it’s smashing with a breadroll and black pepper:
Scores of you nominated BT in our recent Worst Company In Britain 2009 competition, and the widely loathed company have just snuck out another reason for you to nominate them at the end of 2010.
From April 1st, the beginning of the period when customers can make free evening calls will move back an hour, from 6pm to 7pm in a move that is bound to enrage millions of BT customers.
According to The Guardian, the announcement will be tucked away at the bottom of a letter and email sent out to customers this week entitled āImportant information about your BT service.ā You know, the sort that most of us rarely bother to read. Those who donāt bother to read it will find out all about it post-April when their plumped-up bills arrive full of charges for calls made between 6pm and 7pm.
But we donāt want you to think that BT are a gang of cack-eyed time thieves because theyāre not. Theyāll be pushing back the free evening call period, which will now end at 7am instead of 6am. Great news for those of us who like to wake up at 6.05am and ring up a chum for a good natter.
In a weak attempt to justify the cash-grabbing move, a BT spokesman blah-di-blahed āWe’ve looked into it and 6pm to 7pm is a busy time for calling, but it’s the time when people make short, organisational calls. It’s between 8pm and 9pm when they sit down to have a chat.”
Oh. Thatās alright then.
iPhone apps – how do the world’s greatest developers come up with the apps that have wasted our time, money and precious lifeforce revolutionised our lives? Here’s how Apple staff decide what apps they should offer on their devices. Or it might be another fratboy video in the style of The Office. Quite well done, though:
Rejoice drivers! The Mirror is reporting that, at last, there is hope for motorists who get their car clamped by rogue firms.
Apparently, you can now take your case to an independent tribunal which will have powers to act if you’re clamped on private land. These tribunals will cover England and Wales and Northern Ireland and are being established under an amendment to the Crime and Security Bill, currently going through Parliament.
Basically, you’ll be able to threaten these mercenaries and challenge their clamping fee for things like their failure to comply with a code of practice setting out how much time must pass before a car can be immobilised.
Clampers will now have to make sure that any signs warning you of a potential clamping meet minimum standards of visibility. Hopefully, this means you’ll actually be able to see them and they won’t try pulling (yet another) fast one on motorists.
There will also be a ceiling on the release fee. Unfortunately, it’s looking like it’ll be above the Ā£70 maximum charged by local authorities. That said, anyone who tries stinging you for more will have to pay the excess. If you can convince a tribunal that your car has been unfairly clamped, then you’ll be able to claim compensation for the costs incurred – including things like your hiring of a hire car while you argued it out with clamping pricks.
Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said: “The government is committed to preventing abuses by unscrupulous wheel clamping firms and their employees. The introduction of an independent appeals process will for the first time provide independent recourse for motorists who feel aggrieved by unfair practices of rogue clamping businesses.”
Bargains by HotUKDeals. Tricky true or false questions by us. You by you.
THE DEAL: Eight Daim bars for only Ā£1.00.
TRUE OR FALSE? The Daim bar was originally the Daimler bar and was produced in conjunction with the car manufacturer as it was believed that the melted chocolate would not damage the seats. Rigorous tests proved otherwise and the deal was scrapped.
THE DEAL: Various kids slippers at only Ā£2.99 per pair. Available in Peppa, Rory, Thomas, Dora and Toy Story flavours.
TRUE OR FALSE? The character of Peppa Pig is based on John Merrick, better known as The Elephant Man.
THE DEAL: The JML Iron Gym total upper body workout bar ā only Ā£14.68.
TRUE OR FALSE? Following a complicated lawsuit in 2008, the small print for this item states that āJML can not be held responsible in the event of userās torso exploding due to overuse of body workout barā so tread carefully readers.
(deals found by HUKD members ukdannyb, amibees and P04287544)
TRUE OR FALSE? All statements are FALSE.
Strike a light, the past is a terrifying place to visit and no mistake. If you donāt believe us, just look at this 1970s advert for ICI and their range of synthetic-fibre clothing. Actually, donāt strike that light because you might set fire to the clothes.
Back then, terylene and crimplene were part of a ācomfort revolutionā and every Jason King wannabe drowned himself from head to toe in clobber made by, letās face it, a chemical manufacturer. Like wearing a hat that someone found in Chernobyl.
The creepy narrator keeps on saying ācrimplene for menā like heās trying to hypnotise us into buying some of the synthetic clothing. Its eerie and we do not like it.
Mustā¦ buyā¦ crimpleneā¦ safariā¦ suitā¦
Kellogg’s will be cutting down on the salt in your cereal so you don’t have to, rendering Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies and other brandsĀ almost pointless and flavourless thanks to a third of the salt being taken out. Slugs are said to be ‘overjoyed’ by the news.
Of course, this comes after pressure from health watchdogs who spend their time weeping over the stats on food packets that no-one understands.
The Government’s Food Standards Agency and campaigning health groups have been asking Kellogg’s to change their recipes. The FSA says Britain is eating too much salt. Britons can, it’s worth pointing out, buy salt separately and drown everything they eat in it, if they want.
Apparently, the daily average for salt consumption is 8.6g, which is 43% above the recommended limit of 6g. This figure is linked to loads of premature deaths from conditions linked to high blood pressure, including strokes and heart attacks.
This change in recipe means that 300 tons of salt a year will be removed from the nation’s diet.
Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of Consensus Action on Salt and Health, said: ‘We are thrilled that Kellogg’s have finally acknowledged that people don’t want salty breakfast cereals.
‘However, even with the new reductions, Kellogg’s breakfast cereals will still have more salt than many others available in the supermarkets, so they still have some work to do.’
Bloody hell. Assuming that Kellogg’s is the biggest selling cereal on the market, surely that’s an indication that people like a shitload of salt in their breakfast? People who don’t want it can buy other brands, right?
Next week: Watchdog demands arse-wiping action from colons.
Avid Bitterwallet reader Haresh is one of many folks who has four eyes instead of two. No, not really, that’d be freakish. He does wear spectacles, however, so he ordered a couple of pairs of simple prescription glasses from ExclusiveEyes.co.uk:
The site promises a great deal, including a “no quibble money-back guarantee… a 100 per cent quality guarantee – this means that if there is anything wrong with your glasses, you get your money back without a quibble”. They also offer a guaranteed dispatch of all simple prescriptions within three working days. They’re certainly attractive guarantees for an online retailer to offer, and to this end the website crows about them on several pages of the site.
Haresh has several issues with Exclusive Eyes. First and foremost, despite a guarantee of a three day dispatch for a simple prescription, the glasses took nearly a month to arrive. When initially challenged, Exclusive Eyes told Haresh his order was shipped on a given date; when the package arrived shipped, the postmark was dated five days later. This was all Royal Mail’s fault, he was told. Then in a later email, the company forgot this excuse and instead referred their customer to the small print:
“We dispatched your glasses well within the limit that you agreed to by clicking the terms and conditions.”
The terms and conditions on the website state:
“Even though we aim to dispatch orders within 2 working days, this may not be possible for complex prescriptions. Our ophthalmologists will decide whether a prescription is complex or not. Their decision will be final and binding. The maximum time required for delivering a complex prescription is 28 days.”
No mention of any sort of guarantee whatsoever and instead an attempt to back out of it – aiming to meet a target is hardly the same as guaranteeing they will. Besides which, Haresh claims his order was for two pairs of single lens glasses with a simple prescription.
Next, when the order finally arrived, it appeared that the arm of one pair had been recycled from a previously-owned pair of glasses – there were several nicks and obvious wear and tear down its length:
Nowhere on the website does it state recycled components may be used, and despite putting the allegation to Exclusive Eyes several times, customer services have not refuted it. And when Haresh did complain about his order, the company would only promise the possibility of a 50 per cent refund, not the 100 per cent guaranteed. Delve into the terms and conditions once more, and the No Quibble Guarantee isn’t mentioned one. The only refund policy detailed is a 50 per cent refund against the cost of the frames, not the order. Haresh won’t return the goods until the company offers to make good on its 100 per cent refund guarantee and so far the company is refusing to do so. The terms and conditions also state that the company will not refund postal charges, but distance selling regulations mean that this is not absolute; if off-the-shelf prescriptions were used, then they are legally obligated to refund all costs.
In other words, even without considering Haresh’s situation, both guarantees offered by Exclusive Eyes are seemingly worthless; their terms and conditions mean they won’t promise to fullfill even simple orders in the time given (there’s a day’s discrepancy between the guarantee and the terms which may allow room for wriggling, although there is no detail on what constitutes a ‘simple’ prescription) and there’s not a whiff of the 100 percent money-back guarantee anywhere. We’ve contacted ExclusiveEyes.co.uk for a response and will let you know what the heck they say, if anything.
Cancer. The Big C. John C Thunderfuck. Call it whatever you like, weāre all terrified of it, and rightly so.
Luckily for us all, the Daily Mail regularly keep us abreast of the everyday things that can lead us to contracting the hideous disease. Because after all, the Daily Mail is there to inform and educate us, and not, as some people believe, there to convince huge swathes of middle England that theyāre about to be murdered in their beds.
Luckily again, someone on Facebook has compiled a helpful list of all of the things that the Daily Mail reckon can give us cancer, along with nice clickable links so that you scare yourself shitless about it all.
Itās a long and varied list, and just so you know, some of the things you should be avoiding include artificial light, babies, blow jobs, being a woman, chips, crayons, Facebook, flip flops, metal, perfume, pork, sausages, retirement, teen sex and Worcestershire sauce.
Phew, eh readers? Be careful out there ā itās a death trap.
Things are bad aren’t they? This recession has got everyone jumpy and according to the press, you can’t move for the pile of rotting cadavers being spat at and stabbed by hooded youths with ASBOs.
As such, we’re all feeling a bit suicidal. Things look so bleak that rather than face a Tory government… or indeed, face another Labour stint, we may as well throw ourselves under the nearest passing train. Even that would probably be late.
Of course, advertisers like to reflect the mood of the world and one billboard is mental enough to tackle our darkest moments.
On top of the Yinji Shopping Mall in Zhengzhou, China, there’s a rather controversial spot, capitalizing on the depressing global economical and financial crisis.
The billboard ad features a hanging mannequin that looks like someone has hung ‘emself. The words say: “Itās better to invest money here than put it into the stock market.”
The adās creative director has no problem explaining the decision to use shock imagery.
āWe are making fun of the depressing stock market here. And the place the mannequin is hanging is right next to the stock index line,ā Jiang Chengpu said.
Naturally, the artistic statement/prank was missed by many, with residents who live close-by thinking that it was an actual swinging corpse. Then, of course, you’ve got the hoards of screaming children, pointing upward at the dead man. Still, it’s not the only commercial to play with suicide, as Heineken toyed with the image of topping yourself with their infamous “fuck it” advert.
With its less-than-secret headquarters located in a hollowed-out volcano New York City, the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company has everything the budding caped crusader (and daring young sidekick) needs to rid the world of evil. Why, there are capes, masks, grappling hooks, invisibility paint, jars of anti-matter, tins of gravity and more besides. Trading Standards would have a fucking field day:
While you can buy the products, it’s actually all a front for a intergalactic arms conglomerate creative writing group in Brooklyn. They don’t own destroy whole planets and won’t try to drown, vaporise, suffocate you with force fields or feed you to alligators. Except the one with the boss eye and glowing power ring. Watch him.
Today marks the third annual international Data Privacy Day.
That’s astonishingly boring isn’t it? How do you celebrate it? Is it a dress down day? Would you even find out because the data required to tell you about it was kept private?
Anyway, this thing is an awareness raising initiative. Seeing as it’s focused on data privacy and protection, new statistics from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) show that the rate of data security breaches isn’t slowing at all.
The ICO have revealed in a statement that it has uncovered over 800 data security breaches since 2007, nearly 200 of which were the result of mistakes and 262 due to criminal theft.
The data watchdog has recently been awarded new powers… not the power of flight or anything interesting like that… rather, they are allowed to fine organisations up to Ā£500,000 if they cock up.
The power has clearly gone to their heads as they’re warning that they’ll use these tougher sanctions if companies fail to report security breaches which subsequently come to light.
“In just over two months a further 100 organisations have reported data security breaches to us,” said deputy Information Commissioner David Smith.
“We are keen to work with organisations to prevent breaches occurring in the first place, and to help put things right when things do go wrong. Talking to us may, of course, result in regulatory action. However, organisations must act responsibly.”
He didn’t add: “We’ll come and fuck you a new arsehole. We can do it. We’re allowed. We’re hung like hoover bags as well.”
This Data Privacy Day is even more joyous than usual because it’s also the fourth annual European Data Protection Day. If I’d know in advance, I would have taken the day off work and got pissed.
European data protection supervisor Peter Hustinx, who is a monumentally exciting man, argues that: “The growing use of personal data affects us all, and the privacy consequences of this development are now becoming more visible. It is therefore essential that everyone’s fundamental rights to privacy and data protection are effectively protected in practice.”