Sunday 28 August 2011

Every Little Helps World Domination

For the purposes of not naming names, the following theory discusses a hypothetical supermarket chain. Let us call it, ‘Tesbury’s’.
It’s often said that stores like Tesbury’s want to control the provision of everything from Custard Creams, to Car Insurance to DNA and the human soul... and keep quite a nice display of fresh fish with ice underneath it on a table.
But why would Tesbury’s want to strive for world domination? Why, when we can do it for them? We’ve already made a start. We all do our bit taking the strain off the checkout operators by learning how to struggle with the self-service tills (see ‘Love Eggs and Self-Service’, August 2011). (CLICK ON 'Read more' LINK, BELOW)

Thursday 25 August 2011

Love Eggs and Self-Service

This was how the discussion went when self-service checkouts were first mooted in a supermarket executive board meeting:
‘People won’t want to serve themselves at supermarkets.’
‘They will if they heard how the girl says “Cash”.’
Which girl?’
‘The one who does all the voice-overs for the checkouts. Listen to this (light clunking sound of tape recorder button being pressed): ‘Insert cash or touch 'Pay with Card.’
 ‘Whoa! That made me feel like…’
Yeah, go on. Feel like what?’
‘Well it made me feel like I don’t know – grabbing a retail item, swiping it, making a beeping noise.’
‘See? That’s what I’m talking about.’
‘Who is that girl? She says ‘cash’, but she doesn’t just ‘say’ it…’
‘She gushes. She injects jubilation, triumph, an uplifting sense of just saying something, a word, whatever the word, doesn’t matter. Like she imagined that the word she said immediately before it was the last word she ever expected to say. Then saying ‘cash’ is this one enormous bonus.’
‘Her delivery – it’s like a, like a verbal cuddle’.
‘I like that. And there’s more. Check out how she delivers this piece on an unexpected item in the bagging area…’ (CLICK ON 'Read more' LINK, BELOW)

Monday 22 August 2011

Funerals on Public Transport

The Oyster Card is an electronic smartcard you can use to pay for journeys on London Transport. While its designers have made travelling easier for those living in the capital, they have rather overlooked the concerns of the dead. Suddenly, the deceased are left high and dry with unusable credit.
However, there are now ideas on how to address the situation. Money you may well have put aside for a hearse (what is really a specialist, ultimate taxi service) you can spend on other things like nicer casket handles, rest assured that your Oyster Card can still get you to a cemetery near a bus or London Underground route. All you need do is chat up some pallbearers about slightly altering their plans come the day. Instead of asking them to slowly hump you around lying in a box, you could ask them to escort your corpse onto a number 73, for instance, making sure you’ve left them enough for a one-way ticket’s worth on your Oyster Card. (CLICK ON 'Read more' LINK, BELOW)

Thursday 18 August 2011

Playing the Track and Field

We may not be aware of it but we all know a bit of Greek. ‘Marathon’, for instance, means ‘snickers’. And we know that any word ending in ‘thlon’ means something like ‘event’. Biathlon, decathlon, pentathlon, triathlon – all multiple sports events. So, if we are in Greece and we want to invite people to a social gathering we might baulk at trying to communicate, bridging the language barrier.
‘We’re holding a little event’, we would start off shouting slowly in English, perhaps trying out a bit of pidgin sign language.
‘Eh?’ they say.
‘A thlon’ you say hopefully. ‘We’re thinking of having a thlon’.
‘Thlon, thlon’ they say, turning to each other joyfully, the penny dropping (or at time of writing, the Euro cent dropping, as it is not yet known in the present financial meltdown whether Greece will revert to their previous currency, the drachma. If it does the couple mentioned will realise in terms of the lepton dropping (100 lepta = 1 drachma)). (CLICK ON 'Read more' LINK, BELOW)

Sunday 14 August 2011

Making the Prequel of the Sequel

There’s a lot of film remakes being made. For those who might have missed them the first time. Made by directors who are unaware that you are allowed to rent the same film twice at your video store (or are we any further down the road to calling it the Blu-Ray store?).
There is though a case for keeping media productions up to date. All those films in which a character says to a distanced nearest-and-dearest, ‘Where have you been? You don’t write, you don’t call anymore’, could drop the line. Change it to something like: ‘Where have you and your avatar been? You don’t email, you don’t tweet, you don’t skype anymore’. (CLICK ON 'Read more' LINK, BELOW)

Friday 12 August 2011

The Coming of Age for Baby Sweetcorn

Baby sweetcorn only really burned itself into the national conscience in Britain in the late 1990s, perhaps as late as 2003, November 17th. Around the time that the British isles became acquainted with the café latte. Applications for the infantile vegetable sprung up almost immediately. Young girls could treat their Barbie Dolls to a Barbie-size KFC meal. Instead of corn on the cob, they could use the miniaturised version, with diddy French Fries (or Monaco Fries, Monaco being a small principality of France), and a much smaller bird species than the chicken, perhaps a hummingbird. Fingernail licking good. (CLICK ON 'Read more' LINK, BELOW)

Sunday 7 August 2011

Gandhi and the All-Day Breakfast

Try telling it to the youth of today and they won’t believe you – you never used to be able to order breakfast from a café in the afternoon.
Now it is possible to order a fried breakfast at specially designated cafes that proudly advertise ‘All-Day Breakfast’. So how was the Draconian curfew broken? Anyone familiar with the film ‘Gandhi’ might have drawn inspiration. Gandhi wouldn’t have put up with it, albeit in a non-violent way. He encouraged self-sufficiency among the Indian people by spinning their clothes on a spinning wheel, the charkha. The message he sent out, effectively, was: if you won’t cook my breakfast, I’ll cook it myself. Gandhi would have similarly encouraged the disenfranchised British who got up a bit late to get down the caff to take up their own frying pans. In defiance. The charkha was such a powerful symbol that its depiction later made it onto the Indian flag. Imagine the Union Jack: the Cross of St George, the Saltire of Scotland, whatever it is of Wales but not their dragon because it would have mucked up the design of the flag, and a frying pan plonked in the middle? (CLICK ON 'Read more' LINK, BELOW)

Thursday 4 August 2011

Potato Woman, Maris Piper

The odds were stacked against Maris Piper. The best chipper has to be the King Edward and there you’re competing against someone very well connected. Little potatoes – nice idea as a summer salad tuber, but you’re taking on the Establishment again. Jersey Royals. The aristocracy has almost cornered the foodstuffs market. There’s the Earl of Sandwich with his refined butties; Earl Grey who successfully combined a tea with a deodorant. (CLICK ON 'Read more' LINK, BELOW)

Monday 1 August 2011

Stoat Toasties

Zoos, museums, airports. What do these locations have in common? They are all places that make us crave wanting to pay a minimum of £5.20 for a cappuccino, or £12 for a soggy panini made from bread that is the latest pioneering foray into exotic bread types by Mother’s Pride. All foodstuffs that say shut up we don’t have to be organic (see ‘Know Your Organic Paraguayan Melons’, May 2011; and ‘That’s Organic Peanuts!’, July 2011, in the blog archive for more on organic stuff) to cost this much.
In the airports, caterers are able to pass on the costs of delivery hold-ups in their snacks if they make their deliveries through the check-out desks. (CLICK ON 'Read more' LINK, BELOW)