All entries for Thursday 11 December 2008

December 11, 2008

Half–price, my arse…

The Times has fallen for Tesco’s boast of a 50% off sale starting tomorrow.

Offers include…

  • Isla Negra Cabernet Sauvignon Was £7.49 now £3.74
  • Tesco Oak Smoked Scottish Salmon 400g Was £10.98 now £5.49
  • Tesco Creamy Brie 350g Was £2.69 now £1.34
  • David Beckham – Instinct After Dark 30ml – Was £17.50 now £8.75
  • Tesco Finest Crackers Was £20 now £10
  • Boxed Cards – all lines Half Price

Let me translate.

If you bought any of these things today, yesterday or last week, you were mugged.

Isla Negra Cabernet Sauvignon, for instance, should never have been sold at £7.49. In fact, it probably wasn’t in very many stores. But that daft price point allows Tesco to claim that the new £3.74 price represents ‘half’ of something. ASDA were selling it for £3.33 the whole time.

David Beckham Vinegar Perfume – Which mugs bought it for £17.50? Other shops were selling it for £9.79 all along.

Boxed cards and Crackers – Tesco’s probably realised many people have already bought their stash for this year and they’ve got a tonne left over.

Tesco Creamy Brie – go and look at a supermarket comparison website. Like the wine, it was overpriced in the first place.

How long before people get wise to this nonsense?


How many TV execs does it take to waste £945m?

Reading Andy Duncan’s (the boss of Channel 4) reaction to the BBC’s post-Media Apocalypse plans, you kind of have to respect the guy’s nerve.

[Their proposals are] overdue recognition from the BBC that it should be using its privileged position to help support the broader public service ecology.

Andy Duncan, you see, seems to view Channel 4 not as a commercial broadcaster, owned by the nation, but as a charity.

How the company makes £945m in revenue each year and only manages to generate a profit of £1.6m* is beyond me. Is it being run like a 1960s cannabis-filled temple of peace and love, or a business?

Its public service obligations aren’t an enormous burden – a few hours on just one of its four channels. So how are they managing to drag the whole company down to the point where it’s only just breaking even?

One possible solution being bandied around is to give them BBC Worldwide. It, in stark contrast to C4, makes £916m in revenue each year, of which £112m is profit.

Based on Channel 4’s financial performance to date, it would be a bit like letting Zippy, George and Bungle take over Google.

*Yes, I know they’re a publicly-owned company and so don’t make profit in the traditional sense, but the figure suggests they’re only just about scraping by.


Hug a German

Peer Steinbrück is the German finance minister, and a Social Democratic member of the country’s governing coalition.

Can we adopt him or find some distant relative of his that allows us to claim him as British?

From Newsweek:

The speed at which proposals are put together under pressure that don’t even pass an economic test is breathtaking and depressing. Our British friends are now cutting their value-added tax. We have no idea how much of that stores will pass on to customers. Are you really going to buy a DVD player because it now costs £39.10 instead of £39.90? All this will do is raise Britain’s debt to a level that will take a whole generation to work off. The same people who would never touch deficit spending are now tossing around billions. The switch from decades of supply-side politics all the way to a crass Keynesianism is breathtaking. When I ask about the origins of the crisis, economists I respect tell me it is the credit-financed growth of recent years and decades. Isn’t this the same mistake everyone is suddenly making again, under all the public pressure?


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