Supermarkets have been criticised for selling cheap alcohol by a coroner after a 64 year old man in Norfolk drank himself to death for less than £10 He was found to have a blood alcohol level of more than six times the drink-drive limit.

In Russia the government, concerned that half the deaths of Russians aged 15-54 were caused by alcohol have doubled the price of the cheapest vodka to £3.60 a litre. In the UK the cheapest vodka in supermarkets is around £10 per litre, with some recent reports claiming that our government is considering more than doubling the price in the next Budget, on March 24th. Continue reading


Some ticket inspectors on our trains are getting a 5% commission on fines they “impartially” impose on passengers, according to the Department for Transport.

The fines, dubbed “Penalty Fares” by the train operating companies are effective in raising their revenue from passengers who inadvertently travel without a ticket, or on an incorrect one, but ineffective against fare dodgers who play the numbers by never buying a ticket and then cheerfully paying the occasional fine.

The commissions paid to inspectors torpedo any trust the fare paying public might have in the train operating companies. In a similar vein one deservedly maligned firm ,First Capital Connect claims that their appeals procedure against penalty fares is run ” independently of the train operating companies” when in fact it is run by a director of a train operating company who is registered at Companies House as a director of the Association of Train Operating Companies.

They lie.


The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issues free information on the latest scams and advice on how to avoid being a victim.

Common ones covered are:

o Pyramid schemes, where the only way to make money is to scam others

o Matrix schemes, where victims buy a low value product and go on a waiting list for a high value prize when lots of others sign up

o Prize Draws, where victims send fees to claim, or telephone an 090 premium rate number that only the fraudsters and the telecoms providers make money from.

o Advance Fee Frauds, where victims are offered very good terms on loans, or a chance to help an overseas organisation, usually based in Nigeria, launder money for a profit. In both cases victims pay fees up front and in some cases their bank accounts are cleaned out.

o Onlime dating scams, with victims sending money to their new “friend” from overseas who wants to meet but can’t afford the air fare.

o Phising scams with emails that appear to be from a bank asking victims to confirm, update or validate account information, for the purpose of identity theft.


Following a campaign led by the Women’s Institute (WI) major supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer have agreed to reduce wasteful packaging, such as cardboard trays for fruit and individual wrapping for vegetables, by 10% over the next two years.

Also to go are cardboard trays for meat, and the retailers have also agreed to help their customers avoid wasting food, by selling smaller loaves of bread and giving away recipes for leftovers.


Sainsbury’s has been fined £45,500 for selling food at their Cwmbran, South Wales store that was out of date by more than 14 days.

The operators of the Nectar loyalty card used by Sainbury’s have also suffered some negative publicity after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint that bottles of wine shown as redeemable for Nectar points were different to the ones actually sent to Sainsbury’s customers.


A survey by PR Week magazine has found that the BBC’s gravy train culture, under which it pays offensively high fees to its presenters, its directors, managers and its staff, and the rather gutless way its profligate Trust dealt with the Jonathan Ross affair, has led to a drop in its prestige.

Accordingly nearly 70% of the respondents are more negative about the BBC than they were two years ago and half believed the BBC licence fee should be abolished. The gratuitous bullying and blustering of the BBC’s seriously unimpressive debt-collectors, TV Licensing, has not enhanced its image with its public and led, last year, to them being compared to Nazis.


Meanwhile a row has broken out over Birmingham City Council paying a PR consultant £800 a day to handle media coverage of their failure to protect the seven year-old girl, Khyra Ishaq, who was starved to death by her mother.

According to the council the consultant has a good track record “for supporting local authorities”, whatever that means.


Those happy with instant coffee, rather than the more expensive fresh ground stuff in all its variations the coffee shops are doing so well with, are finding the price dropping in supermarkets as sales shrink.

According to market research company Mintel sales of filter coffee have increased by 49% in the last five years, against a drop of 36% in sales of the instant stuff, this the result of the preference of the younger consumers.


McDonalds in New Zealand have signed up Weight Watchers to rebrand some of its offerings as “healthy options” with a roll-out to Australia planned.

The dishes so far include fried chicken and fish.

Over in Australia they are still trying to persuade Chinese consumers that the noxious cane toad – of which the country has an estimated 200 million that have bred in Queensland since being ill-advisedly introduced in 1935 to control the sugar cane beetle – is a healthy eating option.

Perhaps a healthy McToadburger could be the next big marketing thing down there?