“Woah there mule!” as Yosemite Sam used to say, am I suggesting that it can be ‘right’ to cheat customers? Yes, I am (kind of). Let me explain. I recently had a complaint about a product. A few years ago I purchased a heart rate monitor watch and, the other day, when I went to use it the strap simply disintegrated. Now I know that the product gets used in a tough environment; there’s no easy way to say this other than things get pretty sweaty when you’re working out. But I’d always rinsed the watch off and, anyway, coping with sweat is a prerequisite for something worn next to the skin for exercise. Whilst we’re at it, the band that goes around my chest looks like new, so it’s not as if we’re beyond the capability of modern plastics. If they can put a man on the moon… and […]
“There’s a new shopping genie.” “Oh no there isn’t!” “Oh yes there is!” The genie in question has emerged with the force of a hurricane, granting shoppers’ wishes (which can be best summed up as giving them an extra excuse to spend money to satisfy their desires and feel good). It goes by the somewhat curious name of ‘Black Friday’. This year several retailers have brought US-style Black Friday discounts to the UK. And shoppers here haven’t let the fact that we don’t have the vaguely meaningful justification of a preceding day, thanking imaginary friends for a good harvest, put us off. Most of us have either forgotten that food actually is harvested or else have moved beyond attributing meteorological deviations to divine entities. For the record the name ‘Black Friday’ stems from the traffic chaos that came about in Philadelphia when people rushed to the shops after Thanksgiving. In […]
Today the UK news has been dominated by research suggesting that the average British family throws away the equivalent of six meals a week. The research, by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), claimed that this would equate to throwing away £60 each month. I haven’t studied the research in detail, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was true. Having read the reports and listened to people discussing the matter on phone-ins (I’ve just taken part in one for BBC Radio Five Live), there is no shortage of suggested solutions – none of which will work. All the advice about shopping more carefully, preparing meals from scratch and being more discerning about what you throw away is well-reasoned and well-intentioned: it would even solve the problem. But it won’t happen because people haven’t diagnosed the problem properly and, in particular, haven’t considered how the consumer mind works. The first […]
Five reasons why people don’t switch energy providers, especially when prices increase.