Archive for the ‘Great Moments In Retailing’ Category

Readers from outside the UK may not be aware that our biggest Supermarket chain, Tesco, was recently discovered to have been accidentally putting horse-meat in its beefburgers.

Interesting topics for a blog piece about horsemeat in Tesco burgers:

– Do we, as consumers, want to buy beefburgers (or indeed anything) from a company that – unlike your average six-year-old – can’t reliably tell the difference between a horse and a cow?
– If they’re making burgers with the wrong species of animal, what other horrors might be lurking in their supply-chain?
– Why are so many of us totally down with eating one grass-fed domesticated herbivore, but completely appalled at the thought of eating another slightly different one?

"In your FACE, cows and pigs and sheep and chickens and goats!"

“In your FACE, cows and pigs and sheep and chickens and goats!”

Childish and juvenile topics for a blog piece about horsemeat in Tesco burgers:

– Spend a morning roaming around a local branch of Tesco, enjoying how much of their in-store signage now comes with its own unspoken horse-related punchline.

Well, what can I tell you? I have a sense-of-humour age of about six, and still think Viz is one of the great comic achievements of our age.

Let’s start with their apology. To be fair to Tesco, they have acknowledged that what happened was disturbing and wrong for many reasons, and they have shared this apology at various points around the store (including this one, stuck to the outside of the frozen-burger cabinet).

Tesco horse meat apology

Apparently they’re introducing “a comprehensive system of DNA testing across all our meat products”. My personal view is that if you find yourself in a relationship – business or personal – where you have to resort to DNA testing to keep the other party honest, then you should maybe start looking for another person to have sex with or buy horse-meat off or whatever, but maybe that’s just me.

I might also have taken a quick squizz at some of the other signs on display around the store, and asked myself if they were still working as well as they had been a couple of weeks ago:

Tesco no artificial colours

Good to know, right?

I also really like this one:

Tesco GDA advice

“…unless you’re watching your Horse intake. In which case frankly, you’re on your own.”

Tesco care where milk comes from

(I wonder, how easy is it to milk a horse? Anyone reading who’s ever tried it? Are they easier or harder than cows?)

From over by the In-store Bakery:

Tesco community

“…for example, by ensuring children from less well-off backgrounds are given the crucial life-skills needed to tell the difference between horses and cows.

Also, Horse Rescue Centres.”

Of course, horse-meat is a dietary staple in a lot of countries. Maybe that’s what they’re getting at here:

Tesco best of British

This one is my personal favourite:

Tesco we dont put anything in our prepared meals

And finally, this is the one I saw on my way out:

Tesco Real Food

“Horse-meat Value Burgers. Keeping it real since 1919.”

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Magical Asian Being - 1

Magical Asian Being - 2

Well, that explains everything.

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Yesterday afternoon, while working very hard and not in the least bit conducting idle displacement activities as a substitute for actually getting words down on the page, Mumsnet circumstances beyond my control required me to click onto the following webpage:

Persun wedding dresses 3

Reasonable site structure, pretty dresses, models who look both beautiful and plus-sized, five minutes looking at potential wedding dresses for fellow Mumsnetters duly frittered, okay.

And then I read the lead-in copy:

Persun wedding dresses 2

“You must have been bothered by failing to get a plus size wedding dress to match with your fat body shape. Persun.co.uk will solve your problem and help you greet the arrival of the wedding. Plus size wedding dress on Persun.co.uk, you will never be regretful to get one. Welcome to our online store!”

That’s a direct transcription, by the way.

I don’t know an awful lot about selling wedding dresses, but I’m pretty sure the phrase “your fat body shape” doesn’t usually play a central role.

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I mean, how the hell is this even a thing?

Marshmallow fluff

“Want the sweetly sickening badness of Marshmallow, but can’t handle the guilt of facing up to exactly how many individual pieces of the stuff you’ve shovelled into your face? Buy a single unit of uber-marshmallow gunk, and create the unconvincing illusion that really you’ve only eaten one!

For maximum satisfaction, spoon straight from the jar while alone in the kitchen, in the early hours of the morning. Concealing your shameful nocturnal snack by standing furtively behind the fridge door and using only its cold, lonely white glow for illumination. Then return to your bed for three hours of accelerated heart-rate and queasy self-hatred.”

Marshmallow fluff 2

“Oh, and don’t worry, folks. That strawberry flavour? Totally artificial. Nothing here will come between you and your slow, lonely quest for self-annihilation.”

We’re doomed, I tells you. Doomed.

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Happy New Year everyone! And before we all get too smug about surviving the Mayan Omnipocalypse, here’s a little reminder that our dark Overlords are still watching over us and planning our imminent demise. Possibly through the medium of terrifyingly delicious bar-snacks.

Tapas Bar of Cthulhu

On the other hand, the food’s excellent.

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Top Ten Ways I Desperately Wanted This Flier To End

10. “Then you’re eligible to join the Pescaphile-Arachnaphobe Club – an exclusive new networking opportunity for the discerning business person. Membership only $99 per annum.”

9. “If this sounds like you, then why not consider moving to the ocean floor on a permanent basis? Plots for the first phase of our astounding Ocean Floor project are now available…”

8. “At last, we have found Mr Bond’s fatal weakness. Oddjob, drain the shark-tank and order some arachnids.”

7. “Then tune in to Catfish vs Tarantulas on Discovery Channel Extra and see those ghastly, leggy bastards finally get what’s coming to them.”

6. “So how come you all like Spiderman sooooo much better than Aquaman, huh? Huh? Huh?

5. “Don’t worry. Spiders and Fish are almost never found in the same environment. So remember kids – if you can see a Fish, you definitely can’t be attacked by a Spider. Unless it’s a River Spider. But they’re kind of rare. So, yeah: if you can see a Fish, you almost certainly can’t be attacked by a Spider. ‘kay?”

4. “Thank goodness! You are definitely a member of the human race and have not yet been replaced by our evil Alien Overlords. But remember – Alien Replacement can happen to anyone, at any time. Only by CONSTANT VIGILANCE will humanity remain pure! HAVE YOU FISH-AND-SPIDER-CHECKED YOUR LOVED ONES TODAY?”

3. “Then be sure to put our novelty fish-shaped Spider-whacker at the top of your Christmas list! Available in Colin Codfish, Trudy Trout and Penelope Potato-Grouper options.”

2. “Then you’ll either love or hate our new FISH-SPIDER – the pet sensation that’s sweeping the nation!”

1. “However unbelievably stupid your dating criteria, at http://www.oddlypicky.com, we GUARANTEE to find your perfect mate.”

And the disappointing truth:


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You know, I really sort of resent that.

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Well, holy shit! Hold the front page, boys, I think we’ve got ourselves a scoop!

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Hint: not this.

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LOVEHONEY OFFICES, INT, DAY. SOMEWHERE IN BATH, ENGLAND. WORKER A and WORKER B are discussing an proposed new product.

WORKER A: So, things are going pretty well here. We’ve really connected with our core audience of grown-ups looking for some fun. In fact, we’re doing so well we’re regularly mentioned on Mumsnet.

WORKER B: Really? That parenting forum?

WORKER A: Yep. Turns out all those journos who thought mothers only discovered sex when Fifty Shades of Grey was published were completely barking up the wrong tree. You should check out some of their Friday night threads, sheesh!

WORKER B: So we’ve created a line of sex-toys that people are happy to talk about and recommend on a public parenting forum? Hey, that’s pretty cool.

WORKER A: I know, right? How about we ruin it by launching something really crass and stupid, that insults people in relationships, and people who are single, and people who enjoy sex with their partner, and people who just want to make wanking a bit more entertaining, and women, and men, and everyone everywhere?

WORKER B: (is speechless)

WORKER A: Look, check it out.

WORKER B: I’m sorry, what?

WORKER A: I’ve been doing my research, right, and I’ve discovered that eighty-six per cent of straight single men are, like, really, really, really keen on beer, and vaginas.

WORKER B: Beer…and…vaginas.

WORKER A: (happy) Yep – beer and vaginas. So I thought, why not put them together and create a product that’s not really like either of those two things?

WORKER B: Well, I can think of about a million –

WORKER A: (interrupting) It’ll be a winner, I’m telling you! Look at this thing! A fake vagina disguised as a beer-can! It’s genius.

WORKER B: It’s certainly some kind of a thing.

WORKER A: You know what I like most about it?

WORKER B: Is it how the makers have included a token illustration of the clitoris, in a surreal attempt to make it look like this is somehow meant to replicate the experience of sex with a woman? Because if it’s not, then I’m really struggling to guess.

WORKER A: Now you mention it, that is pretty great, but actually – it’s how discreet it is.

WORKER B: (surprised) Um – sorry?

WORKER A: Because it’s disguised as a beer-can, no-one ever needs to know that you own a fake vagina!

WORKER B: Yes, that’s certainly an advantage.

WORKER A: (looks pleased)

WORKER B: Except that – forgive me for pointing this out – there isn’t actually a brand of beer called ‘Lady Lager’.

WORKER A: Okay, that’s true, but –

WORKER B: And if you keep it in your fridge, there’s a significant danger that someone might try to drink it.

WORKER A: Can you please stop being so negative?

WORKER B: And if you don’t keep it in the fridge, there’s a danger people will wonder why on earth you’re keeping a can of beer on the top shelf of your closet.

WORKER A: Yeah, but come on, if someone walked in on you while you were using it, you could –

WORKER B: I could do what, exactly? ‘Oh, hi, honey, I’m just sitting here drinking a can of beer, only with my erect penis inexplicably on display’? ‘Get a grip, buddy, of course I’m not using a sex-toy, I’ve just shoved my cock into a beer-can‘? How does this product not raise far more issues than it answers?

WORKER A: It…has a variable speed control.

WORKER B: It’s an abomination.

WORKER A: It’s going to be a best-seller.

WORKER B: Yeah, I know.

WORKER A: (starry-eyed) We have the best jobs on the planet.

WORKER B: (wretched) I actually want to die.

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