David Fitzgerald: Toasting the new year with a war on advice
HAPPY New Year. I say Happy New Year but this was written just before December 21st when the world was supposed to come to an end, according to the Mayan calendar.
Quite what sort of calendar that is, I am not sure, but I suspect it is not as popular as the Tom Daley calendar!
I hope Christmas brought you everything your heart desired and that the New Year sees an end to world hunger, war and X Factor. Although it wasn't a Christmas present, one new item has appeared in the FitzgGerald kitchen in the shape of a new toaster.
The old and faithful toaster caught fire whilst in the hands of the enemy, the good lady wife. She claims that she was trying to toast a tea cake when things turned a little black and smokey.
Perhaps taking the tea cake out of the packet would have helped but needless to say the old toaster is no more.
And so a new toaster has arrived and on inspecting the box I read the advertising blurb: four slice white toaster. What if I want brown toast, was my initial thought.
Advertising has always fascinated me; I have even come up with a strap line for a local attraction after this winter. The National Marine Aquarium, the driest place in Plymouth. Works for me!
The way things are spelt out to 'us the consumer' does make me smile. I picked up a date and walnut cake last week to read the wrapping which says that 'it may contain nuts' and likewise a tin of peanuts held the grave warning that it may contain peanuts.
But the best label I have seen this month was on a pretty little party dress bought for the enemy's god daughter.
This tiny fashion item was all red and spotty, with a big black bow, frilly cuffs and dangly bits, a real party frock but the label reads 'GIRLS'.
REALLY! Well, I am glad we didn't embarrass ourselves with that one by trying to squeeze ratboy, the son and heir, into it at the rugby club. For crying out loud, a tree died for that to be printed!
Still, my best ever piece of pointless consumer advice use to appear on countless numbers of deodorant sticks sold for men. They were about two inches across, had a thick white cap and refreshed the parts….beautifully.
As the contents wore down, you simply forced more out of the top by adjusting the base with a little pressure. That is the way I would have put it but on the base was a label which read 'Screw off top and push up bottom.' I have no idea if the company ever faced a personal injury claim!
Finally, congratulations to the council who have stuck up a sign on the Avonwick road: CAUTION, unstable bank under investigation. A little bit late for that! The IMF and the Bank of England are way ahead of you. Perhaps the local council are working off the Mayan calendar.