Just call me “Rocky”

rocklandNot by my choice, yesterday I found myself for the first (and hopefully last) time in a Starbucks cafe, where it was crowded, noisy, a little bit grotty, and where the beverage I consumed fully lived up to my expectations of overpriced ordinariness.  The only upside to the visit was a moment of comic relief in discovering that the service staff had noted my name down as “Rockland”.

Just call me “Rocky” for short.

Gender imbalance in sports reporting

My son had a school assignment on gender imbalance in sports reporting. He had to watch a sports report segment on TV and count up how much time was spent on reporting men’s sports as compared to women’s sport.  He watched 30 minutes of Fox Sports News, and while I was expecting a significant imbalance, the results were somewhat gobsmacking. The final tally:  26 stories on men’s sport, 0 on women’s sport.

In the light of that, can I suggest an updated and more honest version of Fox’s advertisements that currently proclaim “We’re a FoxSporting Nation” …


Truth in advertising

I’m not a fan of television advertising. Almost always it is sophisticated persuasive lying. But sometimes the truth pokes through, like in the latest promotion from that modern scourge of sport, gambling advertising, where the TAB reminds us that it is “More than just winning”. True. But they left off the logical next sentence – “There’s also losing.”

I’ve fixed it up for them below.

More than just winning. There's also losing, Which on average will happen more often than winning.

More than just winning. There’s also losing, Which on average will happen more often than winning.

Words, but not as we know them

Further proof that while insurance companies might use the same English words as ordinary people, they’re speaking a different language.

ContradictoryWordsIn an e-mail about a policy renewal they say in the first paragraph (emphasis added by me)

We’re now offering you the opportunity to renew your policy

But in the second paragraph say

For your continued protection and to ensure that your insured property remains covered, we’ll automatically renew your policy and deduct the premium from your account.

Which is utterly contradictory to the first paragraph. Given that I never gave permission for Youi to automatically renew the policy, and having already switched to another cheaper insurance provider (because Youi was a long way from being the cheapest) it was somewhat of a surprise on checking my credit card statement to find that my car was now insured twice!

On calling Youi they cancelled my policy and said that I would get a full refund, with the usual cancellation fee to be waived. Checking my credit card statement later I found that I had only received a partial refund, and had been charged a cancellation fee. Another phone call to them and they promised to sort it out and refund the cancellation fee. It took another 5 days to receive that refund.

Youi are marketing themselves as the company where you save. From my experience the only way “Youi” and “save” go together is if you save yourself time, money and bother by steering clear of them.

Spare words

Img_3604The last time I checked, salt is plain old sodium chloride (NaCl) regardless of country of origin, how it was collected, from what physical location, or who sells it. By that reckoning, this product has at least three superfluous adjectives and a needless genitive.

Anybody want to buy some spare words? They’re as cheap as (the salt on) chips.

Sometime, somewhere, perhaps

For Father’s day I was given a DVD movie, and inside the case was a glossy page proudly proclaiming how I could not only watch this movie the old fashioned way by making a plastic disc spin inside a black box sitting under the telly, I could get access to a digital copy that I could “WATCH ANYTIME, ANYWHERE”.

uv1Anytime? Well except for the disclaimer that the offer is “Subject to expiry”.


Well to be fair, the ability to redeem the offer is subject to expiry, but after that you can access the content anytime, right? Not necessarily, as the terms and conditions say that they

“reserve the right to change, suspend, remove, or disable access to the UV Content, or other materials at any time without notice”

So the “Anytime” promise is a bit of a dud, so what about “Anywhere”? Well except for the disclaimer that “the UltraViolet service is not compatible with all devices”  and “compatible devices are subject to change.”

uv2uv4So the promise of “Anytime, Anywhere” is more “Sometime, somewhere, perhaps, if we feel like it”.

I find it so depressing that commercial organisations can get away with using words in a manner so divorced from the actual meaning of the words.