goods and services

Out of the mouths of babes

Bratz, the line of anorexic slutty stripper dolls marketed to 8-year olds, sunk to a new low over Christmas according to according to at least a couple of squeaky-clean families.

Upon unwrapping the electro-version of the dolls over the holiday season - and by unwrapping the Poorhouse means opening the parcel, rather than taking off a plastic baby's skirt to discover a black mesh thong - kids and parents were together surprised as they started firing off f-bombs, albeit accompanied with irritating tinny music.

The reputed lyrics? "Baby bottle with bling...doing our f**king thing. F**k you!"

Plastic plug defect

The Poorhouse is constantly amazed that now we live in the future not only do we not drive spaceships as a matter of course, but that much as wifi, gprs and other invisible magic are increasingly prevalent, to get things powered up you often still need to attach them by wires to electrical outlets.

It is however just about liveable with, with the one exception of the stupid, pointless plug "feature". The dreaded plastic third pin.

Holidays or end of the world?

Blair seems to have gone mad again, this time on the theme of climate change. A few months ago, he had this to say on the subject:

Climate change won't just affect hot countries or those in the developing world - it will affect us all. The report is clear: We are heading towards catastrophic tipping points in our climate unless we act…Creating cleaner energy whilst using less has to be the key.

Today it is reported that he said that asking Britons to consider not going on quite so many long-haul flights for mindless recreation was "a bit impractical".

Melt your money

Pray show pity for the previously-mighty US dollar. Even those of us who would generally rather use the Financial Times for chip-wrapping rather than reading material can't have failed to have heard of its financial weakness. Recently, for the first time since Black Wednesday, it's been in danger of being worth less than 50 British pence. Now is a particularly good time for Britons to go buy, buy, buy any old American tat.

In fact, some US coins are actually worth so little currency-wise that you would make a significant profit from melting them in a big hotpot and selling the metallic goodness. But before you money saving experts do it, read on.

Wii-lly expensive

(Please forgive the Poorhouse for the appalling attempt at a pun in the headline)

One of the great objects of desire last Christmas was of course the new games console from Nintendo called the Wii. The Poorhouse was no exception to the trend, and all the stories about how many injuries all this almost-not-virtual boxing creates were nothing but an added incentive to get one. As ever Christmas obsessive craziness, it opened the doors to plenty of top price eBay action. Even for its packaging materials, and, in one case, for their manifold child cruelty potentials.

Click to eat

The web...friend of all those for whom leaving the house is the very last resort, only to be attempted in times of great trouble and strife. One obvious service you don't traditionally get so much via the web though is instant(ish) food to your door. Plenty of takeaways to phone (remember the old days when you had to speak to people? When you dialled numbers rather than Google?), but not so many to click your mouse at in the UK; especially for those outside the capital city of London.

Free beer

Hey, let the Poorhouse buy you a Christmas present for your mouse-clicking trouble. How about a nice pint of beer? Well, obviously you can't actually download £2.50 from this site because we're far too poor, but instead get yourself a "nice" (depending on your taste) glass of Guinness by going to get the tinsfortat voucher.

There downloadeth a literal beer token. Print out, take to your nearest O'Neill's pub, hand over and enjoy the drink for free. Cash redemption value of voucher is 0.01p but you are also free to swap it for lemonade or Pepsi if you prefer such sugary treats. Although you can't actually have it for Christmas sorry, because it's not valid until 2nd January 2007. Still, something to look forward to.

Reclaim your bank charges

Enough of the smut for a minute. Another oft-found immortal enemy of consumer citizens at Christmas is the bank. Whilst they are more than happy to encourage us to spend, spend, spend money we do not have so we can pay them 10x the amount back for the rest of our lives, they also like put in severe financial penalties for people who don't quite stick to the letter of their respective contracts. For instance, those people who go overdrawn, often get a fine.

Santa takes up facism

The extreme right?The extreme right?Day two of the Christmas special of unnecessary upset: after having a bit of a giggle at trees shaped like genetalia, it's time to move on to less obvious material - the politics of Santa Claus.

Modern-day capitalist-style Christmas is patently associated with what can most charitably described as "tack". The Rossmann chain of shops in Germany joined in the exploitative fun by selling no doubt overpriced objects d'art such as model snowmen, furry reindeers and little Santa Clauses.

No-effort surveillance

Forget any bugging of your wheelie bin - if the Government / police / identity thieves / blackmailers really want to track you and your life then there's something slightly more to be worried about. It's with you all the time, it knows where you are and what you're saying. It's often linked personally to sensitive identity and financial information about you. You even pay heavily for the privilege of having it.

Yes, of course, it's your mobile phone.

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