Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Monday, 23 February 2015
Out of print
Being brought up with post-war rationing (but I don't remember it) by parents who lived through the real thing, I don't really need any lectures on austerity, especially since I have lived my life in almost exactly the same way the Greeks have been living theirs ever since we let them down badly by allowing the Germans to occupy Crete to take their attention away from the mainland.
But we are getting highly conflicting messages from both Europe and our home-grown politicians as to how we get ourselves out of this bloody mess.
I hate waste to the extent that - up until a few years ago - I chucked any unwanted food out of the window to feed the much hated Gulls of our parish, but it eventually got out of hand and I now put the food into the rubbish bin before they bring out a law making it a criminal offence to hand-feed Gulls from your window.
One Gull who I dubbed 'Gullie', became so... er... I wouldn't say 'friendly', but he seemed to have lost most of his fear for us - which is always a little endearing, even in a yellow-eyed, murdering monster - that he would hammer very loudly on the window whenever he was hungry. The first time this happened, I really thought that someone had scaled the 40-foot back wall and was asking for help.
Anyway, here is a little example - one of many I could choose - of how conflicting this/these advice/instructions can be.
My printer ran out of coloured ink. I bet that by now, you know exactly where this is going, but I will carry on anyway.
Yesterday, I decided to just bite the bullet and spend about £28 on a colour cartridge which would have lasted for about 15 A4 pages before turning everything black with bright purple stripes running up the middle, so I braved the rain and went into the John Lewis section of Waitrose, which is more or less next door. Why pay less?
There was the vast rack of Canon cartridges right next to the latest model of printer/copier/fax/scanner, but my type of cartridge was just not there. There were about 30 different forms of Canon cartridge, all a little different and all completely incompatible (I think) to my perfectly good, printer/copier/fax/scanner which is a little old now, the poor thing.
The packaging for these cartridges is designed so that if you open them to check if the contents look as though they could be of any use, you may not return them if they are not, so the only thing left to do is buy the model of printer that they will fit, if you can't sell them on at a loss on eBay and don't want to throw them away.
I know of a place here where you can buy my code-number of cartridge, but it is priced in such a way as to make it unviable to keep buying, when the cartridge costs £28 and the machine was under-priced at £50. That's a hell of a running-cost.
I have a friend - and this is true - who came upon a whole batch of printers for about £30 each, so he bought about 20 of them. Every time the ink runs out, he throws the printer away and uses the next one. To him, this makes economic sense, but is it not utterly and madly wasteful?
The government loves this sort of marketing, because it increases their revenue. One bunch of the bastards are telling us to tighten our belts (when it comes to expenditure from their own coffers - of which they are just the incompetent custodians and administrators) and the other bunch are telling us to SPEND, SPEND, SPEND our way out of the financial downturn.