Last up against the wall when the revolution comes

Archive for the category “Pedantry”

Advertising Standards

With the whole “Solo Dining” project I’ve been doing this year, one of my bugbears has become OpenTable (who provide a lot of the table-reservation services for restaurants) and – more particularly – their “Dining Points” loyalty plan.

As it says on that page about Dining Points,

OpenTable UK members can earn OpenTable Dining Points when they make and honor reservations made through opentable.com, or our related mobile sites and apps.

They say the same thing on another modal window to explain Dining Points.

opentable_points_explanation1“Earn points every time you dine”

Except that’s not true – not true at all.  I queried why I’d received zero points for several reservations over the last year, and they then started to say (and this is a direct quote from one of the responses)

points are only given to diners who start their search on our website and not the restaurants website as you know. This is because as you came from the restaurant website, you are considered a customer of the restaurant and they use our services  on the back end to take your reservation for them. If we started awarding points to the customers of our clients they would feel that we are trying to steal you as a customer.

So OpenTable are, frankly, liars.  They say clearly throughout the site “make a booking through OpenTable, and get points“, with no provisos, asterisks, or get-out clauses.  This isn’t even me being pedantic about something – they’ve said something (repeatedly, in black-and-white!) that’s simply not true.

This would’ve been an easy fix for OpenTable, if they’d had any sense at all. If they’d said “Oh, sod, sorry, here, have the points, and we’ll make that text clearer“, we’d be done.   But no, they started backtracking, patronising, and explaining why I was so wrong to believe their “Get points every time you book” spiel.  No apology, no “thanks for letting us know“, nothing.  All the customer-service skills of a concrete monolith.

Having hit that concrete monolith with no joy, I decided to take it further.  Having checked their criteria, I raised it with the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) and I’ve now had a confirmation from them that, having done an initial review, they’re going to investigate it further.

So, that’s going to be entertaining.  I’m assuming that getting an ASA investigation done isn’t a trivial step, nor one that the ASA do for the fun of it.  I’m also assuming that, because they’re investigating, the complaint has at least some merit.

As and when I hear back, I’ll write more here…


On the news last night, there was a story about how rural roads are more dangerous/deadly than motorways (which just makes sense to me – of which more in a minute) and one of their illustrations of this was this road sign

road_statsThis is supposedly a sign from “one of the more dangerous roads” – but 43 injuries in 3 years equates to 14 (point 3-recurring) deaths a year. That’s just over one a month. Not quite such a scary figure…  The same goes with 4 deaths in three years – just over 1 a year.

I don’t know if my viewpoint is a rarity, but I look at a statistic like that, and tend to think “I’ll go with those odds”.

And now, about those stats in the first place…

The stats in the story are :

  • 3 people a day die on rural roads
  • That’s 11 times more deaths than on motorways

To me, that all makes sense, for a number of reasons – including…

  • On motorways, people drive faster – but (in general) pay more attention when doing so. Sure, there’s still idiots – there’s idiots everywhere – but in general people are paying a bit more attention on motorways.
  • People definitely pay less attention – and drive worse – on non-motorway roads.
  • But also – on motorways, everyone’s going in the same direction. It’s *far* harder to have a head-on collision at speed on a motorway.
  • The speeds are higher, but with everyone going in the same direction, it also reduces the relevant impact speed. A head-on is the sum of the two impact speeds – so two cars hitting head-on at 60mph is an impact speed of 120mph. Even if you’ve got someone at 70 on a motorway hitting a stationary vehicle, that’s an impact speed of 70.
  • It’s not the same factor if you were to crash into someone ahead of you (for example) because they’re still going forward at 60-70mph anyway, so – as I understand it – if you’re going 70mph, and hit someone going at 60mph, the *impact* speed is 10mph – the difference, rather than the sum.

The other key factor is that I’m willing to bet that there’s one hell of a lot more miles of rural road in the UK than Motorway. In 2005, the DfT’s report said that the UK has 2,202 miles (3,523 km) of motorways.  According to this document, the UK’s motorways account for 1% – ONE PERCENT – of the total road space/distance.  So again, 11 times more deaths on roads that account for 99 times the road mileage.

All told, it’s just bad stats and shitty journalism


Attention To Detail

While filling in my postal vote last night, I noticed this on the paperwork…


The red dot is added by me, just to highlight the error.

But really, how can I be assured that my local authority is capable of anything efficient when they can’t even get things right on a bloody envelope?

You Had One Job…

While out and about this weekend, I spotted this sign, and simply had to stop and take a picture of it…

How worrying is it when an Estate Agent can't spell reserved

Romans Estate Agents, you had one job, and this is what you get…

(Amusingly, their website also claims “a thorough approach to every aspect of our business”)

It’s a Pie

Another in the occasional series of “adverts that annoy me” – this one is one of the ones from Santander (which I still think are creepy, as I have said before)

Why does it annoy me? Again, because of one line.

At the start, we can see that the guy is making a pie, and putting a pastry lattice over the top. Yet the woman says

“I really like what you’re doing with that cake”

It’s a fucking pie, you idiot.

Bad Writing

Recently my visits to the local cinema have included the trailer below, for a new film called “Winter’s Tale

Within that trailer is the line

I’ve had no memory for as long as I can remember

which just drives me crackers. Seriously, people get paid for writing piss like that?

I mean, if you’ve no memory then of course it’s for as long as you can remember. Because you’ve got no fucking memory, you insufferable ballbag!

And breathe…

Pedantic Thoughts

As my train arrived this morning, the platform announcement said “This is a 12-carriage train for London Euston. Please use all doors to get on this train

Being a pedantic twat, my first thought was “Really? All of them? Can’t I just use the one in front of me?

I need to get out more.

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