At the moment, there’s an advert on TV for Just Eat, and it freaks me out a little bit.
There’s one part of it where they talk about people “ordering their usual”, and doing so at a specific time – implying that it’s the same thing every week. And that just weirds me out, that there are people out there who do the same thing every week, who eat the same meals with little to no variety.
At the same time though, it’s odd in other ways. I’m just as bad at being uninspired when it comes to meals and so on – but that’s when I’m just cooking for myself. If I’m paying for it (i.e. a takeaway, a restaurant meal or whatever) then I’m going to go for random stuff that I fancy eating.
So I think it’s the combination – that there are people who are paying for their meal and still only having the same thing at the same time – rather than *just* that it’s the same thing every time.
Anyway, it weirds me out – even though in some ways I’m also a massive hypocrite about it, as I’m semi-guilty of the same thing, but only in the privacy of my own home…
Of late, I’ve been watching a few more TV programmes on commercial channels, and as a result I’ve been seeing a lot more of the ident/sponsorship captions at the start and end of each ad break. (I’m sure there’s a proper name for them, but ‘ident’ will do for now) However, they primarily stick in the mind because they annoy me.
I know advertising is supposed to be all about brand recognition, making things that stick in the mind so we remember the company when we’re looking for whatever product they’re hawking. But all the idents (and a number of the primary adverts as well) only stick in my mind in order to be companies that I never, ever give any money to. (Which has happened several times now, looking for a product or service and knowing I won’t use [x] because their adverts annoy me so much)
Part of it, and the part that grates with me the most on idents, is a lack of range. I assume it’s a budgetary thing or something, but lots of them seem to make five idents, and think that’s enough. However, there are four ad-breaks, so there’s should be eight idents. Instead, we end up repeating at least a couple of idents – in just one programme! – and all that makes me think about the company is that they either haven’t thought things through, or they’re just cheap. Either way, I can’t see that as being the reaction/perception that the company is aiming for when they’ve spent a bundle on buying the slots and making the idents.
I mind less when they’ve only done the one ident – even thought it means it can end up being seen eight times per episode – because at least it’s simple and easy. It’s the supposedly-funny ones that aren’t amusing in the first place, let alone once you’ve seen it twice in an hour, and even less so over the full run of any series.
It’s funny, sometimes, how a first impression – and sometimes even just a single word – can colour one’s judgement and feelings about something.
While geeking about yesterday, I did a google search for ‘Zucchini’ – a programme on TV was showing zucchini (courgettes) that were very different to the ones I recognise as courgettes, so I had a look.
And there on that results page, the second result was for Zucchini Restaurant in Batley, Yorkshire. It looks like this…
And just like that, I know I don’t want to go. If that’s their attention to detail, I’m out. Simple as that.
A while back, I wrote about OpenTable and the dodgy wording of their Dining Points loyalty scheme. At the time, it had just been referred to the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority), who were investigating further.
Last week, they came back to me – and while it’s still informal, OpenTable are supposedly changing the wording on the screens, to make things clearer about how the Dining Points scheme works.
It’s still not a situation I’m entirely happy with, because it can still be easily misinterpreted, and there’s a lot of inherent dodginess in the entire thing. But at least it’s progress.
It’s still with the ASA, following on from my own responses, but it’ll be interesting to see whether anything else comes of it.
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.
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…
Just now, my local authority (Central Bedfordshire council) tweeted this, which is hilariously badly-worded…
I replied, asking them if they meant that it was an event for underage drinking/drinkers, or if they meant it to be an event informing about (and/or preventing/reducing) underage drinking – as it certainly looked like the former.
In fairness, they then responded, and removed the original tweet.
But still, it made me laugh, picky and pedantic bastard that I am.
They then replaced that tweet with this one…
It really isn’t a good day for Central Beds’ social-media team. But it’s a very funny one for me…
Three years ago, when I was looking at moving (and ended up where I still am now) there were a couple of other places in the running – they fitted my plans, location and cost wise, if nothing else.
I go past one of them regularly on commutes, visits to parents and the like – so I see it come back on the rental market every six months or so (which is, not coincidentally, the usual period for a first short-term tenancy)
It’s pretty grotty, and right on a busy main road, so I’m not surprised it’s regularly in need of new tenants – and it looks like this, so it’s hardly appealing…That’s the only photo of it. There’s nothing of the inside at all – which always triggers my alarm bells, and is why I didn’t even visit it, so I’ve no idea what it looks like inside. I can’t imagine it’s much good though.
Even the sales description doesn’t do it any favours.
A One bedroom cottage situated on the outskirts of [village]. The property benefits from a parking area to the side and views of the countryside to the rear. Offered Unfurnished and Available Early July.
Entrance to Rear, Kitchen, Lounge, Bathroom, Double Bedroom, Shared Courtyard Garden, Double Glazed Windows, Electric Heating.
What fascinates me is that people choose it at all. OK, it’s dirt-cheap – although actually still a bit more expensive than the place I ended up with – but that doesn’t make it an appealing proposition. I’d imagine it’s even less of one after you’ve visited, seen the location and heard the road noise.
So I do wonder what type of person chooses it, and why. And (of course) where they go next, once their six months there is done…