The patron saint of purchasers takes a look at the month’s more unlikely business tales.
My screen is frozen
Bungling scammers Nathan Meunch and Nigel Bennett thought they had devised a get-rich-quick scam by marking a box of ice cubes as iPads, and then planning to lodge an insurance claim for
£2,500 when it ‘failed to arrive’.
Unfortunately for the pair, the scheme backfired when the box started leaking at the Post Office. Even Bennett’s own lawyer described it as a “pathetic plan”. Both men pled guilty to fraud charges and were each given
150 hours of community service.
Victory to escape
Eager to avoid costly white elephants following the football world cup, Brazilians are keen to come up with alternative uses for the stadia after the 2014 tournament. In Manaus, where a £172 million, 44,000-seat stadium is under construction, a judge has recommended it is used as a processing centre for prisoners.
It would certainly give a new definition to the term ‘penalty area’.
Red flag issues
Cultural faux pas are easily made, as the German FMCG company Henkel found out in the Ukraine recently. The Bref Duo Stick caused a stink because its blue and yellow horizontal design bore an uncanny resemblance to the Ukraine national flag. Following complaints, Henkel stopped production and advertising of the product and apologised to anyone offended.
Hide those staplers
Sadly, I am drawn to the following less than saintly office behaviour: 27 per cent of British employees have stolen from their workplace, according to a poll by Versapak. Nearly four fifths of them admitted to pinching stationery, a third nicked petty cash and 29 per cent stole items from the office kitchen, including cutlery and utensils.
One in eight claimed they had nabbed more than £1,000 of goods from their employer. Unbelievably, 29 per cent thought stealing from their employer was “their right”.
Don’t shell out
The lobsters of Maine in the US are taking advantage of warmer oceans, which have led to a boom in harvests, with volume up 80 per cent since 2008. Unfortunately for fishermen the increase in supply has pushed prices down. From the heights of $4.63 per pound in 2005, the price is around $2.25 per pound today. So time to order a few, and make it snappy.
Feeling the pinch
More crustacean-related antics in China, where a man decided to disrupt a real-estate fair by taking seven crabs for a walk on leads through the exhibition. Each of the crabs sported a label such as “high real estate price” and “high land price”. The man, who claimed to be a performance artist, said the protest was aimed at greedy property developers who were “arrogant crawling crabs”, who had left him unable to afford a flat in the city of Nanjing.
Who’s crying now?
Essentials for a new baby cost £3,388 in the first year, according to Morrisons supermarket. Equipment such as sterilisers and bottles were the major spend, said 60 per cent of parents. The chain also calculated that new parents argue 187 times in the first year –
an average of 3.6 rows per week.
Dress to impress
Arriving at work in the same outfit as somebody else (unless you wear a uniform, of course) could provoke embarrassment.
But, according to a survey, workers who ape their boss’s dress sense are likely to climb the corporate ladder more quickly. Some 61 per cent of 2,000 people polled by Debenhams believed dressing like their colleagues improved team spirit and productivity. And 54 per cent said they were “heavily influenced” by what their manager wore. Nearly 70 per cent of managers were more aware of staff with a similar style to them.
Karen Pine, a psychologist from the University of Hertfordshire, said: “Clothes are a shorthand for who we are and what we are like, but research shows they can also change the wearer’s personality. So dressing like the boss may bring out a person’s leadership behaviours.”
Time spent battling with supplier portal ***************************
Time spent composing bid