16 January 2014 | Saint Homobonus
The patron saint of purchasers takes a look at the month’s more unlikely business tales.
Passing fail Friday
If you are reading this before the 24 January, and you have stuck to your New Year’s resolution, well done.
It’s dubbed “fail Friday”, as the day when people’s resolve is most likely to run out as they return to old habits. A poll of 750 people found just 3 per cent expected to stick to their resolution for a full year. Meanwhile, a survey by health insurer BUPA revealed more than a quarter of men give up their new year diet after just a day, compared with one in 10 women. And yet another study of more than 2,000 Brits found losing weight was the most popular resolution, with 19 per cent aiming to improve fitness and 12 per cent wanting to learn a new hobby or skill in 2014.
You might imagine the threat of a sexual harassment law suit would have eliminated risqué gifts in the office ‘secret Santa’.
Not so, according to one gift website, which reported Kama Sutra playing cards, a thong and a ‘grow your own penis’ kit among presents given by colleagues last year.
Others included a dog leash for someone who didn’t own a dog, a hairdressing voucher for a bald man, and an IOU card from someone who forgot to take part.
A separate survey revealed equally bizarre gifts from employers, including cat food, a banana and a live turkey.
Truly taxing returns
With tax returns due at the end of the month, it’s time to get creative with your excuses if you anticipate missing the deadline. However it’s unlikely you’ll come up with something HMRC hasn’t heard before. The tax inspectorate has published its top 10 flimsiest excuses for missing the date.
Top of the list were the self-employed builder who claimed his pet goldfish had died, the farmer who blamed a “run-in with a cow”, and the woman who said after seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, she couldn’t concentrate on anything else.
Keep your tache on?
‘Movember’ may be over, but have you thought that a moustache could be a barrier to your career? An American Mustache Institute survey found that although 92 per cent of Americans believe moustaches are appropriate in the office, only 30 per cent report to a manager with facial hair. Then again, some 69 per cent associated moustaches with excessive alcohol intake, although they were also linked with professionalism (53 per cent), firm handshakes (74 per cent) and manliness (85 per cent).
A pre-nuptial agreement, a tarantula named Hercules and a life-size chocolate man were among items left behind by guests at Travelodge hotels last year.
The chain said other items included a range of new yoghurt flavours from a supermarket test team, rowing boat oars, and a cardboard cut out of Joey Essex.
More prosaic items included chargers, mobile phones and books – the most frequently discarded was Fifty Shades Freed.
GI Job lots for sale
Going cheap(ish) – items used by the US Army in Afghanistan that are now surplus to requirement.
The Defense Logistics Agency items range from tents to trucks, with lots ranging from $1 million – $25 million. The catch – similar to many online auctions – the seller (the US government) cannot deliver, so you have to show up at one of the named operating bases in Afghanistan to collect – and prove you have the ability to take your swag away within 24 hours. The bids will be opened on 10 January.
Looks good enough to eat
In this very issue SM reports on the rise of 3D printing and its importance to the supply chain, but here’s something that will certainly send it into the mainstream.
Confectioner Choc Edge, based at the University of Exeter, claims to have the first 3D printer in the world capable of printing in chocolate, and for £80 is offering the opportunity to immortalise your face in an edible form. You just have to send them a photo.
Alternatively you could buy a ‘Choc Creator V1’ to use at home, but it will set you back £2,888 – which would buy an awful lot of chocolate.
A rival Spanish venture, Natural Machines, has gone futher with the food theme – a 3D printer that can create a whole range of foods, including pasta, pizza and even a whole cheeseburger (bun included). Depending on the speed of these creations is this going to be the new way forward for fast foods?
Nooooooooooo! Not supply chain management! Nooooooooooooooo