economy rant: betting shops money shop phone shops
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I haven’t been into town for a while, well, you don’t need to go there if you aren’t going to buy anything. It’s a lovely day, so I took a detour via the cemetery and the park, to be treated to the lovely sight of a couple of jays flying over the railway line.
So I get into town and there it is, WHAM – what the heck has sprung up in the last year or so?
What the hell is a money shop? What’s the current rate of £1 – well it ought to be £1, natch. But no, here we have an outfit that is going to sell you money, for money. Howzat work then? I took a butcher’s at The Money Shop website to find out how it all works.
At the Money Shop we believe that you should get your hands on cash when you need it. So why wait?
Why wait? Because you don’t have any frickin’ money and will have even less after getting out of The Money Shop! Just what is so hard to understand about that?
Not only can you give yourself the right royal shaft but you can get incentivised to stiff your similarly hard-up mates. So what is the current price on money? Well, say you need £100 and you’ve just been paid, but all your pay went on the last payday loan. Well, heck, so you write out a cheque to The Money shop for £100. The kicker is they only give you £83.01 but the Money Shop will cash your £100 cheque after 30 days. That’s truly awesome.
Let’s assume you are the typical punter. you spend more than you earn, which is why you are coming to the Money Shop. Let’s say you want to buy Shanice some trinkets for Christmas and you need £100. Nobody else will advance this to you, so hello Money Shop. You need to borrow £100 from them, plus the amount they will charge you on top (£16.99)
Say this carries on for a year. You obviously have to borrow more and more since you need to borrow to cover the cost of the charges. How much are you borrowing at the end?
Yikes. Just. Say. No. Wilkins Micawber had it taped when he said that if you spend more than you earn the result is misery. The advantage of the Money Shop is it helps you get to the misery faster than the competition. I vote for Mr Money Mustache‘s approach:
when you come in and actually ask for a loan, I PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE AND TELL YOU TO WISE [...] UP AND GO SELL SOME OF YOUR SHIT INSTEAD OF BORROWING MORE MONEY!
Flabbergasted by this, I carried on, looking for places where fools could be parted from their money. The opportunities are legion –
Places you can get a paltry return on your Stuff
Right next door, we have cash converters, where you can quickly turn your own
or somebody else’s goods into cash. I’m actually a fan of CC for getting the odd item on the cheap, as there you get to handle the goods before buying. However, they don’t give you a lot and the markup’s been creeping up of late. Same sort of deal at Entertainment exchange, they seem to specialise on games and phones. Presumably this is how the consumer society pillages the yoof, who are brainwashed to value themselves by the type of phone they use?
Places where you can buy empty dreams and probably get nothing for your money
So you to can shove coins into slots, whiling away the time you have left on this earth. There’s only really one question here, like WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU WANT TO DO THAT? But enough people know the answer to be able to support a high-street shop to help them while away their little empty lives in quiet desperation.
You get other flavours of this selling empty dreams to the proletariat. I just don’t get the attraction. Why not open a self-select ISA and bet on some companies instead? Though it does happen that you lose your entire stake (hello Ionica, hello Rage Software, I’m looking at you, kids) it really is very rare. And you know, often they give you a slice of dosh back twice a year. And you know what, they are such mugs that they carry on doing it for the long term. Even if you’re a rotten investor you generally come out with more than betterbet would give you. So how come betterbet get a place on the High Street and Stocks and Shares ISA doesn’t?
You get the ultimate in convenience up here, slots and Ladbrokes. All designed to fleece the stupid people. Ain’t capitalism a little bit dirty on the underside?
Places for fools to spend money on status symbols and get financial running sores
I don’t know, ‘cos I don’t have one personally, but what is really important for a load of people is to have the Right Mobile Phone, so they can switch off from the world around them and plug into the Hive-Mind, occasionally blundering into streetlamps, other people and dangerous things like roads that have cars on them without looking up. This is a really big need, well, looking at how much prime town centre real estate is dedicated to servicing this need:
right next door is
and near that is
and for a different take on the same theme we have
before returning to vertical slicing with
returning again to horizontal slicing
and a gonzo take on the genre with YACPS*
* That’s Yet Another Crappy Phone Shop
Now your Ermine is an inquisitive creature, and something that is troubling his mind is just why does Ipswich, a town of 130,000 souls, need 8 phone shops. Have the good citizens of this benighted town never heard of the Internet, where presumably all the best deals are to be had? After all mobile phone contracts are just a few clicks of a mouse in some distant Indian back-office-outsourcing outfit, and if you actually need a phone handset or a SIM they are light and easily popped in the post.
Unlike other fashion items such as shoes and clothes, which are also well represented on the High Street, a mobile phone doesn’t need to fit snugly to any parts of the user’s body. I do admit to sometimes considering the option applied to the more obnoxious users, but the ermine is not built like a US marine so discretion is favoured over action most of the time. So what is up with all these phone shops!
The tragic conclusion I am coming to is that the High Street has got an awful lot of floor space that is purely dedicated to parting the feeble of mind from their hard-earned money, to the point where it is starting to look like a conspiracy! Happily this investigation into the weird and wonderful ways of Homo consumerus didn’t cost Mustela erminea any money, as it’s only 1½ miles to town, and I still know what my legs are for