Wednesday, 23 September 2009

This blog post is not a banana

At risk of sounding a grumpy old man (okay, okay, I am) - small print sometimes really gets up my nose. I hate those adverts that say 'We guarantee to beat your insurance quote'... and then in the verbal small print at the end they say 'minimum premium applies, terms and conditions apply' - i.e. they are lying when they say they guarantee to beat your quote, they will only beat your quote if it's more than a certain amount, and if you meet their terms and conditions.

But the specific thing that got me going was the bottom of my receipt from the Post Office. An innocent enough slip of paper, but it announces firmly 'This is not a VAT receipt.'

The first response is that there are billions of things it's not - why did they bother to tell me about this one? It's not a fire engine. It's not a supernova. But they didn't tell me that, did they?

But being more reasonable, why isn't a VAT receipt? Why can't all receipts be VAT receipts? After all, VAT (sales tax) doesn't have to apply to a sale to have a VAT receipt. It's no doubt because there's some silly regulation from HM Customs & Excise (may they live for ever) that says a VAT receipt must include the name and address of the customer, or some such frippery. If that is the case, it's time they changed the rules. This is just silly.

But at least the Post Office is polite in the way they end their receipt, so I will be too.

Thank you.


  1. Yes you are quite are a grumpy old man!!!x

  2. because everybody who has a printer can produce such a thing

    and btw, since there is no officially accepted definition of a banana, your post could as well be one. Not that anybody in his right mind might buy it, but just to nitpick on the "is" and "isn't" issue ;-p

  3. Though it crosses my mind the European union has probably a restriction on the curvature of the banana. So at least according to EU standards you could claim that legally speaking your post is indeed not a banana. Incidentally, in German the expression "alles Banane," lit. "all banana" means as much as "nonsense."

  4. You've got me bang to rights, Anonymous. Grumpy, but correct, I believe.

    Bee - Germans clearly like edible metaphors. Einstein famously said of something in his EPR paper that it was sausage to him, meaning, I believe, that it didn't really matter.