Skip to main content

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.

Comments

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

    ReplyDelete
  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

    ReplyDelete
  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."

    ReplyDelete
  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.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Which idiot came up with percentage-based gradient signs

Rant warning: the contents of this post could sound like something produced by UKIP. I wish to make it clear that I do not in any way support or endorse that political party. In fact it gives me the creeps. Once upon a time, the signs for a steep hill on British roads displayed the gradient in a simple, easy-to-understand form. If the hill went up, say, one yard for every three yards forward it said '1 in 3'. Then some bureaucrat came along and decided that it would be a good idea to state the slope as a percentage. So now the sign for (say) a 1 in 10 slope says 10% (I think). That 'I think' is because the percentage-based slope is so unnatural. There are two ways we conventionally measure slopes. Either on X/Y coordiates (as in 1 in 4) or using degrees - say at a 15° angle. We don't measure them in percentages. It's easy to visualize a 1 in 3 slope, or a 30 degree angle. Much less obvious what a 33.333 recurring percent slope is. And what's a 100% slope