Peter Rhodes on Xmas shoplifting, a suffering comedian and making money from motorists

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published:

Arriving thin and leaving fat.

Dom Joly

A READER who works in a superstore shares his thoughts on yuletide shoplifting. In an increasingly obese society, he asks, how do you spot the shoppers who are stuffing items up their jumpers? He says it is remarkable at this time of year how many thin people enter the store and how many fat people leave it.

"CHRISTMAS deserves Lurpak" may not be the daftest corporate soundbite, as I suggested a few days ago. Since then, my eye has been caught by this TV-ad slogan, for an airline: "The power of commitment will realise your destiny." The more you repeat it, the less sense it makes.

WHAT did you do in the Great O2 Data Crash, Daddy? Comedian Dom Joly says he found himself unable to access the latest online "idiotic stuff" from Piers Morgan or consult his exercise app to let his friends know how many calories he had burned that day. Can such suffering be allowed to exist?

A READER has been nicked for speeding and offered an "awareness course" for £100. And what a slick, professional process it is. He says you can not only book a course at a venue to suit you but can pay online by debit card and even buy a late-cancellation option for an extra £3.50, just like TripAdvisor. These courses represent the commercialisation of English law. Due process has been taken from magistrates and handed over to private companies, staffed largely by ex-cops. Yet there is no evidence that the courses are any more of a deterrent than the fine and penalty points they replace, or that they make drivers any safer. This probably explains why Scotland, where the legality of such courses has been called into question, manages perfectly well without them.

MEANWHILE in England, driver awareness courses have grown into a £200 million-a-year business. Ministers have promised to get a grip on the industry for "greater accountability and transparency." The Department of Transport has reported: "No significant evidence could be found that speed awareness courses cut death and injury on the road." So lots of money is changing hands but who is benefiting?

THUMBS up for progress? Not if you've been following the court case in Manchester where a man admitted "controlling and coercive behaviour." He waited until his girlfriend was asleep then placed her thumb on her mobile phone's Touch ID pad, accessing her texts and emails. At least he didn't resort to garden shears. But I bet it's only a matter of time before some thug amputates a finger to access a smartphone. Digital crime - in every sense.

I HAVE now lost count of the number of times I have removed the pop-up Viagra advert from BT Yahoo. It appears regularly and I delete it, ticking the box to say I find it offensive. But the Viagra ad just keeps popping up. Maybe it's part of the sales pitch.

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world


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