BT’s poor results due to advert couple split claim analysts

BT has reported pre-tax profits of GBP113m for the last three months of 2008, down 81% from the same period in 2007. The telecoms giant states that this is the result of the previously-announced GBP340m one-off charge at BT’s Global Services unit, which provides services to multinational companies.

However industry analysts believe that the real reason for the company’s poor performance is the on-off relationship of Adam and Jane – the couple featured in BT’s current ad campaign. The couple, whose up and down relationship has proved so popular with viewers, have been going through a rocky patch recently due to the amount of time Adam has been spending working away from home.

“BT is reluctant to admit that their sales strategy is at fault.” claims telecommunications business guru Steve Webley. “They would have us believe that their inefficient global division is to blame, rather than face the grim reality that it’s Adam and Jane’s inability to move with the times and embrace flexible working patterns that caused this poor performance.”

BT’s latest quarterly results have sparked off a series of cost-cutting measures within the company – further evidence of the ad couple’s duplicity say critics. Senior BT bosses are said to be pressing for Adam to be replaced by an automated voice recording, while Jane’s family is to be downsized. According to insiders, one of her children will be given the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy while the other will be outsourced to India.

Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 1:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The year 2010 ‘weeks if not months’ behind schedule

World leaders are holding crisis talks today after Henderson-Atwood, the construction company who beat off dozens of rivals for the contract to successfully build and install the new year, has admitted that it will be weeks, if not months, behind schedule.

Company director Cyril Atwood has apologised for the delay, putting the blame on uncertainties in the current economic climate. ‘The exchange rate means that we’re having to shop around for competitively priced fortnights – it being more cost effective to buy weekdays in bulk. Also, in previous years, suppliers would usually throw in weekends at a discount, but this is no longer the case as they look to maximise profits.’

It has been suggested that the failure of a sub-contractor to complete February – a key stage in the construction of next year – has also contributed towards slipping timescales. ‘It is true that we did have to return February to the manufacturers after it was discovered that it had 29 days instead of the standard 28,’ Atwood revealed, ‘but I can assure you that that matter was speedily resolved.’

News of the delay has put further pressure on Old Father Time, following the debacle of 2009: also built by Henderson-Atwood. ‘He never should have given those cowboys the contract for 2010,’ claims one industry insider. ‘Just look at the cock up they made of last Summer. They completely forgot to order any weather for August and had to pull back some of the rain earmarked for October in order to fill the gap.’

For his part, Old Father Time remains defiant. Speaking from his retirement home in Sussex, he hit out at his critics. ‘Ushering in a new year is a highly complicated job and there’s bound to be the occasional mistake. The last time something major went wrong we just blamed the introduction of the Gregorian calendar and nobody was any the wiser. People say I’m getting a bit long in the tooth for this kind of thing but I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve yet – you wait until you’ve experienced Xmasuary 2009 – a new extra ‘filler’ month of presents and piss-ups before you start having a pop at me!’

Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 12:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Accident reconstruction injury forces compensation firm to sue themselves

A Nantwich man could be set to make legal history after filing a personal injury claim against a business that specialises in personal injury claims. Even more remarkably, it has been revealed that he sustained the injury while filming a reconstruction of a previous accident as part of an advertisement for this company, after they successfully handled his original claim.

Trevor Fry, a 37 year-old warehouse worker, originally approached compensation lawyers A1-Claims4U after he was ordered by his manager to carry a number of heavy boxes without proper lifting aids. He consequently damaged his back and was forced to take unpaid medical leave. “It was when I was laid up that I saw A1-Claims4U’s advert on the telly.” he said, “they promised a no-win no-fee service, so I thought I’d give them a go.”

A few weeks later A1-Claims4U’s lawyers successfully filed for compensation and Fry was awarded several thousand pounds, minus legal costs. Fry was more than pleased with their service. “I was dead chuffed! They then asked me if I’d like to re-enact the accident in their next advert. Well I’d never been on telly before, and they said they’d pay me, so why not?”

However during the filming of this advertisement, which entailed carrying a large cardboard box before grimacing, holding his back and doubling over with pain, Fry hurt his back yet again. When Fry actually tried to lift the box, he found it far heavier than he had been led to believe. “They told me it’d be empty, but when I lifted it, it weighed a ton. I felt my back go straight away.”

“I couldn’t believe it!” he continued, “I’d only just got back from the chiropractors as well!” Faced with another lengthy bout of bed-confinement, Fry felt that he had no other alternative than to claim for compensation against A1-Claims4U, and he was in no doubt who he would choose to handle his claim – A1-Claims4U. “They’d done such a great job after my previous accident that I decided I’d use them again – good firms are hard to come by nowadays.”

Published in: on December 31, 2009 at 12:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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‘My 12 hour present wrapping nightmare’

A ‘foolhardy’ Lewisham man, who had to be rescued from his back room by fire fighters after attempting to wrap a Christmas present without the aid of his wife, has spoken to journalists about his terrible ordeal.

Brian Cowl, 54, decided to wrap his wife’s Michael Bublé CD – the only present he had bought on his own initiative after years of ‘here’s some money, buy yourself some jewellery or clothes or something’ – while she was visiting her sister in Lowestoft for the weekend. ‘I didn’t think it’d be too difficult,’ he confessed, ‘after all, I usually leave the missus to do her own wrapping and she can’t even wire a plug.’

However, three hours and several off-cuts of wrapping paper later, Cowl was still faced with an unwrapped present and the prospect of yet another blast of withering sarcasm come Christmas morning. ‘I knew I was in over my head but I couldn’t face another “Oh, a Dorothy Perkins chiffon scarf, what a lovely surprise.” So I plunged on despite the paper cuts and scissor blisters.’

Brian’s howls of anguish eventually alerted neighbours to his predicament and the alarm was raised, but not before the door was wedged closed by piles of crumpled gift tags and inexpertly tied bits of string. ‘You’d think writing “to Doreen, with love from Brian” would be child’s play,’ Cowl explained, ‘but after the millionth spelling mistake or smudged biro mark you start losing the will to live.’

Eventually fire fighters broke into Cowl’s back room through a window to find the would-be present wrapper hunched over a roll of Sellotape, rocking back and forth as he frantically scratched the surface with his thumbnail. ‘The wife is always moaning at me for not folding over the end so that it can be found later,’ he sobbed, ‘but did I listen? Well that’s it – frosty Christmas or not that’s the last time I ever buy and wrap a present for my wife – it’s just not worth the hassle. Next year I’ll get her a voucher and put it in with her- Oh Jesus Christ I haven’t written her a card yet!’

Published in: on December 22, 2009 at 8:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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War in Afghanistan fails annual risk assessment

The Health and Safety Executive has issued a cease and desist order to the Ministry of Defence, demanding a halt to all operations in Afghanistan, after a recent risk assessment exposed a number of serious safety hazards.

HSE inspectors, who descended on the British section at Bagram Airbase last month, found numerous breaches in the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Among the issues highlighted in their subsequent report was the lack of ear defenders, which were deemed necessary considering that base is situated next to Kabul International Airport. ‘How British troops can stand all that coming and going is beyond me,’ one inspector is quoted as saying. ‘There were huge stores of ammunition, but did I see even one copy of the COSHH guidelines?’

The report also blasts the armed forces for failing to observe proper manual handling and lifting procedures: ‘Weapons technicians were observed rushing to load aircraft with heavy missiles without first pausing to carry out an ad-hoc risk assessment. Having ignored my entreaties to bend the knees, well, life-saving air support or no life-saving air support, they were at serious risk of sustaining a nasty back injury.’

Military personnel at Camp Bastion, Britain’s strategic base northwest of Lashkar Gah and main bulwark against the Taliban in Helmand Province, received even harsher criticism, the area being labelled as ‘dirty and lacking in proper cleaning facilities’. Camp commanders were also censured for failing to enforce proper confined space working procedures during the many mortar attack alerts. ‘And they could have at least sealed off the large numbers of concealed roadside bombs with hazard tape before disposing of them in an appropriately marked metal waste container.’ stated one official.

Inspectors then followed a company of light infantry to a forward fire base overlooked by a Taliban-held compound, and what they witnessed moved them to tears. ‘It was dreadful,’ one wrote, ‘The constant firing of heavy machineguns as they fended off yet another fanatical attack left those poor soldiers wide open to repetitive strain injury, not to mention vibration white finger – I begged them to take a comfort break but they just didn’t listen. And that wounded squaddie propped up against the sandbags – well if that wasn’t a trip hazard I don’t know what is, but would they let me put a warning sign on him? Ooh the language!’

(Written 2 Oct 2009)

Published in: on December 21, 2009 at 9:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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Department of Minor Annoyances announces job losses

The Civil Servants’ Union has vowed to fight for its members after the Department of Minor Annoyances and Irritations announced sweeping job losses. The DMAI, originally set up by Neville Chamberlain to take the British public’s mind off the impending war by focussing their ire on small but annoying irritants, recently pledged to reduce its staffing levels by a staggering 75%, mainly by outsourcing and natural wastage.

The DMAI first hit the headlines in January, when the Shower Temperatures Maladjustment division was outsourced to India following the early retirement its last remaining UK based operative. Since then it has also closed down the Itchy Underpant Label division, citing the worldwide rise in starch prices.

According to union officials, getting rid of label starchers was just the tip of the iceberg. ‘Our members in the New Trainers division are also being targeted.’ claimed one shop steward. ‘Senior management reckon that it’s more cost effective to employ child labourers at source in Bangladeshi sweatshops to add that annoying squeak in new trainers, rather than pay British civil servants to do it over here. But to me that’s just using prevailing geo-economical realities as an excuse.’

However Charlotte Mullins, Minister without Conscience and head of the DMAI, insists that job cuts must be made in order to save tax payers’ money. ‘For example, the increase in supermarket milk means we no longer need staff to pull milk bottle tops so taut that your thumb goes through them.’ she told reporters.

Mullins is also at pains to point out that there is a silver lining to this streamlining, as some employees will be transferred to departments where workloads are higher than ever. ‘We have several vacancies in the Broadcasting Media department, where we are working on a project to stop all Freeview and satellite recorders being able to fast-forward over adverts. And as winter approaches and the central heating gets turned on, job opportunities will open up in the Radiator department – assuming you can whistle at a suitably irritating frequency.’

(Written 1 Oct 2009)

Published in: on December 21, 2009 at 9:26 am  Leave a Comment  
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Corruption probe exposes BAE Middle Earth deal

BAE Systems, the UK’s biggest defence, security and aerospace manufacturer, is facing further scrutiny after their investigation by the Serious Fraud Office for alleged bribery in a number of third-world countries exposed another suspicious deal within the fantasy realm of Middle Earth.

The SFO is expected to announce later whether BAE Systems will be prosecuted for paying millions of pounds to win a contract to equip the Men of Gondor with trainer jets and remote artillery sighting software. ‘Despite his household’s perilous financial condition, Denethor, Ruling Steward of Gondor, was desperate for a modern defence force to combat the growing menace of the evil wizard Saruman,’ claimed an industry insider. ‘He was more than willing to bung a few sacks of gold in BAE’s direction.’

BAE’s presence also crops up in the notorious Hobbit corruption scandal, in which Samwise Gamgee, the Shire’s Minister of Defence, allegedly received kickbacks from the company in return for awarding them the contract for an aviation control system. According to one Hobbit journalist, by the time the deal was finalised, this military air traffic control system was not only out of date, but is criminally ill-suited to their needs. ‘The Shire Airforce consists of nothing more than a fat bloke in a hand glider, who can barely get off the ground anyway.’ he revealed.

In light of these revelations it is expected that BAE will plead guilty to charges of corruption and will agree to pay a substantial sum in compensation. The SFO is said to be considering a deal in which the company will hand over to the government the profits made from all of their Middle Earth contracts, in the form of a single magic ring. The Prime Minister has apparently given his tacit approval, keen to acquire this precious ‘ring to rule them all’ before the next election.

(Written 1 Oct 2009)

Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 4:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Archaeologists uncover last remaining Pop Tart

A team of archaeologists from the University of Bangor have discovered what is thought to be the world’s only extant Pop Tart. The jam-filled, toasted pastry parcels, which enjoyed a brief period of popularity in the UK during the late 1980’s, were thought to have died out after consumers began to tire of burning their chins with red-hot strawberry preserve.

After hearing tales of a lost Pop Tart deep in the Cambrian Mountains, Professor Julie Sudgen and her team were determined to prove this theory wrong. ‘According to legend, a sheep farmer dropped his toaster down a ravine before he had chance to extract his breakfast Pop Tart.’ she explained. ‘It’s a well-known fact that they can hold their heat for ages, so we hit upon the idea of scanning the area with a thermal imaging camera.’

Sure enough, 5 miles outside Machynlleth, a brilliant white glowing spot showed up on the camera. ‘We knew we were onto something but, due to the steaming pools of jam that covered the immediate area, were worried that the tart’s integrity may have been compromised. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we dug up a perfectly preserved Pop Tart, still with enough jam in it to be classed as intact – and it was still warm too, as my blistered fingers will attest.’

(Written in response to the great Newsbiscuit Neat-O challenge, 28 Sep 2009)

Published in: on December 17, 2009 at 2:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Admission that flat-pack instructions weren’t at fault ‘both dangerous and irresponsible’

A Devonshire man has received a strong rebuke from other British husbands after he was heard admitting to his wife that the instructions that came with an item of flat-pack furniture were perfectly adequate, and that it was his own ineptitude that caused it to fall apart hours after it had been put together.

Meeting at the local Spaniard’s Arms public house, a jury of his peers learned that Daniel Smeet, 34, of Axminster, bought the self-assemble TV/DVD player cabinet from a well-known DIY store for his daughter’s bedroom. ‘It wasn’t the fact that he couldn’t build the thing,’ claimed a visibly agitated neighbour, ‘but that the silly sod admitted to his missus that it was his fault! Any bloke worth his salt would’ve mumbled something about the instructions being crap before getting his mate to fix it or leaving the whole thing in the garage to gather dust.’

It took Smeet’s contemporaries only ten minutes to find him guilty of acting in a ‘dangerous, irresponsible and downright bloody stupid manner’. He was further charged with admitting his cack-handedness, not claiming that the instructions were written in pidgin English or that they contained rubbish diagrams that were too small to make out.

One jury member, while condemning Smeet’s actions, blamed today’s younger, more honest and idealistic generation of married men as a whole for such a basic error. ‘It’s a no-brainer – a bad workman may blame his tools, but blaming the instructions is a basic stand-by excuse and they should’ve learned that by now. It’s up there with ‘it came off in my hand’ and ‘half of the bloody screws are missing’ for getting yourself out of trouble with the wife when she wants the wardrobes up pronto.’

Smeet’s trial comes only months after a Wrexham man was found guilty at the Pig and Whistle assizes of criticising his girlfriend’s new skirt without due care and attention, and the sensational ‘Go on then, if you’re so sure where it is, you drive!’ trial in the bar at the Fox at Brandsford.  Smeet has been sentenced to be severely ostracised for three weeks, pending him getting a round in.

(Written 28 Sep 2009)

Published in: on December 16, 2009 at 10:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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‘Stop labelling us as sexually active go-getters’ plead pensioners

The National Pensioners Convention has hit out against the popular portrayal of the elderly as dynamic, life-loving individuals with active sex lives, following a string of complaints from their members about being pressured into leading rich and full, action packed retirements.

According to the NPC, the number of injuries sustained going skydiving or running marathons by people old enough to know better is growing at an alarming rate. ‘We want to see out our final days in a big comfy armchair, not strapped to a parachutist,’ complained a spokesman. ‘If I want to help the aged I’ll organise a whist drive, not jump out of a bloody aeroplane!’

Mrs. Ida Chadwick, a vocal campaigner for the return of the ‘good old-fashioned doddering ageist stereotype’ concurs: ‘The media’s obsession with blue-rinse bungee jumping and wrinkly sex is not only patronising but downright intrusive. What me and my Sidney get up to in our own home is nobody’s business but our own – and Dr. Bradford’s, who looks after me downstairs plumbing.’

Former road sweeper Derek Chives, 77, is typical of the growing number of people who resent the modern preconception of the elderly as people who act as if they are still in their 20’s. ‘When I retired I was really looking forward to spending my twilight years pottering around the shed and maybe digging out my old train set, but no – the missus starts reading Cosmopolitan and the next thing you know I’m being dragged upstairs! I’m just not cut out for it any more – if I ever fancy a quick knee-trembler, five minutes alone with the Gratton’s catalogue will do me.’ ‘Stop living vicariously through us,’ concludes the NPC, ‘get your own sex lives and leave us dribble into our porridge in peace.’

(Written 24 Sep 2009)

Published in: on December 15, 2009 at 10:33 am  Comments (1)  
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