Consumers warned that not all guides are actually essential

Trading standards groups are warning consumers to be wary of so-called ‘essential’ guides which, upon inspection, turn out to contain little or no critically vital, life-saving information on their subject.

Suspicions were raised following reports that a Bristol couple enjoyed a weekend of Christmas shopping in London without consulting their copy of an ‘essential’ guide to the nation’s capital. According to the Trading Standards Institute, Mr. and Mrs. Barristow managed to survive the experience without the help of this publication. ‘We discovered that they handled all essential activities, such as eating, sleeping and generally going about their business unaided – overpriced guidebooks to local tourist traps notwithstanding.’

Trevor Dougan of Redditch also fell foul of bogus guides, having bought a well-known Sunday newspaper for its ‘essential’ guide to the week ahead. ‘There was nothing essential about it – just a bunch of listings about poncy art galleries. How’s that going to help me plan my week of watching CSI: Miami repeats?’ he asked.

The TSI is calling on publishers to drop the word ‘essential’ from their guides and replace the offending word with phrases such as ‘slightly useful’, ‘occasionally handy’ and ‘to be honest, a glorified book of advertisements from our sponsors.’ In the meantime, the institute will be carrying out a survey of guides that can be described as genuinely essential, the findings of which will be published in an essential guide to essential guides, priced GBP14.99 and available from all good bookshops.

(Written 15 Dec 2009)

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Published in: on February 1, 2010 at 8:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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