for the George Mikes reference!
This may come as a total surprise to you but today is Black Friday. Yes! It crept up on us unawares without anyone mentioning it once. Indeed, they mentioned it not once but at least a dozen times – each. But this year's Black Friday has a very different feel to those in recent years, especially here in Britain where it is …
According to some nondescript store in Kensington High Street (Uniglo or something like that) it seems that "Black Friday" actually runs from Thursday 22nd November through to Wednesday 28th November. Quite how one day can last a week I am not sure but to me it is an indicator not to buy anything tagged "Black [whatever]" in the knowledge that it will be previously unsold, warehoused tat from 2 years ago.
No, I shall be British and wait for the proper sales that start on Boxing Day, when we all queue up in an orderly fashion, stampede into Harrod's and lay waste.to the china department, safe in the assumption that they buy in cheap and nasty china just for the occasion.
(Beer, 'cos it's Black Friday today)
Carphone warehouse (a long past its sell by date name) has had a "black tag" sale for ages.
Curiously it's usually empty, while there is often a queue at the mobile phone booth in Tesco. The same Mall has Vodafone, Three and Eir shops, mostly busier than CPW, but less busy than the Tesco booth.
Yet again Which? is warning that the deals are often bogus or for things you shouldn't buy. Perhaps Dabsy's timely warning should have been LAST week, though Cyber Monday (the worst day of the year to buy online) is not yet arrived.
"unfortunately Germany doesn't allow dual-nationality"
To be pedantic, lots of countries don't like dual nationality, and will make a big deal about you giving up your old nationality, but it's legally almost impossible for them to do so.
In general you can't ever not have a nationality, nor renounce your current one if it's your only one. There are some odd exceptions, but in general that's the case.
When you gain a new nationality, one of two situations occurs. If your current nation won't allow you to gain another one, then you gain the new one, then lose the old. Otherwise you keep both. You can then choose to give up one of them. You can also have one taken away by the nation it belongs too.
But at no point can nation A remove the nationality of nation B from anyone. Ever.
The Dutch are even more picky than the Germans, and they admit that, legally, if I'm granted citizenship that I cannot be made to renounce my current nationalities (British and NZ).
Actually getting nationality is slightly more tricky if you don't actually live in the country.
According to the draft agreement, anyone who has been in another EU country for 5+ years gets permanent residency (ie nationality less a few bits) immediately upon brexit. If less than 5, then keep current rights, get residency after 5.
I'm also 99% sure that if the Dabbs household moved to the ancestral home of Mme Dabbs, then Dabbsy gets to come with, and gets to live and work while accumulating the 5 years. Same for children. Exactly which blood relatives are something that is in the haggling details.
The actual agreements are well worth reading. The UK stays in the EU, follows EU rules, agrees to pay an appropriate contribution and the ECJ is the top court still. But no votes. Even knowing some of the finer haggling points, I don't actually see what the UK has gotten out of this, other than moving the deadline a couple of years down the road.
Oh, and for the fuckers who tried to pull this shit off, I don't think it's worked. The anti money laundering stuff is part of the deal, including full details of all beneficial ownership.
I think Germany want to see actual proof you've renounced your previous non-EU nationality before giving you German nationality.
So before Brexit you can have them both, after Brexit, Germany will want to see the letter from your caring sharing Home Office saying fuckity bye. However even so you can then go back to Home Office later and pay a lot of money and (hopefully) get it back again.
Meanwhile, e.g. Spain wants you to solemnly pinky promise you will renounce your previous nationality at the ceremony where you get your Spanish nationality, but doesn't do much more than that.
As for permanent residency, most EU countries allow the foreign partner to stay with their family whatever his of her income. The exception is, of course, the UK where high income threshold test is individual instead of per household and it doesn't matter if the partner is forced to leave as Skype apparently ticks the "right to family life" box.
"I don't actually see what the UK has gotten out of this"
It's Taken Back Control.
Yes, I know it's meaningless. It always was. But it was what a fraction of the nation voted for.
Now some of them have realised they won't actually done that come Brexit day.
What they haven't realised yet is that if they get a hard Brexit they still won't have taken back control. Half the world's map isn't coloured pink any more. The sun set on the empire long ago. There is no control to take back.
"Yes, I know it's meaningless. It always was. But it was what a fraction of the nation voted for."
It's a bigger fraction that has ever voted in anything than has voted for anything else in British history. If you want to diminish the voting majority by trying to disparage it as an insignificantly small fraction, no vote ever has tallied the numbers that Brexit has, and there are many elections that have had smaller majorities.
Agree or disagree with the outcome, campaigning or whatever you like, the legitimacy of the actual referendum vote itself is indisputable. 72.2% of voters turning out with over 33.5 million votes isn't too shabby for any vote. With a 3.8% majority in favour, it's a clearly legitimate majority also.
Well, what with all the insecurity around brexit, I am glad I could get Dutch citizenship (having a Dutch mother and being born and raised in the Netherlands), but much to my surprise I could simply keep my British citizenship (which I got automatically through having British father). In the past they did a lot of huffing and puffing about dual nationality, but now suddenly there wasn't a problem. I still have a good five years of validity on my UK passport, and given the price of these things, I was glad I didn't have to discard it and get a Dutch one instead (and yes, I have Scottish and Dutch ancestry).
If you are (un)lucky enough to be born in NI then you are at least guaranteed dual nationality - British and Irish citizenship.
Given brexit, there have been some surprising characters who have exercised this right who would otherwise denounce their Irish-ness...
(AC because it's a whole other can of worms)
"[...] but unfortunately Germany doesn't allow dual-nationality [...]"
When did that happen? Back in the early Noughties a young friend from Turkey (Turkish father, German mother) was saying that when he reached conscription age he was allowed to choose between Turkey or Germany for his military service. Presumably he chose Germany as he later went to university there.
I’m not sure how I feel about “nationality”. I was born and brought up as an Anglo-Scot and even though I suppose I’m a bit of a Francophile, I’d only be pretending if I acquired a French passport. It’s a bit like those annoying men and women you meet from time to time who evidently benefited from a comfortable middle-class upbringing but pretend to be working-class heroes.
I was in a Dutch bank some years ago. The branch was virtually empty, one customer being served at the single staffed counter position, and there was no queue. I stood generally in the vicinity of where a queue should be formed, having seen nobody around, let alone one with with a sort of "I am waiting my turn" cast to their general demeanour.
The customer being served finished, and as they walked off, I went the few steps to the counter, then...
.. apparently from nowhere, a random and somewhat angry Dutchman appeared and remonstrated with me, presumably for stealing his place in the queue. I am not sure how I was supposed know the queue was actually behind a curtain, or the large pot plant, or where ever the hell it was he had been hiding away, and not at the pole in the vicinity of the counter, where it seemed likely any queue should be formed, but hey. I didn't much see the point in arguing. It would have been tricky in any case, what with me not speaking any Dutch.
Presumably it was a spatially dispersed queue, where all parties have to to play a sort of Netherlandish version of hide-and-seek, and join the queue by first finding the last person in it, then remembering who and where they were, before hiding themselves so the next-comer can join in the fun.
This may only have been a uniquely Delft tradition though, and not typical of the Dutch at all. I don't recall it ever happening again, but then I did start checking more assiduously for any superficially nonchalant "I'm not waiting in a queue" body language that concealed a true, darker purpose.
> Perhaps you forgot to take a number?
Trouble is there are inevitably two buttons on the take-a-number machine.
I remember in somewhere Scandinavian the two buttons were labelled roughly “Homtyfomtybumfluff” and “Expedition”.
I asked the person behind me if she could possibly translate these for me and she said, “I’m sorry I don’t know the English for Homtyfomtybumfluff, but Expedition is Expedition”. Since I wasn’t going on an expedition, I pressed Homtyfumtybumfluff. Some sort of klaxon went off out the back and a new person with a different uniform appeared in a new window whose curtain was raised, and my number appeared above it. I walked up purposefully to ask for my “three stamps for postcards to Scotland please’” and found this was the counter for passport applications, driving licenses, gun permits and so on. I sheepishly returned to the back of the “expedition” queue.
...as the 25th is at the weekend, so they bring it forward for some reason...
...not that I've read any of the 3 million (it seems) special offer emails I've had this week.
(That said, I do have a couple of things I need to buy soonish, so I'll be playing the "what odds on those things not being in a sale" game later...)
It's a curious indictment of British pay that pay dates can vary so much. Currently I'm waiting until next Friday for my pay as I'm now paid on the last working day of each month. But historically I have been paid also on the last Friday of each month and on the 25th of each month. This can then cause issues with bills when you align them with one pay date to then change jobs and discover that all your bills now leave the bank the day before you get paid.
"I ended up making sure all the bills were timed for the first fortnight of the month for that very reason."
As a variation I used to get bank statements in the middle of the month so I could work out how bad the remainder was going to be and prioritise things accordingly.
(Current bank adopted the practice of sending statements whenever there was a full page to print. It's now abandoned that practice and apparently sends out a statement after some random fraction of a full page has been generated. What they never seem to have worked out is what every other bank I've used over several decades has accomplished: print monthly and shove as many pages as that requires into a single envelope. The wonders of modern banking IT.)
Strangest pay system I encountered was a big blue megacorp who paid you in advance for the month you're about to work.
It meant that when you join / they borg your employer you get an extra month's pay.
It also means that when you leave to go to a company with normal backpay, you had best had a month's wages saved up to live off.
I then went to a company that paid on the very last day of the month, however once they started pushing that out to the 1st-3rd of the next month (and presumably skimming the interest) I started looking to leave. They claimed they would pay for any fees relating to missed payments, what they wouldn't answer was how they would repair any damage to employee's credit records.
I'm now paid 25th-ly, or the nearest working day beforehand. Which is strange when it is about a week before the end of the month, most of my bills come out at the start of the month, I look at my wages and panic. But then remember I'm a few weeks off the next pay.
Once had a standing order to a company who didn't understand how bank holidays worked. It was due to go out on the 1st, but if that was a Saturday and there was a bank holiday (or two!) the money might not transfer until the Tuesday 4th or Wednesday 5th. Cue phone calls "Where's our money?" "When the bank sends it"
I generally dealt with the variability using two techniques that I called "budgeting" and "saving" that meant that I didn't run out of money at the end of the month.
One place I worked a colleague complained that being paid a week early at Christmas caused problems because the money had to last an extra week. I'm glad to say that all 3 of us in earshot had the same reaction.
Some people are just not good with money, personally, I can't help but see money as worthless bits of paper with some mugs face on it that I have this urget to get rid of it as quickly as possible
Yeah, once upon a time, this word economics used to mean something entirely different
Now it means propping up a failing system
TBH, "TV sets built in 2006" doesn't sound bad. You could probably find one with decent enough specs, but without any "intelligence" or connectivity.
Damn straight TVs unencumbered by 'Smart' sound positively wonderful.
Stayed in a Hotel recently where the TV kept jumping to some app from regular viewing due to some stray signal from the remote operated by the person in the next room.
Ireland uses DVB-T only, no DVB-T2 for HD, but even SD uses the MPEG4 / H264 + MHEG5
We were still getting UK market models AFTER Analogue switch off in 2012. I think some UK owned chains STILL selling models that ONLY work via HDMI and SCART etc.
Don't get me started on Tesco's "HD Ready" Techika models either. "HD Ready" = Inferior panels that can display the HD input on HDMI, downsampled.
So no a 2006 TV is a seriously bad idea.
Interesting that the first picture is of a row of washing machines because my current one has been on the blink for a while, and I have been waiting to see what deals would be on offer. I've just bought one online today that is a genuine £200 cheaper than it was a few months ago when I first thought I'd need to buy a new one.
I'm not buying anything else though, and I'm certainly not going anywhere near any physical shops until I absolutely have to.
There are several black british cheeses incorporating charcoal, not just ash-coated cheeses. One example they stock at my local deli is this one from oop norf;
I'm not much of a cheddar person, but this one definitely sits in my "cheddars that are actually very nice" pile.
"But were they Black..."
I bought a 500g punnet of black grapes from Waitrose this afternoon in the small window of opportunity after they do a final*** price slash on "last day" fruit and veg. £2.50 down to 89p.
***If you go 15 minutes before closing time - they often do "everything 10p" that's still left in the "last day" trolley. Works really well if in the shelf restocking they have suddenly discovered nice things with expiring dates. Recently the lady on the cheese counter came looking for me as I was browsing the trolley. She offered me an overlooked 1.6kg unopened pack of Blue Stilton for £2.90 a kg. Several neighbours' households shared in that windfall.
You'd think it would be Vendredi Noir, mais non c'est Black Friday
The shopping 'mall' at our Leclerc was almost deserted, no surging unwashed crowd having camped the previous night fighting over the remains of a dis-embowled television.
We did go for a Black Friday three course lunch with wine reduced from 12 euros to 12 euros and very nice it was too.
Similar thing here; no Viernes Negra just Black Friday.
I had to go shopping for timber to build a new work bench in my workshop both Leroy Merlin and Brico Depot (AKA B&Q) were deserted, as far as I'm concerned every day can be Black Friday here if it makes shopping that easy.
To be fair, the ongoing gillets jaunes protest has meant most supermarket's have been deserted this week even in mid week. Especially when you get outside of Paris, it has been common to see a roundabout with gillet jaunes slowing traffic, although also as given outside of Paris most people seem to support this, its all very polite and controlled and just viewed as a minor thing that was brewing over years of the particular cause repeating itself ( Edouard Philippe completely ignoring vast swathes of the country outside of Paris who were most affected, who didn't want either this or the 80km limit etc).
What I'm *really* shocked at is to get this far down the comments and unless I'm blind, not seeing *anything* by ledswinger, phil o'sophical and all the other brexit troll's who usually inhabit these sections. Their handlers must be cutting back on the wage bills by only having them work in single time periods :-)
" We used to have Harvest Festival when I was a kid, not sure if it still goes on."
My neighbour's son is at a UK Catholic secondary school. IIRC he has to take a tin of something for a collection for the needy about that time of year. Presumably the ongoing legal requirement for a religious assembly allows the school to dragoon all their pupils*** into a Christian Harvest festival service.
I would be surprised if the CofE churches don't still make such collections for display by the altar - although probably much diminished. The Waitrose food bank basket probably outdoes them all year round. Today it was starting to overflow with boxes of mince pies and biscuits.
"We plough the fields and sca-tter the good seed on the land". Enough childhood repetition makes permanent memories even for atheists.
*** I wonder if atheists are recognised exceptions these days. That word wasn't even part of the vocabulary in my 1960s non-denominational secondary school. Assembly separation was limited to RC and Jews. Everyone else was basically in the set "CofE" - including the various brands of non-conformists and one Mormon.
"I've never heard of that yet. We used to have Harvest Festival when I was a kid, not sure if it still goes on."
Since the Cameron and May governments came to power, charities have had to collect produce for the poor 365 days a year, not just one Sunday.
And yes, it makes me angry.
Ah. And a downvote from someone who obviously hasn't got a clue what is happening in this country outside his little bubble.
A lot of the people who are having to use food banks are in work. I know people who work in them, anyone who tells you they are not needed is a liar, or perhaps a Conservative MP - but I repeat myself.
Twinged my back and on pain killers so somewhat spaced.
I bought a Black Friday bargain bluetooth speaker and kept thinking "I know there's some reason I shouldn't have done that.".
Now waiting for it to charge before playing the linked track by steel....and thinking "Steelers Wheel? Steeleye Span? I'm sure I know that wierd looking guy holding the blue knob...".
I am truly astounded that in this age where some snowflake or other will twist the meaning of almost any word in order to claim that it is offensive to some minority group or other, that the mere mention of the words, "Black Friday" does not lead to an immediate teeth-gnashing outcry from "those who know best".
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Not sure how many people in the UK, particularly England, have learned French in recent years. Even the Baby Boomers were only guaranteed such lessons if they passed the 11+. Before 1944 the Junior Technical Schools were specifically barred by law from teaching foreign languages. The few pupils nowadays who do choose Modern Languages seem to prefer Spanish or German.
From my time working in Luxembourg there are a large number of French "comic" books on my shelves - mostly Asterix but also a few of the purely adult ones like Lauzier.
As I reach the end of the comments I get an email trying to sell me crap I do not want.
It's like Booking.com and its belief that because I once stayed in Harrogate I want to stay there every time an hotel there has a vacancy. Yes I did once buy a laptop from you. Six months ago. So why do I want to buy an old model inferior spec laptop from you?
I would be all in favour of creepily intrusive monitoring and AI if it would do a decent job, work out that I never, ever buy stuff from emails, and stopped sending them.
The number of traders who spam everyone whose email address they can get their hands on is very annoying.
I once used an email address to allow a company dealing in bathroom fittings to tell me when they would be ready for collection. They seem to have assumed that I would be refurbishing my bathroom at least three times a week. As soon as the goods were collected, they were added to the Always Block list.
I can count on one finger the number of traders reaching my inbox who get it right.
Having bought something for car restoration from an online trader which was difficult to source elsewhere, they started sending me their circulars, usually once or twice a month. All are about their special offers, are for different types of product, or are pointing me at a video showing their products being used. When I buy more items (about once a year), they recognise that I am already in their list, and don't send me multiple mailshots. When they asked me about GDPR, I happily ticked the box to continue the relationship.
"It's like Booking.com and its belief that because I once stayed in Harrogate I want to stay there every time an hotel there has a vacancy."
The only sensible way to deal with booking.com is to have the email server control open on another tab ready to click to set the email address you gave then to bounce the moment the confirmation email hits your inbox.
You need a holiday on Thursday where you stuff yourself to the gills, watch some football – your kind or ours, it doesn't matter.
Then you'll wake up Friday morning full of energy for shopping.
(And to the nutters that insist on calling us USAians – you know who you are – just stop it. You know the proper word. Just try telling a Canadian that he's an American too and see how far Canadian politeness really goes.)
Correct me if I am wrong but wasnt the tradition of eating turkey at Thanksgiving starteď when the native Americans gifted some turkeys to the first settlers?
I wonder what we'd be eating at Thanksgiving if the gift had been - say - little pussycats
You forgot the Black Friday tradition for idiots waiting for hours in the freezing drizzle outside of Wal-mart or similar at 5AM for the doors to open so the first 50 can grab a child's bicycle or Tickle Me Elmo for half price. There have actually been stores with a police presence outside to maintain order when the doors open.
Now grocery shopping is a different story on Black Friday. Everyone is eating leftovers after the US Thanksgiving holiday, no one wants to face the thought of buying/preparing more food, and all the idiots are Christmas shopping. So there is practically no one in the grocery stores. It's blissful.
"During the meanwhile, LibreOffice is £0. WTF indeed.
(Yes, it DOES work in 99.9999% of all cases ... but I'm certain you can find an really good excuse to be in that 0.0001% of the "Special" people ... )"
The problem is the manager who has managed to produce a Word document which Word allows but which breaks every rule of sane layout and typography, and the helots have to do something with it. Probably even the previous generation of Word won't render it properly, let alone a different office suite.
As that's the intended effect, it's a feature not a bug.
In Brazil, this event is aptly nicknamed Black Fraud day.
Every item that cost 200.00 the week before now has a sale sign "From 500 to 250".
To top it off it doesn't apply JUST to Electronics. Oh no. Supermarkets. Soft drinks. Beer. In stacks that defy gravity and the safety of customers should they collapse. As if I needed a discount to buy Pilsen, Lager or Coca-Cola in large quantities.
Apparently black ballons were on sale too, because they were used for decoration. It looked like a birthday party for Goth children, with mostly black clothing, black nails to match, and purple hair. A complete mockery of what it should have been.
I was going to buy Heineken regardless, not included in the event ---> icon
Don't be silly. Pájaro, translated literally, means bird. The word for wanker in Spain is gilipollas; in much of Latin America it is el pendejo (for boys) or la pendeja (for girls).
Now, colloquialisms and slang can make pretty much any word mean pretty much anything ... and there are a lot of colloquial versions of Spanish around the world.
It's like the old urban myth of the Nova / no-go, which was renamed in South America. (Spain used the Opel Corsa name like the rest of Europe).
Or the actual case of the Toyota MR2, which didn't go down well in French (Merdeux) and was renamed MR-S.
And the Citroen Evasion which was renamed Synergie in the UK, as 'Evasion' tends to mean 'Getting away *with* it' all rather than *from* it all.
The paving slab laptop doesn't sound too bad. Build quality and serviceablity we'll never see again in the name of shaving a few more microns off the thickness.
On other fronts - I was looking for a box to build a new MythTV system. Oh, look here's one in $PopularVendor's list on Black Friday offer. It's the one that takes a full height* optical drive. The options for slim-line and slot-loading are full price. Are they trying to shift old stock.
*For pedants - yes I too remember when that size was called half height. If I put my mind to it I can probably find an original full height, i.e. the same as and 8" drive, 5 3/4" floppy drive in the garage.
I decided at last to get a 1TB £117 SSD on black Friday. Made an order and it was accepted by the usual big retailer. Shortly after I was informed that delivery would be from end of Dec to Feb. Not really miffed since it was for me, not a Christmas present for someone else (the bill would then come much later). Also I had been looking on Currys site at Dyson vacs, but even 10% discount was not enough to tempt me. Next day my web viewing was showing ads from Dyson Direct. Among the offers was an older version (V6) at £180, which I took. How did a Currys view generate a Dyson Direct advert?
My opinion is that older stuff can be better than newer, since manufacturers' research is often directed at product cost cutting rather than improvement. Mr Dyson may be the exception, but improvements are often just tiny increments and not worth the price hike (eg Intel). The gadget Show recently compared old with new and a 12 year old secondhand sound system soundly beat a new one at a higher price. I rest my case.
"My opinion is that older stuff can be better than newer, [...]"
My old dishwasher was advise as uneconomical to repair. The modern one - as advertised - is much quieter. Unfortunately many dishes now need hand washing before a (hopefully) sterilising machine wash.
Ditto the old clothes washing machine. The new one has a special device to stop inlet water leakage into the drum between washes. The old one never had that problem - the new one is often half full of water that has to be emptied before it can be used. To rub salt in the wound the new one is a cold feed only - so cannot use the more economic source of hot water via the gas boiler.
A few years ago one of my colleagues, visiting from the Netherlands but very familiar with this country, said that he was walking along a London street and stopped for a minute to look at an interesting building, considering taking a photo of it. Almost immediately a queue formed behind him, assuming that he was at the front of a queue for some reason.
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