Has anybody else had one of these, possibly dodgy, texts?
This is the second one I’ve received now. After the first I replied “Wrong number” and got a “Sorry” back, but the guy is persistent.
Something smells fishy. Note the supposed pick-up date, which is last Thursday, three days before the text was received.
United Energy is a distributor, not a retailer — many people in Melbourne’s south-east are connected via them, even if another company is the one sending them the bills.
Of course, it could just be a wrong number plus poor record-keeping. The number of emails I get for someone, who apparently shares my name but has no idea of their own email address, is amazing.
I was thinking of using my Commonwealth Bank credit card points to get myself an iPad, or an iPad Mini. After much consultation and trying them out, I thought I’d go for the Mini, which I have about enough points for.
There’s a catch — ordering stuff from points can take quite a while for delivery.
And, as I discovered, it can be cheaper to use the points to get money back or gift cards.
For an iPad Mini, 16 Gb, Wifi only:
- Target: $359. You could get $350 in Target gift cards using 59,300 points (169 points per cent), thus spending only $9 in cash and still having 27,200 points left. Or you could get $500 in gift cards for 82,000 points (164 points per cent), having $141 left.
- Myer: $369. $350 in Myer gift cards would use up 61,200 points (174 points per dollar). Add $19 cash and as above, plenty of points left over.
- JB Hifi: $356. Using the points cash back, this would use up 71,200 points (200 points per dollar)… but has the advantage that if you can afford to temporarily be without the money, you can get the knick-knack straight away.
- CBA Award Points: 86,500 (based on RRP this is 234 points per dollar; some 43% more than via Target gift cards)
It’s only one example of course, but the lesson here is to not blindly use your points to get stuff — check if it’s better to cash in the points for money or vouchers and then buy your gizmo.
I haven’t actually bought my Mini yet — still decided which purchase route to go down.
In one lunchtime walk yesterday, I saw both the past and future of retail.
“As seen on TV.” Seriously, they still use this tagline to hook people in? Does it still work? It’s never the name-brand products which used this — always the slightly dodgy ones. I walked past this display twice, and saw nobody actually looking. Perhaps they do when there’s a shouty person with a microphone spruiking it.
I don’t read The Age in paper form everyday, but when I do, it’s either on the weekend where I can spread out as much as I like (so broadsheet is fine, though the smaller format of the supplements is fine too), or on weekdays on the train, where the broadsheet format is extremely awkward to handle.
Many of us will know the feeling — we’ve managed to find a nook on the train where we can unfold the paper without hitting other people with it, struggled just to turn the page without it inadvertently folding in on itself, and finally got to the new page only to find it’s a bloody double-spread of adverts for Dan Murphy’s or some other booze outlet we have no interest in reading.
It may be seen by some teary nostalgics as the end of an era, but I for one welcome the new compact tabloid format.
Mind you, as Jonathan Green writes in this interesting article, it may just forestalls the inevitable continuing decline of paper sales.
It does sound like some kind of paywall will go up around the web site, too. It’s unclear how well that’s worked for News Limited papers such as the Herald Sun, given there are easy ways of circumventing much of it.
I also wonder what on earth Fairfax were thinking when they built The Age’s Tullamarine printing plant, now set to close within a year or two, but which only opened ten years ago at a cost of $220 million — all set up with highly expensive printing presses to print broadsheets. Did really nobody see coming the decline of classified ad revenue, and thus big fat broadsheet newspapers?
We upgraded the kids’ beds to King Single… because they’re both getting big.
Unfortunately the place I bought the excellent old bunk beds years ago (“Chunky Pine Bunks”) seems to have closed down… a real shame because all I wanted was fairly plain, but really sturdy beds.
I hunted around and eventually found these:
Good price, looked sturdy. I went in and checked them out in person, and they looked okay, so ordered them.
When they arrived, I noted that unlike the advertisement above which implies they are made in NZ, they are actually made in China.
I’ve got no problem with the quality of them; so far they’ve been fine. And frankly, the price was right.
But I’m not sure how I feel about the advertising implying they’re made in NZ, when they’re not.
Of course it’s possible that the wood originates in NZ but is shipped to China for construction. Or perhaps it’s some type of wood that is known as New Zealand Pine?
Oh well. Just one of those things I suppose.
I guess the message here is that if the country of origin is important, be sure to ask — don’t trust the advertising, especially if it’s a bit vague.
If you improve a product, and want it to sell well, you need to make people aware of it.
When they launched trains every 10 minutes between the City and Ringwood, Dandenong and Frankston last year on weekends, there was an initial bit of publicity via the media, but very little else.
Metro did some advertising via MX and billboards which was incredibly vague:
Witty? Perhaps. But what does it tell you? It could mean anything. And it implies the boost is on Sundays only.
Even now, while the excellent Dumb Ways To Die campaign has gained a lot of awareness, as far as other promotion goes, they’ve reverted to non-specific advertising:
It might build brand awareness, and hint at the idea that people should consider PT for travel everyday, not just to and from work/school, but does nothing to tell you that, actually, weekend train services are better than they’ve ever been — and let’s face it, that’s what’s going to get people on board.
While those who know have started using ten minute trains more (and loving it), and it’s relieved the crowding, a lot of people are completely unaware that Melbourne’s three busiest rail lines have such a frequent weekend service.
The problem was brought home to me a couple of years ago (before the latest upgrade) when my stepfather said that he wished they’d improve Sunday (daytime) train timetables from running every 40 minutes. In reality on his line they haven’t run every 40 minutes since 1996. In that year they changed to every 30, then to every 20 in 1999. He had been thoroughly discouraged from using trains on Sundays many years ago, and hadn’t heard they’d improved.
Many people are also unaware that you’ll pay a maximum of $3.50 per day on weekends and public holidays to travel anywhere around Melbourne.
There are good examples in the not too distant past of targeted, clear promotion that gets the message across. Here’s a local newspaper advert from 1992:
With Melbourne’ CBD booming on weekends, and inner-city traffic and parking often causing hassles, fast frequent trains have real potential to help people get around Melbourne.
Not every line runs frequently, but if we’re going to see that happen, the ones that do need to be successful. Proper, clear promotion is vital to help make it so.
- Some operators DO know how to advertise frequent services
- Pondering: Why aren’t MetroTrains promoting the hell out of their ten minute services?
- Preaching to the converted — train advertising to existing users, and how patronage is expected to double in ten years
The key difference seems to be that the JB Hifi people know how to set up their TVs.
The Big W people don’t know, or don’t care, that on almost all of the TVs they have on display, the colour is completely distorted.
If you can’t see a display product working properly, why would you buy it there?
Apparently these are some of the few still working cash railways in Victoria. They were common in medium to larger shops early last century, as a way for money to be relayed to a central cashier, and change sent back.
For more on cash railways, check the Cash Railway web site.
- Completely unrelated: The Age has an article today about new Myki gates being no faster than the hybrid Metcard/Myki “frankenbarriers” they replaced. This is based on this great blog post from earlier in the week by Marcus Wong. Well worth a read.