A very long time ago, I was planning on doing a comparison between Poundland and normal supermarkets (The ones that have variable prices on their products). I was fairly sure that apart from a few loss leaders, it was inevitable that you would end up spending more money in Poundland (or receiving less for your money) than you would elsewhere. Unfortunately, I never got round to doing it.
The good news is, that Channel 4 have done a dispatches documentary, hosted by Harry Wallop, about it, and I must say that they have done a much better job that I could have done with it. You can watch the documentary on 4OD here: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/dispatches/4od#3414037
I enjoyed watching the documentary, I felt it hit on the key points really well (Even ones that I hadn’t realized). And now for some spoilers! It explains how although Poundland does sell many big brands, it often sells products are are subtly different shapes and sizes to those found in most retailers – a bottle of cleaning spray for example might be a taller bottle than elsewhere, but it will probably be a smaller volume.
They also mention the cheeky marketing that is used, a large number of the products say “50% Extra Free” or something similar, to try and make you think that you are buying a special offer, even though there isn’t really any promotional reduction at all. It turns out however that there have been times when Poundland has downsized it’s offers (i.e. From “5+3″ to “4+3″) and ended up increasing the proportions of the saving (i.e “50% Extra Free” to “60% Extra Free”).
The show points out that Poundland hasn’t been so great at beating inflation as they might claim, over the years, they have reduced quite significantly the amount that they will sell you for £1. Multipacks of crisps have been halved and packs of biscuits have decreased substantially. They also performed a price comparison, but weren’t really as successful as I thought that they would be.
Phantom brands are mentioned, however in my opinion I don’t have as much of a problem with the clearly own brand look of the products that poundland sell. In fact I would quite like to see a documentary about ALDI and their very obvious plagiarism of leading brands.
One of the most worrying things that the documentary pointed out was the safety of the products. They found that one of the children’s toys that they were selling was quite a fire hazard!
I recommend anyone who likes Poundland watches the documentary, I hope it makes you think twice about shopping there. And anyone who doesn’t like Poundland should watch it too so they can feel smug about hating it for all these years!
Today I bought my first shares – I feel just like Bud Fox (I’m even wearing a blue shirt with a white collar)…
The title to this post is a little bit misleading because my stock is on the London Stock Exchange so has just about nothing at all to do with Wall Street. But nonetheless I am now an investor! I am a market trader, a stock market tycoon. Well maybe not… But I do have a few shares.
I did a little bit of searching around, and I think that I found the cheapest place in terms of Trade Fees; I was quite surprised at how much they tend to charge, if you (like me) only want to buy a small amount of stock then you really do need to make a lot of money on your investment to just break even; a lot more of a return than you would ever expect from say a Cash ISA. Of course having said that, and having watched the market a little bit for the last couple of days, I can really see how it is possible for day traders, dealing with totally offensive amounts of money, in incredibly high volumes of trades, to make a lot of money playing the tiny fluctuations in the market.
Today my shares did actually end up going down by a few percent, but I am not going to let that bother me. a) because I haven’t invested very much and b) because I have decided to play the long game and hope that my shares go up in the future when good news is announced – which I am fairly adamant it will be!
Hopefully my first shares will turn out well, and this will help me build up the confidence to create a more extensive Portfolio!
If anyone has any positive experience of the stock markets, please do share them with me! (I would rather not hear too many horror stories though )
Thanks for reading!
Recently there has been a lot of talk about the Apple vs. Samsung patents case. I must admit, I didn’t like that Apple were successful in suing Samsung, but I assumed that their reasons were justified. It can be seen pretty clearly by anyone that looks that a large number of fairly recent Samsung phones did draw a huge amount of influence from the iPhone. It is debatable as to how much an influence this had on Apple’s sales figures, but I don’t believe it is as large as Apple claims to fear it is.
However, today I stumbled across this article (recommended to me by LinkedIn actually) that claims to list six of the Apple patents broken by Samsung. Reading though it I couldn’t help but ask myself “how on Earth did Apple ever get these patents?” and also “If Apple own these patents why aren’t they prosecuting all phone manufacturers?”.
The first patent mentioned is tapping to zoom, apparently Apple invented this. Two things bug me about this, the first – surely this is intuitive in it’s nature (one of the main selling points of the iPhone) and thus doesn’t have that unintuitive step required for a patent, and secondly – All androids devices have this feature, why aren’t Apple going after google?
The second parent is bouncing at the end of a scroll list. This one I don’t understand how it is patentable but at least it does seem to be a feature that has been replaced in Android (as far as I know) with a glow effect.
The third patent is multi-touch, I have little to comment on this since I don’t know whether this patent is hardware or software. Although I was under the impression it was a concept pioneered by the creators of “The Minority Report”
Fourth is the shape of the iPhone – Now I don’t know how specific this is, but presumably to be a patent is has got to be pretty specific, and Samsung hasn’t really got much of a defence here with the Galaxy S2 looking just that little bit too similar to the iPhone 4.
Five seems to be the same as four, the shape of the phone except this time in black… I’m not certain why that’s a separate patent though (or if one can actually patent a design)…
The sixth and final point is the icons. While I don’t think a work of art (an icon) is patentable, Samsung have clearly drawn very heavy influences here. In my opinion, this is wrong – someone at Apple worked very hard to produce icons, and they shouldn’t have their work plagiarized. It is also something that Samsung have gone out of their way to do to as it is not a feature of Vanilla Android.
Overall I don’t really know where I stand, Apple have managed to get some pretty far-fetched patents, but then Samsung has clearly based their devices too closely on Apples.
As for the future, I really don’t know what’s going to happen. I would like to think that these legal disputes will help promote innovation, with Samsung and other phone manufacturers finding even better solutions to the problems that Apple holds the solutions to. To anyone who is reading this that has any opinion at all, please let me know in the comments below – your feedback is always appreciated!
I know I haven’t posted to this blog in quite a while, but I do come back every now and then to check for comments. The good news is, I get a lot, literally hundreds. The bad news is that they are all spam.
At first I couldn’t work out why I was getting so much spam, I have what I believe to be fairly strict security and captchas etc. enabled, yet I still seem to be getting loads of spam.
Then I noticed something – all of these unsolicited comments were coming from pings (trackbacks?). I don’t think that much of what I write is intellectual enough for someone to genuinely ping me, so I am fine just sending them all to spam. I don’t know what I would do if I was though…
This also made me wonder – how can people who run big blogs ever ensure that all of the comments aren’t just spam? Or maybe I am being targeted by something… Does anyone know what’s causing my problem?