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Sunday, August 22, 2010

It is the silly season

Though obviously I would not class any of these stories as silly. It is just that any other time of the year they would not have so much prominence.

Thus, we have the story in The Telegraph from a few days ago, which reports that an advert for an amulet which promised 'divine protection' has been banned by advertising bosses because the firm behind it could not prove that angels will protect those who wear it:

The magazine advert, placed by The Circle of Raphael (CoR), promised that the 'seven angels amulet' would bring its owner 'angelic blessings, guidance and peace' - and bring them luck at 'games of chance' at the casino.

The talisman - the size of a 10p piece and which features an array of mystic symbols - is available in silver for £29 or nine carat gold for £120.

The advert promises the wearer they would be 'blessed with the gift of Angelic good fortune, guidance and divine protection from all real danger, both physical and spiritual'

It continued: "This incredible Angelic item has proved it can create fantastic results for its owners instantly.

"From the moment you receive it, you will have seven Angelic friends watching over and protecting your life."

It stated that by wearing the talisman 'numerous doors to opportunities and good fortune' will be 'flung open like magic' and the holder will be given the gift of 'inner peace and happiness' by 'lucky in love', have 'financial security', be protected from 'all acts of violence' and it would bestow 'good fortune in games of chance'

For some reason the Advertising Standards Authority were not convinced. They asked for documentary evidence that the amulet does what it claims to do but it was not forthcoming, so the advert was considered to be misleading.

Meanwhile, I was very taken with a piece detailing some of the questions that members of the public ask Council call centres:

In Northumberland, a German man went into the customer services reception area declaring he wanted political asylum. He refused to leave despite staff explaining that people who live in Europe are free to come and go as they please, and the police had to eventually be called.

A motorist who discovered her car was in a different parking spot when she returned from a shopping trip rang Sutton council to ask if the car park was haunted, while another resident enquired whether he could put a dead fox in his recycling bin.

One caller to Ceredigion council asked what time the dolphins in Cardigan Bay "start", while a caller to East Dorset district council's Tourist Information Centre demanded an explanation of the plot of 'She Stoops to Conquer'.

There is no doubt that public sector staff earn every penny of the pittance they are paid to deal with these sort of queries. It is a sobering fact that Council customer service centres handle more than 50 million calls each year, though only a very few are like this.
I'd imagine, though, that the call centre people enjoy these calls & they bring some relief to days spent dealing with people in desperate need of housing or housing repair who they can't properly help!
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