/ Health, Shopping

Your comments this week – shirts, smoking & pressure selling

Speech bubble

It’s Friday! That means one thing – it’s time to round-up your best comments. You’ve been debating plain cigarette packets, shirts in the workplace and whether pressure selling still pervades banking culture.

Bank staff under pressure

Have you ever felt pressured by your bank to buy a product or service? Commenter SB has:

‘On a recent trip to my RBS branch to pay in a cheque, the (very pleasant) girl behind the desk was trying to tell me how “great” offset mortgages are. When I told her I knew all about them, understood them, and wasn’t interested, she continued pressing me to meet an advisor. When I started to get irritated, and explained to her in detail why I don’t think they are good idea for me personally, she said “I think you know more about offset mortgages than I do”. In my experience, the banks clearly haven’t changed their ways.’

Would you chicken out of airline fast food?

John Ward isn’t impressed by short-haul airline food:

‘I prefer to stoke up in advance so that I can eschew the unchewable food they dole out on European flights. I’ve never yet had an airline meal that I thought was satisfactory. Most people can keep going for three or four hours without eating or drinking; moreover, it reduces the necessity to clamber down the plane to use the poky toilets. For long-haul flights there is a need for a decent serving of something toothsome but a snacky thing and a well-made sandwich would be good enough for me. I think the whole food and drink palaver on planes is more about keeping the cabin crew occupied than about fulfilling customers’ desires.’

Richardlondon would pass up on the KFC offered by Japan Airlines:

‘All I need to know is; can I pay for an upgrade and get a Pret A Manger meal instead?’

Will branded cigarette packets go up in smoke?

Branding is being banished from cigarette packets in Australia. Richard F thinks it’s about time UK followed suit:

‘Cigarette packets are the last piece of advertising the industry have readily available, if branding had no impact the industry would not spend millions on new packaging and designs, standardised packaging ensures that the health warnings are prominent and take away any “glamour” from this highly dangerous product.’

Nick L agrees and thinks we should underestimate the power of branding:

‘I doubt this is about smokers, but more about prevention. Everything known about the psychology of brands by large manufacturers shows how important the brand is above all.

‘The argument of the tobacco companies that brands don’t make smoking more attractive does not hold water. Imagine how daft it would sound if Lego or Fisher Price claimed the boxes on their toys don’t attract kids?’

Has the shirt had its day?

Norman Grant thinks workers should wear shirts and ties at work:

‘It is probably wrong, but I associate casual dress with a casual approach to work. When I meet people professionally I want their first impression to be that of someone who takes their job seriously and will offer a professional service. I wear a shirt and tie for work. It is important the people have confidence in me as a professional.’

Use your loaf: do we really need 60-day bread?

Par Allieurs isn’t hungry for mould-free bread lasting for 60 days:

‘Yuk! Why would you want it? Buy fresh bread, freeze some, (assuming you have a freezer) then in descending order at this house: eat it fresh, toast it, make bread and butter pudding, bread pudding (deliciously old school), put it in your soup and finally the chickens will eat any last bits. Sorted.

‘Don’t store it in the fridge as oddly enough it goes stale quicker that way. Keep it slightly cool with some air flow available and you’ll be amazed.’

The pear necessities: why doesn’t my fruit ripen at home?

Malcolm R is almost always disappointed by unripe avocados:

‘I have a picture illustrating “The seven stages of the avocado” – not ripe, not ripe, not ripe, not ripe, not ripe, not ripe, bad. There is some truth in this, and there is a lot of disappointment when looking forward to eating one to find it hard and tasteless.’

Gill W, who gets our Comment of the Week, shares the ripening processes producers put fruit ‘n’ veg through:

‘I’ve long assumed that supermarkets/importers are simply not undertaking all the processes necessary to ripen fruit. If fruit is picked before it’s ripe, so that it doesn’t rot during transportation, it’s supposed to be put through various processes to finish the job that would normally happen on the tree. These are not processes that you can carry out at home. You can, with some fruits, induce artificial ripening. You can ripen unripe tomatoes by putting them in a brown paper bag with a ripe apple (an old end-of-season gardening trick). But you have to know what to do and supermarkets don’t tell you when they sell fruit for “ripening at home”.’

Comments have been edited due to length, so make sure to read them in full on their relevant Convos (by clicking on the red title link).


If you sell all cigarettes in plain wrappers how are customs officers going to detect the fake imports, mostly from China? From TV watchdog type programmes I notice that they rely partly on mistakes on the packaging .