/ Money, Travel & Leisure

This week in comments – Harry Potter and the Budget

It’s been a busy week for comments on Which? Convo. We’ve had debates on the Budget 2012, hard selling techniques by high street stores and shrinking products. But who gets our comment of the week?

The high street hard sell

Are you fed up with hard selling techniques in high street stores? Paul always goes prepared:

‘I always research information about the product(s) I want to purchase. This means that I am armed and ready to deal with the sales staff pushing products on me. Inevitably, I know more than the sales staff (thanks Which?), and I have to admit that I have probably already made my short-list before going in store.’

My wish – wean my son from his trust fund to a Junior Isa

Simon agrees that parents should be able to transfer child trust funds into Junior Isas:

‘How can we expect children to be inspired to save for their future (with help from parents initially) with these type of barriers in place? Outside of CTFs and Junior Isas, there are relatively few high interest children’s accounts.

‘For our children, we have a Halifax Regular Saver and a Lloyds Young Saver as these are the best accounts we can currently find… although it remains to be seen for how long they will remain market leaders before rates quietly drop.’

Has an advert ever made you rich? Didn’t think so…

William comments on the use of misleading stats in financial ads:

‘I find words like majority being used all too often. As in “the majority of our customers” when in fact it’s only likely to be 51%. Yes it might be grammatically correct, but why not say 51%? Maybe because 51% doesn’t seem to be that much really. Seems like they go out of their way to hide the true meaning of whatever they’re saying or selling.’

Budget 2012 winners and losers – what’s your verdict?

There was a mixed response to the government’s Budget this week, with M criticising the simplification of personal allowances:

‘Well if the government assault the elderly, rob them of their rights and steal their money, does this not signal to our young that it is OK for them to do the same? The ‘granny tax’ is a signal to all, it’s OK to pick on the elderly, they can’t fight back…’

However, John Ward doesn’t think it’s as bad as it sounds:

‘The Chancellor has probably not explained the changes to the age-related personal allowances sufficiently and the outcry about the implications for the rising 65s, and ultimately all pensioners, should have been predicted. I can see no moral justification for pensioners having a higher personal tax allowance than working people.’

What would you give up for the net? Chocolate, coffee… sex?

Commenter Em questions the reasons Brits might be willing to make sacrifices to get online:

‘All this survey has established is that 20% of the population don’t wash, half don’t exercise, and 25% don’t have opportunities for sex. Possibly as a direct result of spending too much time on the internet! […] The 20% who give up showering would probably have to forgo the sex, whether they want to or not!’

Harry Potter and the High Studio Tour Price

Is £28 too much for the Harry Potter studio tour? Gerard doesn’t think so:

‘A family ticket for Madame Tussauds is £108 or £97.20 booked online, so Harry Potter at £83 looks like the bargain of the century as well as being original! Given that one is permitted to take photographs of what ARE the original sets then a dedicated fan will struggle to get round in just a single day as they strive to take in every small piece of the never-ending depth of detail.’

But Ogeron thinks the price needs to come down:

‘£83 is major purchase territory for us. Fortunately, for most of these places there are countless two for one and similar offers around, and fingers crossed this will go the same way after the initial rush of die hard enthusiasts. I shall wait for it to be available on Tesco Clubcard!’

When pack sizes shrink why don’t their prices?

Spring-heeled Jim defends manufacturers shrinking products but keeping the price the same:

‘Manufacturers have faced incredible cost pressure in recent years – raw ingredients, packaging, energy, fuel, minimum wage increases etc – plus lots of pressure from an increasingly powerful retail customer base. A product that might have worked well ten years ago and generated a reasonable profit might now be making no money at all.

‘As a result, many manufacturers have a difficult choice to make: either increase prices, and face losing out to cheaper alternatives – or reduce pack volume and keep the price the same.’

But Danscot, who gets our comment of the week, disagrees:

‘Adapting to market forces is one thing but blatant attempts to hide changes to price per unit is, at best, underhand.

‘I well remember discovering as a 10-year-old the lengths a manufacturer is prepared to go to; I enjoyed a weekly treat of a packet of Opal Fruits, the stick type pack. One day, on opening the pack I found a gap between the wrapper end & the first sweet.

‘As it was the first time I had encountered this I showed my father who took the pack and pressed lightly on each end to produce a concertina effect! His explanation of the reality of packaging & tricks of the retail trade have stuck with me ever since – buyer beware indeed!’

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).