Saturday, February 10, 2007

Rip off or fair over charging ?

Not for the first time replica football shirts have been in the news this week.

First in the firing line was the new England football kit, released earlier this week to a resounding "it looks like last years" it was later announced that it would only be sold through "approved outlets" meaning of course that the retail cost was not open to competitive pricing.

This brought howls of anguish from the likes of Wallmart Asda who would normally have stocked the new England kit, and sold them in their thousands - last year they managed to get their hands on 22000 officially authorised replica shirts via "grey" imports and they sold them within hours at £22 each instead of the £40 that the punters invariably pay to the likes of JJB and a few other "carefully selected", so-called "sports" outlets.

Asda have not been slow in coming forward and complaining bitterly in the press that the restriction of trade is ripping supporters off to the tune of almost twice the price, but do the supporters care ?

JJB will not have any trouble in shifting their stocks of the new England shirt (thats not it above by the way, images of the new shirt are suprisingly absent in the media at the moment) at £40 a throw and if the fools, erm, customers, are prepared to pay that for what is nothing more sophisticated than a plastic derived fabric with a badge sewn on it that shows the rest of the world that your wardrobe lacks any form of sophistication whatsoever, then its your £40 to fritter away on whatever you desire.

In a court case this week, Which?, the mouthpiece of the Consumers Association has commenced court proceedings against JJB and six other "sports retailers" in an attempt to win compensation for up to one million consumers who bought England and Manchester Utd replica shirts from them between Apr 2000 and Aug 2001 after the so called "sports retaillers" were found guilty in court of fixing the price of such shirts, if succesful the companies could face compensation claims of several million pounds from punters who, quite honestly, have had the benefit of six years worth wearing the plasticised crap - to be honest they'd be more successful in sueing for the return of their dignity and dress sense, arguing that JJB made them dress like, and do the shopping looking like, chavs and pikeys.

JJB's only response thus far has been that if they lose the test case then compensation claims would be considered where consumers could provide proof of purchase, so thats only the geeks who keep all of their receipts for six or seven years then - what a marvellous use of our court system.

You may have guessed that I'm not a fan of the replica shirt phenominum that grips this country in a permenant frenzy of "must have" nylon clothing. I last wore nylon sometime back in the 1960's when the consensus of opinion was that it was uncomfortable and promoted excessive sweating, especially in the summer, when a haze of bacterial odour hung over most towns and cities and their assorted bri-nylon clad residents.

Manfacturers of course are quick to point out that todays "modern" materials are not bri-nylon at all but "modern materials" which "breath" and "wick away" body fluids and other such crap - if it feels like nylon then it is nylon and to be perfectly honest the evidence on the ground is proof enough that when standing behind any random England shirt wearing, shaven headed, tattoed, lardarse (and thats just the women) in any random supermarket queue, then the anti-sweat capabilities of such attire is sorely tested and proven to failure.

£40 for a bri-nylon shirt ?

You're having a laugh aren't you ?

Start looking for your receipts England and Man Utd fans, JJB are going down if you can find them...

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