For the last two months we’ve been spreading love almost willy-nilly. As Edgar Allan Poe put it “We loved with a love that was more than love.” But now we have decided to give our love focus. So during this, the first month of 2013, we are going to turn our attention to four groups of people who, in 2012, did not always receive the love that they probably deserved. Each weekend in January we will be offering a different select group a 10% discount off full price wines (including sparkling and fortified wines) in any Oddbins shop. The first weekend will put Mums in the spotlight, followed by the journalists and bankers in the second, the much maligned Germans in the third and, bringing up the rear for that final weekend in January, those flame-haired marvels: the gingers. If anybody manages to pick up the discount every weekend and can prove it by way of receipts, they may be in line for some bonus extra loving…
MOTHERS: Friday 4 – Sunday 6 January 2013
Before you get angry, we’re not talking about Yo Momma, we’re talking about all Mommas. Mums generally have it rough. We aren’t saying that Dads don’t pull their weight, but we think it’s fair to say that Mums shoulder an uneven proportion of the burden during the year and particularly over the festive period. They’ve been run ragged by the family; shopping, cooking, wrapping, cleaning, transporting and planning. Now the sales have started (how quickly those presents have been forgotten) and the kids aren’t back to school yet; things haven’t let up in the slightest.
As if being underappreciated by the family isn’t enough, the government is putting the boot in too. The “cap” on maternity and paternity pay is just an innovative use of a three letter word beginning with “c”, which sounds different but still means “cut”. With inflation almost tripling the capped figure, the net result is that Mums and their families will be even worse off in 2013. On top of which, on Monday the government will be removing or reducing child benefit for approximately 15% of families. Now we aren’t going to get into a debate on whether this is fair or unfair; the simple fact is that nobody wants to have £1,000s taken away from them and be labelled a “scrounger” by out of touch politicians as it happens. Why can’t our politicians provide a childcare system that doesn’t strong-arm a hugely important part of the country's workforce into making a choice between their career and children? And don’t get us started on increasing university tuition fees, which are preventing many Mums being able to afford to offer their kids the same opportunities they were given, or the nappy shortage scare…
Here at Oddbins, we would like to stand up for Mums across this great nation and give something back. We’d like to say thank you, Mums: without you none of us would be here. So, from Friday 4 – Sunday 6 January, Mums can have 10% off full price wines (including fizz and fortified wines) in any Oddbins shop.*
How you choose to prove that you are a Mother, we will leave up to you: toys in the handbag, baby sick on your shoulder, a bag of new school uniforms, a post on Mumsnet, a grumpy teenager in the back of the car or a menacing letter from the government. We hope this year the country appreciates you more, because we love you, Mums.
BANKERS & JOURNALISTS: Friday 11 – Sunday 13 January 2013
2012 ignited a fire beneath bankers and journalists, fuelled by crises, allegations and scandals, which looked set to engulf both groups. The embers are still glowing voraciously as 2013 opens for business. We don’t want to rake over the coals of Libor rate-rigging, phone hacking, money laundering, inaccurate reporting, enormous payoffs, etc. Oops! We just did. We promise we didn’t mean to go all Vince Cable on you. What we would like to do is draw a line under all this. Some bankers and journalists have misbehaved, but the majority should not be blamed for the actions of a minority. This country needs these guys.
Finance became the UK’s most important sector after successive governments decimated the industrial base of our country. We rely on it every day and our economy is literally “banking” on all those who work in it not upping sticks and moving to Switzerland. A “banker” is an individual who is engaged in the business of banking. Last year the word has become a derogatory term used to refer to only a select group of rogue investment bankers. However, every time we chastise “bankers” for the financial crisis, how must this make tellers, analysts, loan officers et al feel? They have done nothing to deserve this derision, but it must affect the morale of the whole group. And why do we revel in bad news and ignore good things that banks do, like HSBC’s ground-breaking programme to educate primary schools students on personal finance, RBS offering charity donation services through their ATMs, Barclays’ Community Sports Awards, Mr Banks of Dawes Tomes Mousley Grubbs Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’s U-turn on votes for women in Mary Poppins, etc.
Similarly, not all journalists are listening in on our telephone conversations or stalking the celebrities that sell their newspapers. Should we actually be looking more closely at ourselves? Why do we care what Sienna Miller and Hugh Grant are up to? And do we really want our politicians to control the only people who are able to hold them to account? What will be next in line to face regulation? Twitter? Blogs? Democracy? Besides, wasn’t it the free press that eventually dragged the phone hacking scandal into the light, where politicians and the law had failed to? On that note can we please leave Auntie alone? Yes the BBC has made some mistakes; most organisations of their magnitude probably have, but they are still a great institution, a credit to our nation, and no other broadcaster holds a candle to them. When politicians make mistakes, heads at the top rarely roll as they have at the Beeb; it is more often than not a civil servant further down the line that catches the brunt of the flak. How many ministers resigned over the West Coast Mainline franchise debacle?
Here at Oddbins we’re calling for a little clemency. Maybe the more love the UK gives the press and bankers, the more they will give back. So, from Friday 11 – Sunday 13 January, journalists and bankers can have 10% off full price wines (including fizz and fortified wines) in any Oddbins shop.*
Simply come down and show us your press card, office pass or business card and we’ll take care of the rest. Let’s leave 2012 behind us and give bankers and journalists the support they deserve.
GERMANS: Friday 18 – Sunday 20 January 2013
Germans. Why is everyone so mean to them? Studiously keeping their flat-pack-homed, forest-clad, industrious country immaculately clean, with their finances neatly in order, in accordance with the Micawber principle, “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery." And what do they get for all this careful, cautious behaviour, which has seen their economy blossom into Europe’s largest? They have to dole out money to other countries left, right and centre and they still somehow come out looking like the bad guys, for insisting that indebted countries adopt more prudent behaviour.
The Germans’ work ethic and technological superiority are legendary. They produce some of the world’s most underrated wines and yet, as a nation, we still prefer to source wines from halfway around the world. The Germans are the second largest consumer of beer per capita in the world, and yet their youth don’t run amok at weekends causing mayhem. They have taken what is thought to have been a Greek invention, the humble sausage, and promoted it to an art form. The French are lauded as Europe’s culinary kings, but they can’t make a cake like the Germans. They pre-empted the recession and reined things in while their neighbours, us included, were busy spending wantonly and as a result they haven’t been hit as hard. But it seems that, no matter what the Germans do, the rest of us just love to cast them as the panto villains. And we’re sorry to go all Basil Fawlty on you and mention the war, but isn't it time to put that behind us? Does China bring up opium whenever David Cameron visits?
Here at Oddbins, we say "No more should Germany be cast as the panto villain" (“Oh no you don’t”, you gasp. “Oh yes we do” we cry!). That’s right; we think it’s time Europe stopped giving Germany the finger and instead show some neighbourly love and extend a nice firm, efficient handshake instead. So, from Friday 18 – Sunday 20 January, Germans can have 10% off full price wines (including fizz and fortified wines) in any Oddbins shop.*
If you are German pop on down to an Oddbins near you and prove it by way of a passport or German Identity Card. Alternatively if you aren’t carrying those around with you, you may be asked to answer a few questions to prove your Teutonic descent.
GINGERS: Friday 25 – Sunday 27 January 2013
Gender. Race. Religion. Sexuality. Weight. OK, we’re not perfect in this county when it comes to persecution, but things are improving slowly. All except the final taboo: ginger hair. Last year was shaping up to be a good year for redheads, with sterling performances from Greg Rutherford, Damien Lewis, Christina Hendricks and Prince Harry. Tesco didn’t print an anti-ginger Christmas card. The University of California reported that ginger felines are preferred over their white, black and tabby counterparts because they are stereotypically more "friendly and loveable". However, all the good work was cancelled out by Lindsay Lohan’s downward spiral, customer Laura Payton’s abuse from a Halifax employee, Dundee man Max MacAskill being jailed for having red hair and Rebekah Brooks, who continued the work she started in 2011: Operation Convince the World Gingers are Not to be Trusted, which culminated in her £10.8m payoff. Oh yeah, and South Park-inspired Kick a Ginger Day enjoyed yet another outing.
Here at Oddbins, we say enough is enough. Variety is the spice of life. Vive la difference. So, from Friday 25 – Sunday 27 January, redheads can have 10% off full price wines (including fizz and fortified wines) in any Oddbins shop.*
We love your hair and think 2013 should be the year we all put this nonsense behind us. (TO)
*The above discounts are only applicable to full price wines. No futher discount will be applied to items already on special offer.