Darth Vader revealed to be on new plinth at Trafalgar Square

Passers by were stunned today to find Luke Skywalker’s dad perched on one of the famous plinths in London’s Trafalgar Square.

The Chosen One was chosen to be the one to adorn the fourth plinth by an unknown force, although rumours of involvement by Jedi overlords at The Arts Council are as yet unconfirmed.

More on this as we get it.

‘People buy from people’ only true if salespeople give people a massive discount

Sales consultants have spoken out against customers who insist on massive discounts because they’ve seen consumer advice programs on TV telling them how to.

Sales Consultant Carys Glenn says, “We have to almost bankrupt ourselves in order to pander to the petty demands of some pinched-faced little tosser who think the world owes them a living.  These people go from us, to our competitor, and back to us again, demanding a bigger discount each time until someone refuses to go any lower on price. We either lose the sale, or win it at a price that’s not even worth coming to work for.  So everyone loses out, except the customer. The bastard.”  She continues, “Our Sales Manager tries to tell us that people buy from people, so if we didn’t win the sale, it’s because our customer service wasn’t good enough. This is bollocks. It’s because someone else gave a bigger discount.”

Sales Manager Finn Winstanley told us that sales staff should stop moaning about low commissions and struggling to pay their rent, and concentrate on the customer journey instead.  “You’d be amazed how leaping up and bellowing ‘How can I help you today’ at someone as soon as they walk in the door will make them buy from you rather than your competitor.  Bombard them with some probing questions they don’t feel comfortable answering about what they’re looking for and the sale is as good as yours.  There’s no need to offer a discount.”

However, Carys has some advice for Sales Consultants.  “Customers never behave the way you’re told they will during your sales training.  Don’t bother telling them your brand values because they really don’t give a shit.  Just let them grind you down until you cave in and give them a massive discount and you’ll win the sale.  You might not get any commission, but at least you’ll keep your job.  Congratulations.”

Bags of dog shit in trees boost house prices, say estate agents

The sight of small plastic bags bulging with canine faecal matter swinging gently in a tree is familiar in London.  Dog owners across the capital have honed the technique of scooping up a turd in a little bag and tying a knot in the handles and then, rather than following the next logical step of finding a bin, hanging it in a tree as one would a Christmas bauble.

Normal people find this behaviour utterly disgusting, but estate agents say that trees full of shit are actually having the effect of boosting house prices.  Nathan Cherrystone of Cherrystone Estate Agents in Kitehaven explains.  “Prospective buyers who see an avenue of shitty trees are very impressed. They know it’s only wealthy middle-class dog owners who engage in this bizarre ritual, so it reflects well on the calibre of neighbours they could end up living amongst.”

The turd arbour on Darke Park has become a popular meeting place for local dog walkers.  Bluelands Council is yet to respond to a recent petition from non-dog owners to install special poo bins in the area, and Cherrystone suspects the council are bowing to pressure from nearby residents who are enjoying seeing the value of their properties rise.  “It’s good business for us so we’re not complaining.”

Pub waiters just f*cking with you, it has emerged

Waiting staff at local pubs get through the day mainly by fucking with the customers, new research shows.

The research, carried out over a decade and employing a mixed methodologies approach including surveys, semi-structured interviews and participant-observation, was published today in Bartenders and Publicans Monthly. A staggering 89% of pub wait staff admitted that their primary source of job satisfaction was fucking with the customers.

Tracey James, a waitress at a local pub in South London, was typical: “Our pub has a policy of not leaving cutlery or condiments on tables or at stations accessible to customers. We tell people this is to prevent waste, but actually we just do it for shits and giggles. It means that we can bring you your piping hot plate of food, place it ceremoniously in front of you, then leave you staring at it for 10 minutes while we disappear to get you cutlery or a miniscule ramekin of ketchup. By the time we have returned from our fag break with the essential missing items, your food will be stone cold. The look of confused disappointment takes the sting out of the tip-free minimum-wage shit-a-thon of our 12 hour shifts.”

Pub customer and self-proclaimed ‘urban survivalist’ Ray Smith said “Joke’s on them. I always carry a spork and a few sachets of mayo and mustard in my utility belt. You never know when you might get stranded between South Bermondsey and London Bridge and have to resort to cannibalism. Wouldn’t want to face that scenario without a choice of English and French mustard.”

Undercover report: boilers designed to break down in cold weather

It’s 11am on a freezing morning in early March 2018. I am undercover for The Bluelands Gazette, posing as a trainee heating engineer and accompanying a professional on his callouts. The weather app on my phone tells me it’s minus 3 degrees outside. Right now we are attending the home of an elderly lady whose boiler packed up last night.

“Where the fuck have you two layabouts been? I’m freezing my tits off”, exclaims the feisty OAP. My companion mutters something about the weather being really bad in case she hasn’t noticed, which is why we’re an hour late. We are led to the bathroom where a combi-boiler sits in the corner, lights flashing and mocking us with its guttural gurgle.

“So what’s happened, exactly?” asks the heating pro. Our customer looks mightily cheesed off. “It’s knackered, that’s what’s happened, and it was only put in 5 years ago. By you.”

Later, back in the van, my companion confides in me. “Boilers are are all well and good, but they aren’t designed to work when it’s really cold.” I express naive surprise. Surely the whole point of a boiler is to provide mankind with a way of not dying of hyperthermia in our own homes?

“No, no, no. Boilers have the built-in design feature of breaking down when it’s cold. It’s the same reason ice-making machines stop working in hot weather. Now get yourself back up there and chuck a cup of hot water over the condenser pipe. We can charge her a hundred quid for that.”