The Money Shot – 27th January 2012

Covered mag, presented by
  • | by Kristian Dando


Legend has it that Scottish folk hero Robert the Bruce, on the run from the dastardly English, hid in a cave somewhere on the coast of Ireland sometime in the fourteenth century. Whilst in there – presumably, damp, cold and a bit fed up – he observed a spider spinning a web, trying to get from one part of the cave to the other. The spider constantly failed to achieve its aim, but persisted nonetheless, until it finally got where it wanted to. Thus, our Robbie was taught the important lesson that if at first you don’t succeed, try again.

It’s a noble motto to live by, and one in which Robert the Bruce called upon to inflict some notable victories over his English enemies, but sometimes, you’ve just got to know when to cut your losses.Take the example of an unnamed 28-year old learner driver from Leicester who has failed his theory exam 92 times, spending £3,000 in the process.

His unenviable track record was revealed thanks to a Freedom of Information Act this week. Meanwhile, the same Freedom of Information request also revealed that a 46-year old man from Wigstone has failed his practical exam a morale-sapping 21 times. Although, in this case, The Money Shot isn’t well placed to comment – the memory of the hot tears of shame that streamed down our face when turning up to our local college quadrangle and informing jeering fellow students of the news that we’d failed for the third consecutive time is all too fresh in the memory, nearly eleven years on.

We’re all for persistence at Gocompare Heights, but with these cases, resigning themselves to a life spent on the buses might be the best – not to mention cheapest – course of action.

Quote of the week

"I find the comments that people are 'sad' who've bought stuff in the January sales for Xmas 2012 sad. It’s good planning and saves money."

Martin Lewis, the reclusive and shy Money Saving Expert, advocates starting our Christmas shopping for 2012 now, just as we’re wrestling with the misery of packing up the tree and adjusting to a an even-more-austere-than-usual January. Too soon, Martin….too soon.

Tracks entertainment

Insurance ‘heads’ will testify that adding a tracking device to your car can reduce your annual premium, as it allows the precious vehicle to be located easily in the event of thieves making off with it. Well, one driver who had cause to thank their lucky stars that he had a tracker system installed this week was camp TV funnyman Graham Norton, who had his black Lexus RX pilfered by ne’er do wells who’d broken into his London home.

After issuing an impassioned plea over Facebook and Twitter to locate it’s whereabouts, the vehicle was eventually found in the Wandsworth area, thanks to the onboard location gizmo. A relieved Norton said: "I was surprised and delighted that my car was recovered so quickly," he said. "I thought we might have foiled the thieves through the power of Twitter, but luckily with the Tracker device, we rescued my car from the hands of the thieves.”

News in brief

Some data security indiscretions with your kedgeree, ma’am? The Queen’s favourite grocer, Fortnum & Mason of London, was in hot water this week after saying that it would only refund a customer’s undelivered Christmas hamper if they sent their credit card details over email – a practice prohibited by UK data security standards.

If you’re looking to buy a house, you’ll have to pay £600 extra in mortgage fees than last year.

Bah! A closure of a big British refinery means that filling up is going to get a lot more expensive. Yes, even more expensive than it is now.

Pension providers have come ‘under fire’ for hidden fees. Presumably, they haven’t actually been shot at, as that would be illegal and ultimately counterproductive.

A man in Leicester was arrested after being caught in the reckless and dangerous (but nonetheless logistically impressive) act of driving with 11 (ELEVEN!) passengers in his modest Audi A4 saloon.

On News this week…

Dad-of-three Keith Kendrick showed us a few ways of making your kids financially savvy. We were particularly impressed at the not-at-all-cruel practice of sending his youngsters into Toys-R-Us with a fiver each, and letting them see how far it gets them. (Clue: not very)

Co-operative Energy announced that it would foot the bill of the 10,000 customers who want to switch from a fixed rate plan to their service. 

The annual AA Insurance Premium Index revealed that car insurance prices were to be slashed across the board by 75 per cent, and that drivers would be eligible for further discounts if they could retro-fit their cars to run on unicorn dung. Only joking – predictably, it warned of a 15 per cent rise in the cost of car insurance. Of course, if you shopped around for your car insurance, you might be able to beat the hikes... (Hint, hint)

And finally…

Spare a thought for hardcore 'Trekkie' Tony Alleyene, 58. He's spent £100,000 making his modest one-bedroom flat in Hinckley, Leicestershire look like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. But he must now undo his life’s work as his ex-wife, who owns the property, wants to sell it. His ex-squeeze Georgina sensibly said: "I want to sell it as conventional property." At least Tony will still have his memories to Klingon to.

Join us again next week for another riveting installment of THE MONEY SHOT. In the meantime, email the editor with your letters and views.