Boxfresh urban myth!

Here's a brand spanking new, straight out of the box urban myth for you - courtesy of your friendly neighbourhood churnalists at our national tabloids. I first saw it in the Sun, but it has been picked up by the Mail as well.

Apparently, a Sarf Londoner called directory enquiries and ordered a 'cab innit' and got delivered a cabinet! How hilarious is that?! It cost her a hundred and eighty quid! That's priceless!

Except no.

The girl isn't named and neither is the directory enquiries company, but funnily enough the cabinet company gets two mentions in the Sun and three in the Daily Mail. Blimey, that's handy for the company's marketing director Steve Whittle, who must dream of getting free national coverage in two of the country's best selling tabloids. He even gets quoted in both of them. He must be cock-a-hoop, let me tell you.

Here's what we're expected to believe:

  • Someone phoned a directory enquiries number for a cab and was stupid enough not to drop the slang and only asked for a Joe Baxi and then a cab innit, without once ever dropping the 'innit' or using the word 'taxi'.

  • She managed to order the cabinet without confusing the operator with references to going to Bristol, or being taken to the airport.

  • The nearest firm to her non-specific area of South London home that sells cabinets is in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire - outside London, to the north of the city. There are no cabinet sellers in the entire capital.

  • The cheapest cabinet the company sold is £180. The cheapest cabinet on there is £169 before VAT. It comes to £207.92 including VAT and next day delivery.

  • There was no confusion as the salesperson at the other end of the phone talked the woman through the different colours of cabinet she could have.

This is a bit like how an employment law firm managed to score a super marketing goal with a shonky study that said three quarters of companies had banned Christmas decorations because of offending people.

The papers get what they want, the company gets a bit of free publicity. This time the papers get a story about a lower class teenager being stupid and using slang coming a cropper, with a massive pun built in for their readers to laugh at. The cabinet company gets free national coverage.

God, I'm such a sodding killjoy. It's only a bit of fluff.


Chris said...

Whether you're a killjoy or not is debatable but your points are quite valid.

Whether this story is complete rubbish or not I can't be sure, but it's the way it's presented which is important.

It defies, ahem, common sense in all the points you made (plus you might ask why she was off to Bristol airport when she was in London).

Even if this story is true, it shows just how vague and sloppy the "journalists" writing it are.
They can't do a good job of a silly non-story yet we're expected to believe them on serious issues relating to the whole country.

septicisle said...

Obvious piece of churnalism that I should imagine would delight Nick Davies.

PC Plastic Fuzz said...

Well spotted!

Stupid Newspapers. Someones getting a backhander.

eric the fish said...

I thought it was complete bollox but it's sometimes difficult to decide these days.

The point about free publicity is spot on; easy adverts for the abfab-journo pact.

I used to mock the local free sheets for blatant 'this ***** restaurant is the best in the district with succulent/ample/generous portions, notwithstandind the adjacent ad from this very boutique.'

They need the money (ahem....cos all not owned by big publishers at all, )

No excuse for the nationals.

Martin said...

Also, there's too much information -- how did the original writer of the story know the girl had first asked for a 'Joe Baxi'? Or are we to believe that the saleswoman at Displaysense had a long conversation with the directories enquiry person in which the latter provided a detailed report of the original enquiry? Why would they do that -- they aren't paid to have long conversations! Also, the date is iffy -- too close to April 1 for my liking.