There is a lot of pseudo-scientific rubbish being perpetrated during the commercial breaks on UK television at present (and I’m already collecting data for a piece about THAT) but I assume that most of it only manages to get past the Advertising Standards people because the substances mentioned are registered Trade Marks rather than actual chemical names.
I have, however, recently discovered a blatant example of demonstrably false advertising and would appreciate your advice on whether you think that I can or should take legal action.
To set the scene, my current contract involves me in a 25 mile each way trip from Peterborough to the town of Spalding in the Lincolnshire Fens.
The first 7 or 8 miles from home involve driving on Peterborough’s excellent network of dual carriageway “Parkways” (incidentally can anyone tell me why it is that in the UK we drive on a Parkway and park on a driveway?) before joining the A16 for the rest of the trip.
Now you might think from the letter “A” in that road name and the comparatively low number following it that this would be quite a major highway and, for this part of the world, indeed it is.
It is quite a new road (the old routing via Market Deeping has been renamed the A1175) built in the last 10 years or so and it runs in a reasonably straight line from Peterborough to the outskirts of Spalding before wending its merry way on to Boston and, ultimately, Grimsby.
It is a good quality piece of road but there are two things wrong with it.
Firstly, the Highways Agency, presumably in a bid to save money to waste on more important projects, caused it to be constructed as a single carriageway road (for non-UK readers that’s one lane in each direction). This means that if you want or need to overtake someone you have either to wait for a long gap in the oncoming traffic or take a chance on the amount of “oomph” your car engine has (not a lot in my case) to enable you to get back on the correct side of the road in time.
Secondly, some idiot government functionary (without asking the car driving electorate, of course) decided a few years back to impose a 40 mile per hour speed limit on Heavy Goods Vehicles when driving on anything less than a dual carriageway – that’s only two-thirds of the 60 mph that the vast majority of motorists are permitted to do but are seldom now able to achieve! A line or convoy of heavy trucks now becomes an enforced 40mph (maximum!) rolling roadblock.
And the problem with that is that there are an awful lot of food transport companies operating in and out of Spalding and, therefore, a LOT of heavy trucks using my route in both directions!
To be fair to the HGV drivers, many of the “freelance” drivers and large numbers of their Eastern European colleagues do seem to be able to feel the waves of hatred emanating from the queue of car drivers behind them and ignore the 40mph maximum and creep up to somewhere near our 60 mph limit.
Not so the ones employed directly by the major supermarkets and retail chains (notably Marks & Spencer) who stick religiously to a maximum of 40mph as if their job depended on it – which, for all I know, it may well do! These guys are completely immune to my powers of Mental Coercion and are therefore resistant to my efforts at willing them either to speed up, pull over, turn off or run into a ditch!
And it will probably not surprise you to learn that it was one of these corporate juggernauts that prompted my initial accusation of false advertising!
It was a 32 tonner ASDA Supermarkets lorry that I got stuck behind and it was doing just under 40mph – but it was the advertising slogan on the back doors that REALLY annoyed me!
Before I tell you what it said I should point out two things.
Firstly, 38mph is by no means the most economical speed for my car in terms of fuel consumption – the “miles left before re-fuelling” meter figure was dropping by 2 or 3 miles for every actual mile travelled!
Also, I do not now shop, and never have shopped, at ASDA!
So, please tell me exactly how there can be ANY truth at all in the offending slogan:
“ASDA – saving you money every day”!
If anything they are COSTING me money – so do I sue or not?