February 17, 2011

“There are millions of men taking my lead, and I have to take them to the promised land of sexy,” insisted multitalentless self-promoter P “Puff Daddy” Diddy aka Sean Combs aka Sean John launching his perfume Unforgiveable.

Not that Mr Diddy has a monopoly on toiletries with terrible names. Worthy mentions also go to David Beckham for Intimately Beckham, and Karim Samii for Destingerator “For the man who deserves everything he gets.”

But where exactly is Bankstone News going with all this talk of men’s fragrances, have we somehow strayed in the realm of the perfumed ponce? Well, yes and no, really.

All of the above is really just a convolutedly space-filling way of getting round to the bit where we reveal that this is actually a story about the outrageously inflated prices charged for run-of-the-mill products at motorway services stations.

What’s the connection? It goes like this: Speaking of Unforgiveable, that’s exactly the word What Car? Editor Steve Fouler used to describe Rip-Off Britain’s motorway shakedown shame: “It is unforgiveable for retailers to take advantage of motorists in such a brazen manner,” he sputtered apoplectically. “We suggest that all motorway users plan their journeys carefully and try to avoid using such greedy retailers as much as possible.”

Sound advice there, Mr Fouler! Because if you don’t plan carefully, you could end up paying 5.2% extra for fuel, 16% extra for not just a sandwich but an M&S sandwich or – brace yourself – 91% extra for a bottle of water from WH Swizz.

That’s more than it costs in Harvey Nichols, What Car? fulminates. Now, that reference might be lost on some motorway service station users – but not on Bankstone News. We’re in Harvey Nicks all the time, mostly browsing in the “male grooming” section.


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