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Jesus probably doesn't want you for a sunbeam [14th July 2008|15:53]
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London people! Do you remember those christian bus ads a few weeks back? Not advertisements for christian buses, of course (though what fun that would be: Gideons sticking bibles to lumps of chewing gum under the seats; Oyster card readers scanning your faith instead of your credit; holy water in the windscreen wash; plenary indulgences for all who pass through the exit doors...). No, I mean the large chunks of scripture adorning the sides of some London buses, exhorting us all to accept some or other faintly menacing belief.

I don't know about you, but for a wide variety of reasons I find most religious messages irritating. However I strongly support religious people's right to irritate me in this way. It's what I get for believing in a tolerant, pluralist society.

In support of pluralism and tolerance - including everyone's freedom to express views that irritate others - I would be delighted to see a London bus with an ad saying something like:

There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and get on with your life.

Ariane Sherine wrote a short article for the Guardian's website advocating exactly that. I don't think she intended to do more than make a point, but a small campaign has developed, with someone called Jon Worth starting a PledgeBank page that could make the "atheist" bus ad a reality.

If it's worth £5 to you to see a slogan like that on the side of a bus, you can sign up to Jon's pledge. You can read all the background via the links in this post of Ariane's.

G'waan... you know you want to...
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: origamitiger
2008-07-14 14:56 (UTC)

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Can we push the god bothers and Jews for Jesus under the bus?
[User Picture]From: egadfly
2008-07-14 16:40 (UTC)

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I know some of them can be exasperating but I don't think bus-bashing people will do much to win the argument for a tolerant, pluralist society...
[User Picture]From: first_fallen
2008-07-14 15:05 (UTC)

Rofls!

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Yes, I do want to.
[User Picture]From: egadfly
2008-07-14 16:41 (UTC)

Re: Rofls!

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Then you should! If you did, I'd hunt down one of the buses and photograph it for you. (Or send you someone else's photo if I can't find the bus in the wild. No buses will be hurt in the making of this picture.)
[User Picture]From: tirinar
2008-07-14 17:51 (UTC)

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An inspired idea if ever there was one.

Jumping gleefully on this bandwagon...
[User Picture]From: egadfly
2008-07-15 07:16 (UTC)

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Welcome to the bandwagon :) It's rainbow coloured and red all over...
From: livingladolcevita.wordpress.com
2008-07-15 11:55 (UTC)

Mmm

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I'd be there if five quids didn't translate into roughly 80 bagillion ronds at the moment.

That appears to be a fundamental difference. Tolerant pluralists tend to have a sense of humour.
[User Picture]From: egadfly
2008-07-15 20:04 (UTC)

Re: Mmm

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Well, exactly. "By their lolz shall ye know them" - something like that, eh?
From: (Anonymous)
2008-07-15 13:23 (UTC)

Oh My God

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£23k for a fricking bus advert?!

pK.
[User Picture]From: egadfly
2008-07-15 20:27 (UTC)

Re: Oh My God

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Yeah, I was somewhat amazed by that too. I suppose it's why we don't see more ads for "The Whimsical Unsure Society for Something" or their ilk.

It's possible that the £23K is for a campaign (multiple buses)? I haven't checked this out in detail yet. Still. Apparently you can get a 2 week ad on a normal (non-bendy) bus for about £500, which seems more like it.
From: (Anonymous)
2008-07-15 15:12 (UTC)

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Not so interested in the side-of-bus advert, but off the top of my head...

In the interests of science, I think it may make rather a nice experiment to try the holy water thing. You know, switch to using 100% holy water: does it help keep the windscreens cleaner, the engine cooler, that sort of thing? The hypothesis would be something like, 'Holy water affects the day-to-day world', making the assumption that performance on public transport is a good proxy for wider influence (and given the importance of public transport to people's quality of life in a city like London, it's not a bad proxy).

Of course, you'd need to have a representative sample of suitably sanctified vehicles - say 150 buses per religion* - with the rest acting as a control group. You could then measure number of breakdowns/overheatings/dirty windscreens per thousand miles/kilometres driven and test for significant differences between the groups (holy/profane, and even between different religions). Might be fun.

XXiii


* 'Religion' being identified here as religious denomination that goes in for holy water; so (for example) Catholic and Orthodox buses would each form their own group (thus also nicely mirroring real life). And yes, before anyone starts whinging, I do know that not all holy water proponents claim unusual properties for their products.
[User Picture]From: egadfly
2008-07-15 20:39 (UTC)

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As long as there's no public funding whatsoever for testing the fairy-dust theory, I'm fine with that :)

On a different subject, a while back you mentioned the Supply of Goods & Services Act and the law wrt refunds for commercial pillage. When you have a moment, please have a read through Ariane's latest depressing summary of her Ikea horror. Have you any more specific info or links to suggest that you or I could mention to her in this regard? She's probably just relieved to be done with the bastards, but of course that's how they get away to abuse the next victim. If she chooses to poke them with a sharp legal stick, could pleasant squealing (and better compensation) be a possible result?
From: (Anonymous)
2008-07-15 21:42 (UTC)

info for Ariane

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I've read through the chronicle of awfulness. Sympathy and righteous smiting.

Ariane may well have a nicely-sharpened legal stick to poke IKEA with - possibly to the tune of a refund of the purchase price plus delivery fee.

Caveat: If she signed anything in order to get the small refund she has already been given, she'll probably be unable to get anything more.

The basic idea is to get as much information as possible in maximum detail, and to bung it in a letter to Da Boss. I suggest a tone of sorrow, with suggestions for improvement: you're doing them a service, really. It's a Good Thing that Ariane has written material from IKEA, including a promise to pay monies (her Inbox, 6 May).

In Ariane's case, this probably means ferreting out the name of a regional boss (or simply writing to the CEO at the address listed on the Companies House website). If faced with a choice between a British-sounding and a Swedish-sounding name, I'd go for the Swede.

The website that I used to get information (and letter templates) is http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/
I don't recommend contacting them for advice directly (I did in one case and got an incompetent response).

If Ariane doesn't get satisfaction after one or two sternly worded letters, she could certainly start approaching consumer watchdog programmes (cc. the IKEA-interlocutor). If enough people contact them, they'll run a programme.

I can give you (or her) more information on my own experiences off-grid.

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[User Picture]From: egadfly
2008-07-17 08:59 (UTC)

Re: info for Ariane

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Thank you!

It seems clear from a comment on that post that Ariane has had enough of Ikea, which is understandable.

Your advices shall be kept for the next time someone we know suffers at the hands of non-deliverers.