Thursday, April 08, 2004

Among the back-of-the-paper ads in our local rags there is always an eye-catching box for La C. de E. in Vigo. This grows in size and detail by the week. So business must either be very good or very bad. This week I happened to notice that the latest addition is ‘Massage and Masturbation €30 only’. No beating about the bush there, if you will forgive the expression. Last week’s innovation was along the lines of ‘Our Special – €60 for 45 minutes. Make love twice’. But what I really like about this box ad is that it always includes a line stressing that the place is only a few metres from Vigo’s big department store, Corte Ingl├ęs. This presumably means that you can drop off the wife, park the car and repair to La C. de E. for a lie-down in the round bed next to a fire and large mirror, possibly for around 45 minutes.

There is a great deal of incredulity in Spain at the banning of smoking in public places in Ireland. What I find incredible is the reported statistic that only 34% of Spaniards smoke. If so, they certainly make up for the 66% who don’t.

The state phone company – Telefonica – has been fined the record amount of €57m for abusing its dominant position. This does not come as a great shock, or not to me at least. The company has just announced its 7th or 8th increase within three years of its fixed monthly costs. Although there is supposed to be competition in the telecommunications field, this is conspicuous by its absence and these regular increases are the classic strategy of a monopoly company forced by government to reduce its variable prices in the face of even token competition.