Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One of the aspects of life in Spain about which I’m ambivalent is the scruffy men and women who collect money for guiding you into parking spaces that are, in all senses, free. These are apparently called gorrillas, from their habit of wearing a cap, or gorra. Part of me resents paying and part of me thinks that, if this really helps to prevent drug addicts from stealing my radio, then the council is being admirably pragmatic and sensible. But there’s a straw in the wind from Sevilla, where the town hall has counselled drivers against giving money to these unofficial parking attendants. Further, it says it’s going to start fining them 120 euros for importuning drivers. Even if they can’t pay. Along, I guess, with drivers who can pay for parking where they thought it was legal to do so. And indeed was until this week.

Talking of money – I see the British supermarket, Tesco, has today announced record profits of 3 billion pounds for 2008. My guess is they had to work pretty hard for this. Unlike, say, the two promoters of a new airport down in Ciudad Real who made the very similar sum of 3 billion euros when the rural land they’d previously bought was re-classified as industrial and sold to the local authority. What lucky chaps. And what unlucky taxpayers.

Using a golf buggy – or boggie – at my local course for the first time today, I was surprised to see all the instructions were in English only, even though they stressed an understanding was essential for safe use of the vehicle. Worse, the bit warning about risk of serious injury or death was half plastered over with a sticker giving the buggy’s number. Now, one can take this as a good example of the relaxed Spanish attitude to risk but what it really is is evidence of the fact it’s hard to successfully sue someone for negligence in the Spanish courts. If and when things change, I guess we can expect some tightening up. Meanwhile, I noticed that foreigners (extranjeros) have to pay a green fee 10% higher than the locals. The word ‘insurance’ was written in brackets after the fee but I, for one, am dubious. Anyway, next time I will strenuously deny I am foreign. Insured or not.

Finally, I was approached today by a Chinese publisher of on-line bibles, on the basis that they’d “noticed that you are the Biggest Bible Publisher and Christian product sales channel in your country, and we would like to know if there is a possibility for us to introduce our product to your market.” Damn. My cover’s blown. I hope they didn’t copy it to the Hacienda.

God be with you.


Keefieboy said...

Get cracking on dem bibles, Colin.

kalebeul said...

At the local gym in Barcelona all the instructions on the machines are in Italian. Management may of course believe that it's Galician, which a judge might interpret as a patriotic act instead of negligence.

Colin said...

I overlooked the fact it possibly says something about customer orientation as well.

Colin said...

Keith . . . What about Jazztel? I need to take a decision. Are you happy (enough)? Ta.

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