Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Rip Off Republic Part II

The second episode of Rip Off Republic was on last night. This episode dealt with entertainment in Ireland. Of course the pubs and restaurants made up the bulk of the show leaving little time for other topics which I would have enjoyed being expanded on.

Eddie Hobbs was in his usual form last night. I realized he is trying to do a version of the excellent Mark Thomas Comedy Product which mixes investigative journalism and stand up comedy. Mark Thomas was very good at mixing both, Eddie unfortunately seems to lack the comic ability, but we don’t watch him for laughs, he is a financial advisor. I look forward to the day when I can talk to my financial advisor and come away with a big smile on my face.

As I already mentioned, last nights episode focused on entertainment in Ireland and the cost involved in going out. A couple of interesting alcohol related facts were mentioned

  1. There are 9450 pub licenses in Ireland. The figure was set in 1902
  2. There are only 808 licenses in Dublin so 9% to serve 35% of the population
  3. The mark up on a sample bottle or wine in a restaurant was 340%
  4. Excise on wine is €2.05 a bottle, excise on Champagne is €4.10.

He also spoke about the politicians in both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael who led the fight against Cafe Bars. As an example he showed John Moloney TD who strongly opposed Cafe Bars on health of the nation reasons. Guess what... he owns a pub in Mountmelick. But then again I've made my opinions on the Cafe Bar scandal clear in the past.

Having spent so long talking about the bar/restaurant trade there wasn’t much time left for other rip offs, but one that was mentioned that is close to my heart is the price of camera film. €6.17 in Ireland €1 in South Africa. I would have liked an explanation of this, but Eddie had to rush onto the next topic. He also briefly touched on coffee, hair/makeup and popcorn. It’s a shame he didn’t have more time.

Strangely when talking about entertainment he didn’t mention the nights when people stay at home and watch TV. You know that TV you pay a license fee for, only to be subjected to a list of 1980s TV stars and schedules that RTE insists on using your money to finance. Still Eddie himself is a new face and a few years ago Rip Off Republic would never have been aired, too many vested interests pissed off, so I suppose he was right to keep his mouth shut.

The show ended with a call for people to order a round of glasses of municipal tap water next time they are in a pub. Damn, I'd hoped he'd continue the nappy campaign, I'd grown to like that :-)

I'd recommend watching this next week, and watching any repeats if you missed the first two episodes. Eddie may not be everyones favorite TV presenter, but the facts and figures speak for themselves. We all know we are being ripped off, but to have the figures laid out before you is a bit of a wake up call (e.g. no coffee with lunch today, saving €2.50)

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