So there I was, cycling down a familiar street, unencumbered by the tribulations of work and in search of the local junk shop. A disturbing feeling came over me, as I came across this scene
Thinks to myself, okay, perhaps the last few days have been heavy on the sauce, but it’s daytime, I don’t think I am drunk in charge of a bicycle, but is that really two Ladbrokes betting shops, one on either side of the road? I have to admit that this picture is a composite of two taken from the same place, but that’s because my digicam hasn’t got a fisheye lens on it. This really is what it looks like.
So what’s up with that then? Are the residents of this road so bone idle that they can’t be bothered to cross the road to get their punt in on the 4:1 horse at the 8:15 races? We’re not talking the M4 standing between one set of potential betters, just one modest suburban road.
Last time I came this way the Ladbrokes on the left looked like this
Now it was the devil’s own job to find this junk shop open, and it really was a junk shop of the old school. They had the child’s mannequin in the window for the last few years. However, since I am in the market for a 200w mains motor which could come with some random peice of household junk attached it was worth a go. Instead, I find the opportunity to indulge in a spot of ‘turf accounting‘ at this shiny new Ladbrokes.
Spin through 180 degrees and I get another bite at the cherry at the old place
It all begs the obvious question. The economy is on its knees, about to enter another tailspin. The trigger finger is over the ‘Now Panic and Freak Out’ QE button at the Bank of England. Loads of people are unemployed and don’t have enough money for the essentials of life like rent and Sky TV.
Where does the money that goes into Ladbroke’s come from? Why can’t the punters understand the irony of a betting shop being called Ladbrokes? Exactly what is it that people don’t understand about this being a monumentally stupid thing to do if you are short of money?
WTF is going on here and why isn’t there a law against parting the slow-witted from their money? Should you not at least be obliged to be just a little bit more devious than ‘here, give us your money, and we’ll give you about 70% of it back, in the round? Why are people still doing this in shops?
A google search for Ladbrokes online showed me that the Ladbrokes corporation has an extensive online presence. You can be fleeced at sports.ladbrokes.com for the sort of thing you can do here. You can take the shaft for casino and poker on another one of their sites. Heck, you can even play bingo with them – all from the comfort of your own home. And yet there’s still money in setting up bricks and mortar shops. Dammit, there’s even money is upgrading and enlarging physical betting shops!
Maybe this is the future of bricks and mortar retailing – a Blade-Runner type of world where the evil underbelly of capitalism rips people off and feeds them junk food and dodgy mobiles, with Money Shops standing at the ready to gut and fillet them, replenishing their wallets at exorbitant interest rates when the last grubby fiver falls into the rapacious maw of the Ladbrokes company. It’s a match made it heaven –
At the Money Shop we believe that you should get your hands on cash when you need it. So why wait?
And so the wheel turns, and the dirty need to make money turns into the Orwellian boot, stamping on a human face forever.