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  #41  
Old 03.10.2013, 12:03
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

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But you (and other previous posters) still believe that Amazon pays taxes in germany, france where they are using infrastructure? They pay taxes in Ireland or Luxembourg. Is that fair?
The Globalization...yep kind of aware of it. But does not mean I should accept everything from it. I assume everyone enjoys buying made in china baby food (it's cheaper) or products manufactured by "slaves". The question is what are you morally willing to accept at some point. The buy always cheaper strategy can't last on the long term.
Don't blame the companies for this kind of tax play. Blame the rules.
(Don't hate the player, hate the game)
The companies are doing their obligation to their stockholders.

Who made the rules? In theory it was not the companies. Of course that can become muddled because of lobbying and corruption.

I'm not as informed as I should be to discuss this in detail, but I think this tax trick within the EU where you can have your HQ in Ireland / Luxembourg, reap the benefits of the lower tax rate, and still be able to trade within the EU as if you had your HQ in any of the higher tax countries basically without losing any benefits is a clear example of a flawed rule somewhere.
You can't unify in some things and not in the others and expect companies / people not to use the loopholes. I don't blame the companies for this, they would be stupid to voluntarily pay more tax for no benefit.
They still employ people in the other countries and pay IRS and their employees pay IRS and the product sold has VAT.

The 20 companies in the Psi 20, the 20 largest ones in Portugal according to the stock market, all have their HQ in Luxembourg. It was in the end of 2012 the 20th moved over actually. You know what I found ridiculous?
There was some outrage in the Portuguese public opinion that this company was doing this to pay less taxes when the country was in an economic crisis. This is ironic because there was another company in these 20s in the same sector that ALREADY had their HQ there (I don't even know for how many years), but the "villains" were the last to use the trick?

[In fact, this particular company allegedly moved over because Portugal didn't yet have a double tax agreement with a Latin American country, where this company was expanding into. If it was for tax reasons alone they would have probably have moved their HQ before.]
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  #42  
Old 03.10.2013, 12:05
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

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Imagine a world where all shopping is on line only - no shops for you to visit or browse, no possibility to try out the best skates, no repair service around the corner - this is what it will eventually come to if the majority of people buy on line - local providers will eventually just go out of business. I personally know of one - the only shop of this type in the town which will stop selling musical instruments as he has exactly that problem, "selecting" is done in his shop but purchasing on line through an on-line competitor.
This has been discussed a lot an it would appear that the general consensus is that it is morally right to do this and the shop needs to adapt.

Personally, I think it is morally wrong and I'll pay well over the internet price if I get to examine or try things, on or try them out or benefit from first-hand help from a sales assistant.
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  #43  
Old 03.10.2013, 12:08
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

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I kind of get annoyed by the Amazon, Starbucks, Zalando etc... that do sell low products/services at a very low price to swiss-resident population but do not pay TAXES in CH for the infrastructure they are using. All taxes are paid in Luxembourg or Ireland. They should pay their share of local taxes as well to participate to the cost of the infrastructure.
I want to support the local economy and it annoys me to see Amazon and alike kill local businesses like bookshops.

I see you are another that has jumped on the "they dont pay taxes" bandwagon without reading the full facts.

Starbucks is a FRANCHISE so the shops pay local taxes, the HQ if located in lux decides to pay taxes there in full compliance with the required laws.

are you really 10000% sure they dont pay taxes in CH?

as for amazon killing local bookshops, if the prices were not so inflated and have the " swiss mark up" then maybe more would shop locally, i for sure would but when faced with an items that are over 1/3 cheaper a few clicks away i will happily vote with my wallet towards amazon
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  #44  
Old 03.10.2013, 12:08
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

I try not to behave only as a "consumer" (buy optimal cost/benefit) but also as a "citizen": it implies that you factor in long term impacts and moral/solidarity parameters. By buying locally I do help my community but also avoid subsidizing companies that do not pay fair salaries and taxes. I agree it's more of a "moral" stand but it's up to each one to deal with it. I do believe again that the "always cheaper" will drive us to things that are worse than the "horse meat lasagna".
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  #45  
Old 03.10.2013, 12:12
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

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I try not to behave only as a "consumer" (buy optimal cost/benefit) but also as a "citizen"
When Switzerland lets me vote with my B permit, I might consider thinking as a citizen. Instead, they just take my taxes, and I just take my salary. There are no further commitments on either size.
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  #46  
Old 03.10.2013, 12:13
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

The issue of showrooming is another one (people checking products in person, then buying elsewhere). This already existed before online shopping I'm sure, but it has become very prevalent and indeed Amazon and others are benefiting from salaries and rents paid by others. Discussing the ethics is interesting but won't really solve the problem - once again, the current "rules" are flawed in some way and you should expect a rational consumer to play by the rules for his/her benefit. This kind of stuff is studied in game theory, which doesn't always apply directly to reality of course. Free rider problem or tragedy of the commons for this particular case, I think.

The practical issue of showrooming has been discussed of course, and there are some non-ideal solutions. One is local stores charging for the service of advising the customer / showing him the product, but that charge can be deducted from the cost of the product if the customer does buy something.

Personally I just buy online without checking the thing in person, I just do some research, ask people that know about it, and go by the reviews found online.
Eventually if or when the local stores close down, I think more people will just do what I do. Alternatively, there will possibly be an evolution of the online sellers either providing dedicated showrooms and/or to provide very robust options for returning products you are not satisfied with (and raising the prices to everyone to cover for the extra costs).
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  #47  
Old 03.10.2013, 12:14
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

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But you (and other previous posters) still believe that Amazon pays taxes in germany, france where they are using infrastructure? They pay taxes in Ireland or Luxembourg. Is that fair?
The Globalization...yep kind of aware of it. But does not mean I should accept everything from it. I assume everyone enjoys buying made in china baby food (it's cheaper) or products manufactured by "slaves". The question is what are you morally willing to accept at some point. The buy always cheaper strategy can't last on the long term.
Why do arguments so often fall to extreme exagerrations, like buying baby food form China, or using "slaves". Shopping online and not locally doesn't mean you do that in the slightest, so lets not reduce ourselves to melodrama here.

As for the tax issue... no, it's not "fair" that Amazon paid only 3m in germany, and that Google pay peanuts in the UK, but they are only doing what they are legally entitled to do. They are using a flawed tax system which needs to change in order to curb this behaviour.

Expecting big business to act with moral fibre would suggest a massive naieveness in the way the world really works. Businesses pay only as much money as they have to, why would they spend a penny more?

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This has been discussed a lot an it would appear that the general consensus is that it is morally right to do this and the shop needs to adapt.

Personally, I think it is morally wrong and I'll pay well over the internet price if I get to examine or try things, on or try them out or benefit from first-hand help from a sales assistant.
More fool you, then.
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  #48  
Old 03.10.2013, 12:17
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

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I try not to behave only as a "consumer" (buy optimal cost/benefit) but also as a "citizen": it implies that you factor in long term impacts and moral/solidarity parameters. By buying locally I do help my community but also avoid subsidizing companies that do not pay fair salaries and taxes. I agree it's more of a "moral" stand but it's up to each one to deal with it. I do believe again that the "always cheaper" will drive us to things that are worse than the "horse meat lasagna".
But nobody does actually follow the "always cheaper" principle all the way. There's also convenience, laziness, urgency, prestige, marketing, prejudice and taste/distaste to take into account.

I do all my grocery shopping locally, not out of moral principle, but because the Migros in the village is a lot closer than any French hypermarket. On the other hand, I buy all my clothes in America because they're cheaper there, but most importantly because I'm there most summers anyway. English books I get from Amazon because no bookshops in Switzerland sell the books I want. Different sources for different reasons - but that doesn't mean I don't have a moral duty to my family to seek out the cheapest option if there is one realistically available. Our house finances come way before those of the cashier at Orell Fussli or C&A.
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  #49  
Old 03.10.2013, 12:21
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

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I try not to behave only as a "consumer" (buy optimal cost/benefit) but also as a "citizen": it implies that you factor in long term impacts and moral/solidarity parameters. By buying locally I do help my community but also avoid subsidizing companies that do not pay fair salaries and taxes. I agree it's more of a "moral" stand but it's up to each one to deal with it. I do believe again that the "always cheaper" will drive us to things that are worse than the "horse meat lasagna".

I will consider myself a 'citizen' when they let me vote.

Until then, i am a 'resident' and a 'consumer'. And, as you point out, a consumer wants the best value.

Every time i go to the UK (twice a month on average) i take an empty suitcase and bring it back full of all sorts of stuff. Mostly, ingredients (not fresh stuff, obviously) toiletries, clothing, DVDs/games and soft furnishings.

A couple of weeks ago i brought back 3 T-shirts, 2 pairs of jeans, a pair of shoes, 2 DVDs, 2 games, some bedding, some spices, a couple of bottles of shampoo and shower gel, and some shoe-stretchers (long story). I also had a haircut and had a suit dry cleaned.

I calculated my savings and i'd saved well over 800CHF. And keep in mind i didnt pay anything for the fight (business flights).

When you get to the point that it is cheaper to buy a plane ticket (on SWISS, no less) and do your shopping a thousand miles away, then you have a value problem.

Do i feel guilty? Absolutely not. The way i see it, the UK stores i buy from are now getting the benefit they deserve, for being competitively priced. This is their benefit for paying UK tax, and the Governments benefit for having a competitive economy. When the swiss prices can compete, i will buy here instead. Until then, My Miles&More account will get fatter and fatter.

The Free market, at its finest
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  #50  
Old 03.10.2013, 12:23
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

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Nappies cost EUR 4 a pack in Germany. Here in Switzerland, they cost CHF12 for the same pack, or EUR9.79 at today's exchange rates. By my math, I've gotten EUR5.79 more value by purchasing the same goods over the border.
Yet nappies are cheaper here than in Italy.

Tom
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Old 03.10.2013, 12:23
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

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When Switzerland lets me vote with my B permit, I might consider thinking as a citizen. Instead, they just take my taxes, and I just take my salary. There are no further commitments on either size.
just like this you mean....

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Old 03.10.2013, 12:28
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

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as for amazon killing local bookshops, if the prices were not so inflated and have the " swiss mark up" then maybe more would shop locally, i for sure would but when faced with an items that are over 1/3 cheaper a few clicks away i will happily vote with my wallet towards amazon
If Orell Füssli English books woke up and bothered to leave Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse to a cheaper area with less grandeur, perhaps they could lower their prices.

When I liked in the U.K, I bought almost every book at the local bookshops.
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  #53  
Old 03.10.2013, 12:28
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

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Why do arguments so often fall to extreme exagerrations, like buying baby food form China, or using "slaves". Shopping online and not locally doesn't mean you do that in the slightest, so lets not reduce ourselves to melodrama here.
No melodrama. Just pointing that local regulations have impact. I saw many chinese buy baby food in Switzerland. A way to show that "always cheapr" does not mean best option.

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As for the tax issue... no, it's not "fair" that Amazon paid only 3m in germany, and that Google pay peanuts in the UK, but they are only doing what they are legally entitled to do. They are using a flawed tax system which needs to change in order to curb this behaviour.
Yes I never said it's illegal what they are doing. I just pointed out that it's unfair.
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Expecting big business to act with moral fibre would suggest a massive naieveness in the way the world really works. Businesses pay only as much money as they have to, why would they spend a penny more?

More fool you, then.
I don't expect business to have a moral fibre (did I write that somewhere?). But I do know that my behaviour (to buy or not) can influence them as much as my vote can influence the change of tax systems.

I never treated you as fool or idiot or arrogant. I do expect the same from you. It won't cost you anything (not even in taxes).
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  #54  
Old 03.10.2013, 12:30
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

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When Switzerland lets me vote with my B permit, I might consider thinking as a citizen. Instead, they just take my taxes, and I just take my salary. There are no further commitments on either size.
So you haven't read the small print regarding your immortal soul on the Anmeldeformular at the office for "Bevölkerungsdienste und Migration"?
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  #55  
Old 03.10.2013, 12:35
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

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If Orell Füssli English books woke up and bothered to leave Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse to a cheaper area with less grandeur, perhaps they could lower their prices.

When I liked in the U.K, I bought almost every book at the local bookshops.
+1

I hate being held over a barrel by a shop like that, which is one of the reasons Amazon gets almost all of my custom. I always bought books at independent retailers back in England because I consider personal service important in this line of business. But 30 chuffs for a paperback? No in-house coffee machine is going to make up for that!
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Old 03.10.2013, 12:40
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

People forget that Amazon has spent the best part of 10 years selling books below cost to create market share. If a business is losing money, the business is not liable for tax........

Luckily Swiss companies can sell their products for high prices in both CH & abroad. The moment they are unable to do so they will not need to employ so many foreign workers, so failing to support local business's will ultimately lead to your own redundancy. This is of more importance to people who wish to become Swiss & live here happily ever after.
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Old 03.10.2013, 12:40
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

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But nobody does actually follow the "always cheaper" principle all the way. There's also convenience, laziness, urgency, prestige, marketing, prejudice and taste/distaste to take into account.

I do all my grocery shopping locally, not out of moral principle, but because the Migros in the village is a lot closer than any French hypermarket. On the other hand, I buy all my clothes in America because they're cheaper there, but most importantly because I'm there most summers anyway. English books I get from Amazon because no bookshops in Switzerland sell the books I want. Different sources for different reasons - but that doesn't mean I don't have a moral duty to my family to seek out the cheapest option if there is one realistically available. Our house finances come way before those of the cashier at Orell Fussli or C&A.
Ditto. For food and groceries it isn't practical to order online, or to go to the border if you don't live near it. I spend enough money on food for the local Swiss economy, no worries there.

For electricals, CH is also the cheapest in Europe, so I buy most of my significant purchases here.

The items I do buy online are mostly clothes (though I do buy here in the sale), all my books, some toiletries you can't find here, and small electrical goods which are often about 5x more expensive in CH for no justifiable reason.

To say we pay nothing into the CH economy is BS, and I'm getting sick of hearing it from preachy do-gooders who don't even seem to know what day it is when making their arguments.
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Old 03.10.2013, 12:50
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

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If Orell Füssli English books woke up and bothered to leave Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse to a cheaper area with less grandeur, perhaps they could lower their prices.
Yep - and in addition to the already outrageous book prices, I'd have to spend another 12 chuffs for the cost of a ticket into the city.

Oh, I'd also have to add another CHF 200+ for the cost of the sitter*, without whom I cannot leave the house for 4 hours needed in order to get to the into the city to do some bricks-and-mortar shopping.

And even if I am willing to spend that extra CHF 212 so that I can buy a book for CHF 30 (available from amazon.uk for GBP 5.49), chances are that Orell Fussli does not have the title I want in stock, and it will take 4-12 weeks to order it for me.

Is it any wonder I buy most of my books online?

Online shopping is a far better fit with my lifestyle as well as my wallet.

And besides, Amazon's clever "Customers who bought this item also bought..." feature has recommended more interesting titles than any Orell Fussli shop assistant has been able to.


* This is one service I happily pay for, as the lovely Swiss lady provides top-notch quality. Too bad she is retiring... and I have been unable to find a qualified replacement in Switzerland. I've come to think that the quality (i.e., skill, responsibility, working legally) service provider I need simply no longer exists here in Switzerland.

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Old 03.10.2013, 13:06
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

Seriously Meloncollie, you are applying your own lifestyle choice to being to purchase goods and services?

That is crazy.

Would you work the same logic if you lived in the arse end of Montana and going to a Tom Ford store?
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Old 03.10.2013, 13:08
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Re: Rich tight bottomed auslanders

Since we're on the subject of retail rather than services (although in this context, I reckon they're the same thing), would you mind indulging me in a little riff on what a shop should be like in the modern plugged-in global market place?

Before I moved here, I lived in a small market town in the Midlands of England. There were several charity shops selling second hand books, an Ottakar's near the town hall and two independent bookshops, one of which sold mainly new books, the other selling second hand and antiquarian books.

The charity shops were ok - they'd have the occasional gem, and it's always nice to contribute to a good cause - but were usually filled with sci-fi and romance drivel.

Ottakar's was hell on earth. Sure, the shop assistants were all rather lovely bespectacled librarian-type young ladies, but they were about the only good thing about the place. "The Nation's 50 Favourite Poems about Dogs" was the theme of the typical window display, and the rest of the stock wasn't much better. Blegh.

One of the independent shops was great. It was run by a middle aged couple who could track down almost anything that was currently in print. They had a particularly good language section in the back of the shop, which was the cause of many an empty wallet during my years there. Unfortunately, they hadn't got much to offer more than being friendly and helpful - there are only so many books you can keep in stock at a time, and their overheads were high. Soon after I left they were gobbled up by a chain and within a couple of years the shop had disappeared completely. Sad, but inevitable.

The other independent shop was bloody wonderful. It was run by a mad old beardy Marxist historian with whom I'd chat for hours and hours on the subject of the Greek civil war. He specialised in books on Greece and the Balkans - which was somewhat convenient for me! - and he'd always have something to show me whenever I popped in. He knew his customers very well, and knew exactly what they'd want to buy, what they could afford, and - most dangerously - what he could tempt them into buying beyond their usual budgets. Quarter to five on a rainy Tuesday afternoon I'd wander in to be informed that he had a wonderful new compilation of Ottoman poetry, published in the late 19th century with colour plates - only £400... or £350 to a friend . The crafty bugger. I used to joke that my boss ought to have just sent him my wages, and I'd collect the change at the end of the month...

Anyway, in addition to knowing his market and offering a personal service his rivals in the big chains could only dream of, he was shrewd enough to see which way the wind was blowing. Very early in the game he set up an online ordering service which, by the time I moved away, became the main source of his income. The shop became dustier and quieter, but he was happily wrapping up parcels or tapping away on his computer every time I wandered in there. He was struggling - as most independent retailers struggle - but he got by because he had the nouse to adapt to circumstances.

A real bricks and mortar shop can never compete for price or quantity of stock with a monster like Amazon, but if the proprietor can offer something different to his competitors then he might just get by. The death of shops is not inevitable - but they have to change if they want to survive. It isn't enough to complain that people are reading their stock then going off and buying off Amazon - they need to give customers a reason to come to the shop, to stay in the shop and - most importantly - leave some of their money in the shop when they leave. They can only do that by recognising that shopping is not merely a commercial transaction - it's a leisure activity, too. Our local second hand shop here in the boondocks also has a little bar at one end, several sofas, free newspapers, concerts, readings and enough books at an affordable price that one is tempted to go and look at the more expensive stuff just because, well, you're there anyway. Oh, and the staff are really friendly, speak perfect English (even though we didn't ask them to!) and don't close for lunch.

They're in with a chance, I reckon.

Orell Fussli are also in with a chance, unfortunately, even though they don't deserve to be. Isn't it great being a monopoly in a city with more money than sense?

By the way, the last I heard the old Marxist had sold up and moved to a Greek island. I hope he remembers how much of his house I paid for, as he sits enjoying a Metaxa watching the sun set over the Aegean.

The bastard.
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