Harsh, I know…

I notice that the Farepak fiasco has come to a sticky and entirely predictable finale with the fund set up to compensate the customers who lost money somewhat short of the planned target.

The fund set up to compensate people who lost savings in the collapse of the Farepak Christmas saving scheme closed at 1800GMT on Wednesday.

About 150,000 people are estimated to have lost a total of up to £50m when the firm went bust.

So far, the Farepak response fund launched by the government has raised £5.8m from companies and individuals – about 10% of the money lost.

Organisers aim to deliver the money, in the form of vouchers, before Christmas.

While I have some sympathy for the victims – we have all made bad calls in our time – it is rather limited. In the first instance, a bank or building society savings account will not only keep money safe, it will pay interest. One argument I came across that contradicted this was that a savings account can be raided in times of need, leaving it bereft come Christmas. Ahem… what just happened? Also, is a sudden emergency requiring immediate funds more or less important than a hamper (or whatever rubbish people waste their money on at this time of the year)?

Also, since when did a hamper, i.e. luxury goods, become a charity case?

Christmas is something of an obsession in this country. But, then, I’m biased; I hate Christmas in all its garish, tacky superficiality with a vengeance and eschew it in its entirety. Yes, I have some sympathy, but not enough to put my hand in my pocket. I will however, dispense some pretty obvious wisdom; put your money in a proper bank or building society account in future. Consider this a life lesson – there, that’s a useful Christmas present for you. Harsh, I know, but true.


  1. Over the last two years my business has cost me — in actual cash and lost wages — about £50,000 (and, because of a badly damaged credit rating and lack of back-up, I have been forced to sell my home rather than, for instance, rent it). I don’t see hundreds of politicians rushing to help me.

    Mind you, nor have I asked…


  2. But why did so many people flock to Farepak in the first place?

    Because people are ill-disciplined. It’s easy to take money out of a bank account, after all. I still don’t know why people wouldn’t trust an unregulated company, though. I mean, it’s nearly as bad as giving a bloke on the street a grand or so and telling him not to do a runner with it.

  3. So, some bastard’s done a runner with the Christmas Club cash. A story repeated over decades, if not centuries. Admittedly this is on a bigger scale, but so bleeding what?

    Why do these ‘victims’ think we’ll all want to cough up our hard-earned because they’ve been stupid enough to trust the ‘Directors’? All they’ve got to do is track down and offer some physical ‘advice’ to these con artists. That may prove rather more effective than crying to the world about how hard done by they are.

    Anyhow I can’t stand the sight of these snivelling prats being ‘interviewed’ by the hordes of ‘journalists’ – who are obviously having a pretty slack time of it.

  4. “Why do these ‘victims’ think we’ll all want to cough up our hard-earned because they’ve been stupid enough to trust the ‘Directors’?”

    Because they’re voters. After all, didn’t our wonderful government cough up £6.5 million to tide Rover over the general election?

  5. Lets have a post please about the road pricing nonsense currently being proposed !

    I agree that your above post is harsh but accurate. I cringe when I hear the SSP protesting “its all the evil big banks fault”. They seem to forget that the banks job is to make money for its shareholders and its employees of whom there are many in scotland. I can imagine the SSP manifesto pledge : Banks lending money to businesses which purport to be savings schemes, must not expect to recoup any money in the event of said business going tits up as this is fundamentally immoral.

    The we have Jim Devine demanding that HBOS “stand in front of Scottish MPs to answer questions we all want to hear”. The question i want to hear (an answer to) is what the fuck it has to do with you mr devine ? When a company director treats customers savings like cashflow lets haul the bank over the coals. this whole episode is sadly indicitave of the “socialist” ignorance which is close to the surface of many MSP’s.

  6. As if buying the hamper wasn’t stupid enough, I think it was Watchdog or something that showed that the cost of the hamper was actually about 20% more than if you went to the shop and bought the items yourself.

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