Perfect for when your oven breaks down on the M1

`From now on, AA men will be trained to do basic repairs to gas- fired central heating'

From British Gas to all members

Dear AA Member,

You may have heard on the news that the AA was being taken over by the owners of British Gas, and you may have thought to yourself: "Hello, hello, hello, what the bloody hell's going on here?"

Excuse me (you probably felt like asking), but where exactly's the link between a car that's conked out on the M25 and some TV chef turning up the gas under his crepes suzette? Where does getting a car kick-started on a frosty morning fit in with an invisible gas which comes through underground pipes and cooks lunch for the family? What on earth are gas people going to know about things like perished fuel pipes?

Good question.

And there is a good answer too!

Because, when you think about it, who is more likely to know about perished fuel pipes than a gas company!

Yes, keeping a car going and supplying gas have a great deal in common. A car is powered by the ignition of a small quantity of gas. And a mixed grill is cooked in exactly the same way!

There's nothing that we at British Gas don't know about what a little gas explosion can do!

So you can trust us with your car. And trust our knowledge of roads, too, because we've dug up more roads than you've had hot dinners (prepared with the aid of clean, easy, high-speed British Gas!)

And that means that now that the AA has been taken over by a company that really knows its gas, we can relay instantly to you our up-to-date news about holes in the road! Yes, our new Gas Dig Instant Update News Service (or GNUS for short) will enable you to avoid the build-ups caused by gas mains being dug up in a way that a car-centred organisation like the AA could never quite do in the old days.

Also, we enclose a cheque for pounds 240 to shut you up.

Of course, you are quite at liberty to say, "That's all very well, but isn't it a shame the way more and more traditional firms are being swallowed up by faceless corporations? Only last week Tesco was being snapped up by Walmart or some American monster, and now the AA is being swallowed up by the owners of British Gas, Centrica, whoever they are. Yes, who exactly is this firm Centrica? "

That's a very good question. It's so good that instead of answering it, I'm going to draw your attention again to the cheque for pounds 240 in this envelope. It's what we call a windfall.

What's a windfall?

Well, to put it another way, it's a little present to keep you quiet and uncritical.

All right, not a windfall. A sweetener. Because research has shown that when a shareholder gets a little hand-out, he or she will agree to anything in return.

Of course, you are quite at liberty to say: "Hmm, I'm really pretty impressed by this cheque for pounds 240 which has floated unexpectedly through the post to me, all because I once joined the AA after a particularly nasty breakdown in the rain in North Wales, and I'm really glad that your knowledge of the gas business is going to be brought to bear on car repairs, and the best way to drive through France, and I just wondered if it would be possible to pay my gas and electricity bills as well, next time I called out an AA man?"

Yes, you certainly can! From now on, any AA man will be empowered to take payment for gas and electricity bills, and wilI also be trained to do basic repairs to gas-fired central heating and gas boilers.

No doubt you're thinking to yourself that this is all too good to be true, and that there's bound to be a catch.

Well, yes, there is.

The real reason that we are buying the AA is that the AA has the power to put up yellow signs all over the place, saying Road Black Ahead and Diversion Ahead and Traffic Rerouted Ahead.

When people see these signs, they always follow the diversion peacefully without ever blaming it on the AA. However, if the gas people introduce a diversion when a gas main is dug up, we always get all kinds of flak.

Not any more.

From now on, we shelter behind the yellow signs of the AA.

Now you may well say to yourself, "Mmm, there must be more to it than that, still, they've sent me a sweetener for pounds 240 so it would be a bit ungrateful to grumble, and I'll just keep quiet - in fact, you never know, it might also be worthwhile joining the RAC, because there might well be another sweetener on the way there..."

Attaboy. Good luck.

Yours sincerely,

British Gas.

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

books
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power