Business Diary: Amazon's promo for Poundland

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The Independent Online

Much sound and fury already about Amazon's "lightning deal" pre-Christmas promotions that require you to have the reaction times of an Olympic athlete on your mouse if you want to get the really good prices. We'd advise anyone unhappy with the promotion to follow the advice of one customer, which was prominently displayed on the main deal page. They were highlighting the place to get real bargains from: Poundland. Funny how the post didn't last terribly long but we were tickled by a couple of alternatives that popped up yesterday: "Wowee, something I actually wanted," said one, along with, "What a load of cr*p". So they're not silencing all the critics just yet.

CBI will want to tell us the cost

Diary was playing around on the promotion site purely out of professional interest (of course), but we wonder just how many working hours have been wasted by people spending their time staring at the countdown timer on the hot deals to make sure they can get the good stuff the instant it becomes available. Time for one of those CBI surveys where they pluck a figure about the "cost to the economy" of anything fun (such as extra bank holidays) out of thin air, we think.

Who's up for this year's Debties?

The result of all this retail madness is all too often lots of debt, which generates lots of business for the people who collect it. They even have their own awards do now, no doubt complete with rubber chicken and cheap wine. Apparently "The Debt Collection Awards" are aimed at "celebrating the achievements of professionals working in debt collection enforcement, debt purchase and tracing". If film stars are handed golden statuettes called Oscars what do this lot get? A golden cosh called a Debty?

This has to be the craziest app yet

This has to be one of the maddest software "apps" yet devised: "Flush Tracker". It's on Google and pretty much does what the title suggests it does for the citizens of the UK, Ireland, South Africa and Poland. It's sponsored by Unilever's Domestos (surprise, surprise), and you might think this is not something to delve into too deeply. However, there is method in the madness: Flush Tracker is actually part of a campaign to promote better sanitation, so unlike the debt do, there's a noble aim.