Business Diary: The economists get personal
Monday 04 October 2010
When did economists become so shirty? David Blanchflower never stops sounding off, while in the US, Nouriel Roubini has made a name for himself by not pulling his punches. Now Nassim Taleb, author of The Black Swan, is at it, telling an interviewer he doesn't listen to people such as the US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman. "Did someone predict the crisis before it happened?" Taleb said before name-checking the pair of them. "If the answer is no, I don't want to hear what the person says."
The customer is always right
The perils of Twitter still plague many businesses. PR Week reports that Ocado, the online grocer, has around 20 tweets on the front page of its feed – 15 of them are responses to complaints from its customer-service team. As the magazine says, one might see this as evidence that Ocado is serious about listening to its customers – or you might conclude it must be hopeless to generate so many whinges in the first place.
No respite in Costa Coffee
Could there be a worse time for Britain's payments system to break down than a Saturday afternoon, with shoppers flocking to the High Street? Many readers will know that this is exactly what happened at the weekend, with a number of supermarkets unable to process card payments for an hour or so because of a technical glitch. It was all sorted reasonably quickly – except at Costa Coffee, where at least one branch was still accepting only cash several hours later. Double trouble for those who fled the supermarket for a soothing drink then.
Germany pays its debts at last
Our congratulations to Germany, which reached a historic moment yesterday, finally paying off the last £60m debt owed from First World War reparations, on the 20th anniversary of the country's reunification. There's no denying that it has taken the Germans a little while to pay off what they owed, but the debt is now fully settled and we'll hear no more about it, thank you.
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