Rogue Trader: The week ahead ...

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The Independent Online
Monday

First day of Britain's status as official, kite-marked "rip-off free zone" creates panic throughout the economy, particularly among management consultants and the tourism sector - now entering traditional grockle- fleecing season.

Tuesday

Interims from Halifax. Profits buoyed by rising property market but threatened by leakage of customers to aggressive rivals. In first big operation, kite mark cops arrest 8,000 people at car boot sales around the country.

Wednesday

Abbey National to report, followed by Lloyds TSB later in the week. All very dull unless you are a Scottish Widow who likes to say "yes". Retail banks send letters to customers announcing increases in charges "starting with the cost of this letter" to meet the cost of kite marking.

Thursday

Provident and Prudential interims to be overshadowed by growth, balance of payments and consumer credit figures - all likely to show continuing recovery. Telephone companies, tethered financial advisers and London underground buskers follow the banks with increased charges to cover "kite- marked value compliance".

Friday

Nationwide July house-price survey sparks 1980s nostalgia boom. Duran Duran releases retrospective greatest hits CD. Estate agents become latest group to double prices to meet cost of "scam-busting" kite mark.

The week's smear victims ...

SIR BOB HORTON: "OK. So I pick up sacks of cash from Railtrack and hang about in railway stations installing burger bars and Tie-Racks. It doesn't mean I'm some sort of Anorak who's interested in trains."

THE COCA-COLA CORPORATION (EUROPE): "Sure we like to drop in on our retailers and make sure that our merchandise is at the front of the store. Where's the harm in that? I mean it's not as though we go round carrying baseball bats or anything."

HIS HOLINESS THE POPE: "OK. So I live in the Vatican City, sit on the throne of St Peter and dish out a few goblets of wine and packets of wafers from time to time. Is that supposed to make me a Catholic?"

MICHAEL ASHCROFT (TORY PARTY TREASURER): 'nuff said!

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