Only early January, and already we have a contender for 2013's advert-most-likely-to-offend-everyone award. The ad, for a bike shop which also does small car maintenance jobs, has a woman explaining how to change a headlight bulb: wait till it's dark in the winter to figure out that your bulb has gone … tell your husband to change it … he's so stupid that he can't manage to do it … you obviously can't do it yourself or you might break a nail … so, go to Halfords and "tell him that you got a real man to do it".
It annoys women by assuming that they're all vain and childish. It annoys men by suggesting that they're all lazy and useless. And it annoys anybody who has ever tried to shop in Halfords, where finding a real man, woman or anyone else to help you is a lot harder than changing a light. In fact, the shop came bottom of Which?'s 2012 customer service survey thanks to its "unhelpful and rude" staff. Now it turns out that the people writing their advertising copy are just as rude.
Yes, please, to the Japanese-style "cat café" which is ready to open soon in London if it can raise enough funds. The café is for stressed out people who are too busy, too poor, or too stuck in pet-free rented accommodation to have their own kitty to stroke. It has been working with a local animal sanctuary to ensure that the animals are well looked after, and are the already sociable type.
Few Londoners have the time to spend at home with a cat of their own, but probably most of them are only one furry cuddle away from being normal, chilled-out people. Let's just hope that there are enough cats to go round.