A stranger has now stepped in to buy the iPad instead.
The fact is neither of these are real stories and what the newspapers are doing is using human nature and emotions to create a headline and a story.
Landlords did not get trickedLet's look at the landlord story first. The story highlights the amount of rent landlords will lose if they cannot re let sites currently let to Comet. It then goes on to quote how landlords did not give concessions to Comet because management refused to be open book about their business plan and finances. I don't get it. Where is the story? Comet sought concessions; Landlords asked for information; Comet refused; Landlord said "no". If landlords had been fed misinformation and then agreed concessions now that would be a story. If there was evidence that OpCapita had taken on the business with the intention of running it into the ground; now that would be a story.
Gift vouchers are just IOUsNow consider the gift voucher stories. First of all let's consider what a gift voucher is - it is simply an IOU. You are a creditor of the business and an unsecured creditor at that. When a company goes into administration all its unsecured creditors are likely to be wiped out or get very little return. There is no separate arrangement for private individuals.
Therefore, when Comet went into administration the administrators could not simply ignore their duties as officers of the Court and tell Comet staff to continue to accept gift vouchers. But let's not allow their legal duties get in the way of a good headline. Evil administrators are easy targets especially when the other side is a poor child who is already suffering.
My question is what on earth is a charity doing taking its donations and handing them over to a company in return for nothing better than an IOU? That is the angle the newspapers should be looking at. Is that a legitimate use of charitable donations?
It's not my faultI suppose you could ask why do I care? Well the main reason is that there are many similar examples where the media creates a story where there is none. In doing so they ignore so many more important angles which may not be as attractive to the public. And all this stems from or points to one major failing in society today - the need to blame someone else. Everywhere we look, every time we see something not to our liking we have to find someone else to blame. Now we have a list of targets and whenever something happens we look to find a story which allows us to place blame with someone on that list - the bankers, the politicians, the administrators, the private equity people, the media. We also have a white list of people who tend to be untouchable and never to blame (a much shorter list) - the man on the street, the charities.
Perhaps this is the cause of so many of our problems that we face today. Perhaps if rather than always looking to find someone to blame we stop and ask ourselves what could I have done differently? How much of the fault of what has happened to me is because of me? What could I do to improve the situation? If everyone did that and changed how they acted as a result then we might find ourselves in a much better place a lot quicker.
In the case of the vouchers the charity could be reconsidering its arrangements (perhaps it is already). Perhaps the mother would consider that she could have acted quicker when she got the voucher and immediately gone to Comet (of course I don't know when she got the voucher). As for the stranger who stepped in - well he has done exactly what I suggested. He didn't look for someone to blame he asked himself what he could do and he did it. All we need is 50m more people with that kind of attitude in the UK and we might just get ourselves out of this mess.