A Shonky poll

The Shonky Awards are an annual recognition of shoddy service and deceitful products in Australia. All are deserving (except Toblerone: their complaint is that the number of servings doesn’t line up with the number of pieces. But everyone knows you’re supposed to eat the whole Toblerone yourself, and not share). I don’t normally suggest how you should vote, but I would like to point out that Nature’s Way Kids Smart Natural Medicines is homeopathic and extravagantly priced water marketed to kids, and is probably the most appalling case on the list. But a lot of people seem to be outraged by Ticketmaster’s greed and an upscale travel company’s restrictions on refunds.

Which is the Shonkiest product or service?

Cabcharge 12%
Exit Mould and Coles Mould Remover 6%
Jetset Travelworld Group 11%
Liquipel 4%
Nature’s Way Kids Smart Natural Medicines 16%
Samsung washing machine SW70SP 4%
Ticketek and Ticketmaster 41%
Toblerone 1%

Comments

  1. Matt Penfold says

    Er, shonky, not shinky. Al hali Tpyos!

    Well the urban dictionary does give sexual intercourse as a definition of shinky, but shonky means something that is sub-standard. Origin is unclear, but I like the suggestion it is an amalgamation of shoddy and wonky.

    And I’m with PZ. Toblerones are not for sharing, not even the very large ones!

  2. quidam says

    Isn’t ‘shonky’ slang for condom?

    Only in Discworld

    Apparently everyone is more concerned about a washer that uses a lot of water, than a children’s ‘medicine’ that is only water.

    Water shame.

  3. quidam says

    Correction: in Discworld it’s a ‘Sonkie’ for the rubber product

    A Shonky Shop is a second/third/fourth hand clothes shop and a shonky deal means much the same as it does in XXX, sorry Oz

  4. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    Sorry, Matt. I was flashing on Discworld. I remembered that after I commenteds.

  5. Ogvorbis: broken and cynical says

    Damn. You’re right. Sonky. Even my unintended literary allusions are busted today.

  6. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Yeah, it’s still going. I just checked out all the products, and sure enough the Nature’s Way Homeopathic crap is the worst. I voted for that. The Samsung washing machine is in the lead right now at 40%.

  7. anteprepro says

    Hah. I thought that the washing machine had a ridiculous lead too. And then I realized that the bar representing the percentage of votes for each product appear ABOVE the product name, not below. So, instead of a large number people being extra concerned about an inefficient washing machine, they are actually outraged about extra fees on event tickets. Luckily the Cabcharge is splitting the “Urrrgh, hidden fees on things that are already overpriced!” vote.

  8. tubi says

    I voted for the homeo junk as well, although Ticketmaster, perhaps rightly, does still lead.

    That Cabcharge thing looks like some serious bullshit, too. So the driver doesn’t have change for a $50? Go get some, dick. And be prepared next time.

  9. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    anteprepro:
    Thanks for the clarification on that. I made the same mistake. Looking at it now, the washing machine is trailing quite a bit.

  10. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    tubi:
    I don’t think Ticketmaster being in the lead is right. Yes it’s pathetic the way they rip people off, but those being affected, by and large are adults. More importantly, this isn’t a product that’s aimed at children (and marketed to be effective, yet plainly provides no benefits to a child’s health). So it’s a one two punch. The price is too high and it’s a waste of money (the money could be better spent on a product that is effective).

  11. Ysanne says

    What exactly is wrong with Cabcharge — they’re meant to be used as pre-buy vouchers for company trips etc, in which case the extra charge seems to be worth the convenience plus saved admin work of reimbursing employees’ out of pocket expenses.
    Or the washing machine? Ok, shitty obsolete vertical-axis drum, but this technology obviously escaped extinction outside of continental Europe (where already in 1980 these machines were the dirt-cheap ones that young parents would use to wash the crap out of fabric nappies), so why single out this one?
    Ticket sellers are a plain rip-off, but the homeo crap really deserves to win for its 100% uselessness. Along with its cousins from Ethical Nutrients, and basically all the stuff that a way too large bunch of my fb acquaintances peddle as cancer medication…

  12. Matt Penfold says

    What exactly is wrong with Cabcharge — they’re meant to be used as pre-buy vouchers for company trips etc, in which case the extra charge seems to be worth the convenience plus saved admin work of reimbursing employees’ out of pocket expenses.

    It is the 10% surcharge for paying by card. The cost of the transaction is nothing like that much.

  13. anteprepro says

    Ticket Master: Charges ~$2 credit card surcharge and $5 to $10 handling fee on ~$100 tickets, resulting in people paying 10% more ($12 more) on tickets.

    Natures Way: Markets water as medicine for kids, resulting in people paying 100% more money ($12 more) than they should for something that is actually worthless, and using it instead of something that might actually help with a child’s health.

    So, seriously, considering Ticket Master bad when Nature’s Way is an option? Equivalent to the “JUST AS BAD” bullshit in politics. Fucking ridiculous.

  14. Loqi says

    I was thinking the same thing, anteprepro. Hidden fees are the drone strikes of the service industry.

  15. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    Loqi:
    Hidden fees indiscriminately kill service industry personnel?

  16. carlie says

    Well the urban dictionary does give sexual intercourse as a definition of shinky,

    The urban dictionary gives sexual intercourse as a definition of pretty much everything.

  17. says

    I dunno, the ticketing systems manager to short the venue and the event/performers at the same time.

    I don’t understand how their operation is even legal at this point. It seems we’ve institutionalized ripping off performers and venues for payola.

  18. says

    Ticket master (and their competition) also tack on the $10 fees to $20 and $30 tickets, too. Convenience fees you can’t avoid are lame.

  19. anteprepro says

    I dunno, the ticketing systems manager to short the venue and the event/performers at the same time.

    I have not seen anyone disagreeing with whether paying extra money for sucky reasons is bad. I agree that it sucks. But there are people disagreeing with the idea that it is so bad that it warrants winning the prize for being the worst example here, especially when there is a fraudulent medical product aimed at children competing with it .

    Is screwing over venue, performers, and audience for $10 a ticket really JUST AS BAD as defrauding people into thinking that water is medicine? If you really think so, I would love to see that debate. If you don’t think so, then why bring it up as if the effect on venue and performers were relevant to what anyone else was saying .

  20. antigone10 says

    Sorry, I’m voting for Ticketmaster.

    Because if I want to watch a show of any sort of size, I have to go through that useless, do-nothing, piece-of-shit site. There is no going around it. I can’t even drive to the venue and buy the tickets there ahead of time to avoid the stupid “convience fee”. Ticketmaster gets worst product because there’s no going around it.
    If my niece or nephew is sick, there are a variety of products that I can use to make them feel better. I feel bad for the children who are given sugar water to cure their colds, but for the most part, colds will cure themselves given some bed rest and time AND parents can avoid it. Easily. It’s not the cheapest or most common medication in the world, so I suspect that most parents who buy it are INTENTIONALLY buying it. And while the company’s pretty evil for selling it, the parents who are giving sugar water to their kids (under full knowledge that it is sugar water) are worse.

  21. Loqi says

    Tony:
    Hidden fees get brought up as something that automatically make the service provider the worst thing imaginable, and therefore doing business with them is morally equivalent to supporting Hitler.

  22. chigau (棒や石) says

    The MegaEvil ticket sellers and the SortaNaughty water sellers are both at 33%.

  23. lexie says

    Tony: I do actually agree with you that selling water as a medicine for kids is one of the most despicable (and I voted for it), but one of the reasons Ticketek vote is so high is that we literally can’t avoid them so they annoy the hell out of everyone. No matter who you are if you ever want to see any live performances music, theatre, cooking demonstrations, sports etc you have to deal with them, thus they are high up on everyones radar. Whereas if you want kids medicine then there is genuine stuff available just chat to your GP or the Pharmacist. So for a lot of people who are skeptical of alternative medicine, then Ticketek is something they deal with regularly and if highlighting their shonkiness will maybe make them reduce their fees then that’s something that is more relevant to their life.

  24. vaiyt says

    everyone knows you’re supposed to eat the whole Toblerone yourself, and not share

    I’m happy to know that I’ve been doing it right.

  25. spamamander, internet amphibian says

    Of course you’re supposed to eat the entire Toblerone yourself. What blasphemy is this “serving size” thing?

    Then again, allegedly there are 4 servings in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. HA!

  26. anteprepro says

    Because if I want to watch a show of any sort of size, I have to go through that useless, do-nothing, piece-of-shit site. There is no going around it. I can’t even drive to the venue and buy the tickets there ahead of time to avoid the stupid “convience fee”. Ticketmaster gets worst product because there’s no going around it.
    If my niece or nephew is sick, there are a variety of products that I can use to make them feel better. I feel bad for the children who are given sugar water to cure their colds, but for the most part, colds will cure themselves given some bed rest and time AND parents can avoid it….It’s not the cheapest or most common medication in the world, so I suspect that most parents who buy it are INTENTIONALLY buying it. And while the company’s pretty evil for selling it, the parents who are giving sugar water to their kids (under full knowledge that it is sugar water) are worse.

    Aww, that’s very nice of you to feel bad for the kids that suffer because hucksters have convinced their parents that a special brand of water is medicine. But too bad for those parents, because they didn’t HAVE to buy it, right? They are JUST AS BAD as the fraudsters themselves, because they’re stupid.

    Hidden fees you can’t avoid on entertainment items you don’t need are obviously the most atrocious thing here. Far more atrocious than the scenario where you actually do need something and are tricked into buying something that doesn’t actually fulfill that need. And it is a health need. For a child. Too bad, so sad, suckers. Should’ve had smarter parents. Because buying that product wasn’t mandatory, it is NOT AS BAD as being always required to pay extra for concert tickets. PRIORITIES.

  27. Tony–Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze– says

    anteprepro:
    I’m not sure, was that snark @40? :)

    ****

    antigone10:

    A child’s health vs your entertainment.
    Sorry. No contest.
    Moreover, not every parent out there knows that homeopathy is utter crap. There are many that are fooled by the companies into thinking it’s effective. Part of the problem in pushing homeopathy to the fringes is that people act like it’s not a big deal: just like you’re doing.

  28. says

    I use Cabcharge all the time to get back home from city hospitals after an ambulance transfer, and don’t quite see the peoblem with it. At least not compared to the expensive water they sell as “nature’s medicine” for children.

  29. hohnjamilton says

    From their description of the problem with Toblerone:
    “cutting one-sixteenth off every single piece and giving the resultant nougaty-chocolate crumb collection to the sweetless sixteenth”.
    This would result in the sixteenth person receiving 6.67% more chocolate than the others.
    I think that if one is going to complain about a chocolate company(what heresy!) they should at least get the math right.

  30. ambulocetacean says

    Wow. If you click through to read the article about the homeopathic bullshit you’ll see that the author gives it both barrels. This is very, very unusual in Australia, which has pretty much the same libel laws as Britain.

    The story quotes Dr Ken Harvey, who is an amazing guy. He’s not a “movement” sceptic but he has spent decades fighting against this kind of shit.

    He does the hard yards by making complaint after complaint to toothless government authorities (which are often stacked with professional woo-mongers) and he has been repeatedly sued by health fraudsters.

    Any Australian sceptics who want to check him out can see his website at http://www.medreach.com.au/

    Other Australians who think Ticketmaster is a bigger problem than homeopathy should think again. When was the last time Ticketmaster killed an Australian child?