BANKSY’S WEEK: Adam Smith ‘does’ my feet..Footbox.TV ‘does’ my brother..and more!

Adam Smith: economist, right-wing think tank and podiatrist!

When you don’t know
your foot doctor from Adam!

I HAD MY LEFT FOOT TREATED by a right-wing think tank last week. Confused? So was I. What I was expecting to greet me at Galashiels Health Centre was a bewigged, 18th century Edinburgh economist at whom I would optimistically flourish my copy of his capitalist tome Wealth of Nations in the hope that he would inscribe it ‘Best wishes, Banksy – Adam Smith’.

In fact, the Adam Smith who collected me at the door was a PPE-clad 20th century podiatrist who marched me at a careful social distance to his treatment chair and began tending the tiny ulcer that was forming on the sole of my foot, a dangerous development when you are one of the UK’s four million diabetics.

I had worked out a complete stand-up act based on Adam’s name so I thought it a shame not to deliver.

“First time I’ve had my feet done by a right-wing think tank,” I said. He nodded and smiled weakly behind the mask.

“Still,” I persevered, “looking after your own feet is obviously a great health benefit, considering you were born in Kircaldy in 1723 which would make you 297 years old today.” At this, the poor man looked weary and asked me to “hold still”, which I thought was ‘a bit off’, coming from the father of modern economics.

“Actually,” he said at last, thankfully laying down his razor-sharp scalpel, “I’ve heard it all before. I studied in Edinburgh and whenever I signed in anywhere there was always a humourist such as yourself on hand to dole out the old ‘Adam Smith’ jokes.”

I decided at that point to abandon the remainder of my material (references to Thatcher, Reaganomics, unwelcome privatisations and so on). I’m seeing him again on Friday.

Wish me luck.

Talking of feet. . .fair play
or fancy footwork?

EVER HEAR OF A WEBSITE called  I hadn’t, not until I helped my brother sort out a problem he was having with his Vodafone mobile.

His all-singing, all-dancing phone had lost its ability to do either. It was, in fact, a busted flush with a year still remaining on the contract,  so he bought a cheap replacement that could ‘only’ do what phones are meant to do: make calls and send messages.

So why, I wondered, was his monthly bill topping £60 for very limited usage? That was when I discovered, a premium service to which my feckless frère had no recollection of subscribing but which has added £4 per week to his Vodafone bill since August last year, supposedly so he could watch football on his phone.

Now I know we Liverpool fans can be a little crazy, especially in a Premiership-winning season, but this was ridiculous. So we called the company and stopped it and we went to Vodafone’s website to put a block on all premium services.

That was when we discovered he wasn’t alone in his accidental subscription to a costly premium service. Fair play or foul play? You be the judge from these complaints to the Vodafone forum. . .

  • Hi! Has anyone else received a message from saying that you are now signed up to a £4-a-week debit on your [mobile phone] account? I don’t know if this is a scam as I want to reply to stop it.

Colleen, Vodafone’s forum moderator, replies: I’m not personally aware of this.  I suggest giving them a call to opt out and remove the charges. As they’re a third party company, they’ll need to be contacted directly to stop the subscription. 

After that the complaints came thick and fast. . .

  • I spoke with a brilliant Vodafone advisor named Steven who helped me get it all cancelled. I have emailed, who will be providing a refund. They stated I subscribed through my phone [at a time when] I would have been travelling to work. I couldn’t have, as I would have been driving my car! 
  • Two days ago my one-year-old daughter pressed on some kind of link and I have been charged [by Footbox].
  • I had a shock £16 added to my bill. First I sent  “stop footbox” as per the text. After checking I called from a landline (just in case!) the number given 0333 313 5013. Spoke to an operator. Explained that I hadn’t knowingly subscribed. She read some text and arranged a refund by PayPal.
  • Help, please, I have also had a text message from Footbox TV saying I have a £4 per week subscription. Anyone got the email address so I can cancel?
  • Same thing has happened to me. I have never signed up for this, no idea what it is. I spoke to Vodafone four times to get it cancelled and they assured me a £20 credit would be applied to my bill, which hasn’t appeared. Then I rang Footbox on 0333 313 5013 and insisted they cancel and refund, which they instantly agreed to do.
  • Like a few other companies they put their adverts under kids’ videos on YouTube so your little one presses the link and you are charged straight away. I blame Vodafone for letting these companies get away with the payments coming straight out of my mobile account. Surely can’t be legal?
  • Last week I found Footbox payments of £4 [per week] had been added to my account since December. Vodafone gave me their number and the company offered a £16 refund, though they’ve had over £80. In 52 seconds [according to their subscription information] I had clicked on the site, registered and confirmed registration. I feel completely conned. I know I did not register intentionally as I hate football with a passion. Vodafone have since put a block on all premium services at my request.
  • I also have been stung with an unwitting subscription to Footbox TV. My Vodafone contract finishes in 2 days’ time and I am seriously considering terminating it on the basis of this scam. I wonder how many people have not checked their bills and are paying £16 per month for a service they neither wanted nor knew they had signed up to? My beef, however, is with Vodafone, who clearly have wrapped this subscription into their monthly bill, hiding the fact that it exists. This is simply not correct on so many levels. Vodafone has to take responsibility.

Dane B, Vodafone forum moderator, replied: I appreciate where you’re coming from but we can’t be held liable for all of our customers’ subscriptions [as they are offered] opt-in/opt-out features. I get that you’ve unknowingly subscribed to this service and I’m delighted to hear you’ve received your refund. [Footbox] charge Vodafone for the subscription therefore the customer is billed. Vodafone don’t profit.

  • You say that Vodafone is not benefitting from this service? As a piece of transactional economics, this may well be the case. However, your brand, in my view is damaged by association. I’m sure Vodafone has a choice in the matter.
  • I’ve never watched a football match in my life and [according to the time and date of my signup they provided] I was running an ultramarathon at the time and have the GPS recording to prove it!

It may be time to check your mobile bill for unwanted subscriptions. Nothing illegal from on the face of it, but an ‘offering’ obviously capable of confusing techno-novices!

I heard this one
from a man in a pub

THE BEST YARNS are those you hear ‘from a man in a pub’, usually late on and almost always after too muc drink has been taken. Here’s one I heard concerning the late Jimmy Robson of Wooler, a great local character who worked for local haulage contractors Redpath Brothers.

Jimmy had gone into Berwick for the evening, leaving his car in the Parade car park. Returning from his night’s entertainment, he saw some youths jumping about on the top of the cars.

“Hey!” shouted Jimmy. “I hope you haven’t been doing that to my car?”

One of the youths asked him what make of car he drove and Jimmy told him it was a Ford.

“That’s okay, mate,” the youth replied. “We’re just Morris dancers!”

That’s how Jimmy Robson told the story, anyway.


And here’s the pub
where I heard it!

Red Lion al fresco, under the moon and lights

ALL HANDS ON DECK! Lights! CAMRA! Action! Presenting Milfield’s new Red Lion Al Fresco dining area (named, of course, after a former Italian landlord) which is now taking drinkers and outdoor diners for safely distanced lunches and early evening dining.

It’s first come first served: diners can still book indoors but tables are limited so Landlord Iain’s smart new deck with tables and benched surrounds should more than make up for the reduced dining space indoors.

Ordering and paying for drinks and food is easier, too: scan the QR graphic at the table with your mobile phone inside or outside, register your payment method and order from the online menu. Drinks and food arrive speedily at your table. You can even order ahead before leaving home!

Aaaah! Perfect for those hot, sunny days and warm summer evenings. . .


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