Sports Direct in breach of shopper's statutory rights

Long story short...

I've bought and wore Adidas sized ten football socks for well over five years. Never had an issue with them.
So while Hoover was out shopping in Sports Direct the other day, I asked if she'd pick me up four pairs of football socks, size ten.

On getting home I unfastened a pair and tried them on, they wouldn't fit over my ankles!

This weekend, I took them back to my local branch.
After looking for a bigger size, they had no stock.

I returned them to the counter for a refund, as I need them for my work and would have to buy from elsewhere.
Pretty straight forward I thought?
Sports Direct's store manager didn't want to know.

"These are all size ten!"
- They may say size ten on the labelling, but they will not fit over my ankles, so they are not size ten.
"If it says size ten on the label, then they are size ten!"
- I've bought dozens of pairs of Adidas football socks over the past few years, never had an issue with them before, these new size ten socks won't fit over my ankles.
Unless my feet have suddenly grown, which they have not, as my both pairs of my size ten football boots continue to fit me fine, then these are not size ten.
"We sell loads of these without any complaints..."
- I cannot get them over my ankles, as they are labelled as "Football socks," I would think they would fit me (being a size ten), they would also have room to put shinpads and / or ankle guards on underneath them?
This is not possible as I cannot even get them over my feet without any guards or pads on. As such they are clearly "Not fit for purpose"
"I'm not giving you a refund for these and in any case, you've unfastened one of the pairs!"
- How am I supposed to try them on when they are fastened?
"We don't refund open stock..."
- If you do not offer a refund, then you are in breach of my statutory rights!
"No I am not, our store returns policy says..."
- My statutory rights state if a product is not fit for the purpose they are sold, then a refund, exchange or replacement should be given. As you have two stores without bigger items available, I require a refund.
"Our store returns policy is that we do not need to offer a refund, you'll have to write to our Head Office!"
- So you're refusing to refund?

I walked out.
I then contacted their customer services...

"We do not offer refunds on items bought in stores!"
- That's a breach of my statutory rights, as the product is not fit for purpose, you are selling labelled goods as fitting a size ten, they clearly do not fit a size ten, so a refund is required, as the goods are not fit for purpose.
"We don't deal with stores, you'll have to go to the store as it's at the manager's discretion if they offer a refund!"
- The store manager says I have to come to you at Head Office.
"It's the store manager whom decides, a refund is given at his discretion"
- He says it's you whom decide!
"I've explained our position, I'm terminating the chat session, goodbye!"

There you have it.
A simple process, over complicated and Sports Direct's Head Office staff and store manager, refusing to uphold my statutory rights.
24 hours have passed on their twitter account, they cannot be bothered to answer.
Sports Direct will not refund on shop bought items that are clearly not fit for purpose.
They are not interested.

Perhaps Sports Direct's magical "sale prices" should also be investigated by Trading Standards?

Fair to say, I won't be using them ever again.
A disgraceful company.

Canon 70d with G.Zuiko OM lens adapter doesn't work (it does now!)

Looking around for a wide angle, manual lens for my 70d, I was drawn to the OM range of lenses, which many baye sellers claim can be adapted to fit my camera.

So after much research into picture quality, etc, I opted for an Olympus OM G.Zuiko 28mm f3.5 wide angle lens.

Ideal I thought. Reasonable price, easy to adapt and great for pics and filming.
I picked one up cheap, in great condition. Ordered the adapter from a UK seller and waited for them to arrive.

It came today and the lens is ace.
However, the adapter is the problem.
It has a pin inside the adapter ring, which is designed to hold the aperture preview spring loaded lever, to open position.
Problem is, the pin stops before the lever when fitting the adapter, so basically, does absolutely nothing.
I've tried unsuccessfully for hours to get it to work, changed the way I fit the adapter, etc. Nothing has worked.

Perhaps I've bought the wrong one?
Nope, all the ebay listings show the same layout of adapter, along with advertising that it works with the Canon 70d. It does not.

When the lens is on the camera, it is wide open at f3.5 with an aperture preview button to the bottom of the lens, that when pushed allows the lens to be stopped down to f16.

Problem 1:
If control of aperture can only be accessed by pushing a button, how can you possibly know which f stop number is in use?
Problem 2:
Having to push this button at the same time as focusing and the shutter button is problematic for the user.
Problem 3:
Using the canon 70d and this lens with a tripod is not possible. As the base of the lens is where the button is situated, then access would be denied to it, when the tripod plate is on the camera.
Problem 4:
What does the insert pin actually do? It comes into no contact with either of the spring levers inside the rear of the lens.
Problem 5:
As this aperture preview button is at the base of the lens, it makes it completely useless for filming with the 70d.
Problem 6:
To do any filming, would have to be at f3.5 (wide open) and hand held.

I really wish that this misleading advertising was stopped.
It does not work with the Canon 70d.


I took the lens apart to try and negate the spring clip, that the adapter's pin was stopping before.
I took the spring out, tried it.
Put the spring back in, tried it.
I put tape around the silver plate of the lens, to hold the preview button in, tried it.
I bent the pin of the adapter slightly upwards, bingo!

I got another bit of turn from the adapter and the spring preview clip is pushed across to allow manual changing of the aperture ring.
I must have had a slightly raised rear cover of the lens which prevents the adapter from going all the way around. It remains a very tight fit, so if I want to use another Olympus lens with the camera, I'll have to buy another adapter.



Footwear industry is damaging health for profit

Lowering standards of general footwear in recent years, is leading (I believe) to more injuries.

As people are forced into ever more expensive footwear purchases, made on the cheap but retailing at a premium, those buying "regular" footwear are seeing an ever increasing issue with injuries.


Buying a run of the mill pair of trainers from a so called discount retailer, first the "sale" price is no sale at all (was £28.99 now £19.99, the price they have been for months).
Secondly, the standard of these trainers, are a low quality. Thin insoles, can lead to leg/knee/foot injuries.

Now if I want to pay a premium price, say in the region of £45 to £60, I get slightly better insoles, but not always, regardless of branding.

Of course I could go for, "Running shoes," but these are in excess of £70 and above. Ridiculous prices.

Next up is the classing of footwear.
"These £19.99 trainers are no good for kicking a ball around, they soon fall apart"
Is met with, "They are not designed to play sport in!"
So why are they sold as trainers then? No reply.
They have little to no insoles, they are not fit for running. Kick a ball around or run around a tennis court for 30 minutes, nope, not designed for that either.
Even the £1.99 black or white PE pumps from the markets used to last longer than the cheap alternatives today.

So what options if I want a pair of trainers for comfort at work and to kick a ball around in, on a school yard/dry field then?
"All weather boots"
But the cheaper range (£25 to £35) have the same issues with thin insoles and with "all weather" soles, soon wear out. So not suitable for general wear in the workplace.

How about the expensive, "Running shoes"?
Not designed for kicking a ball around or general wear. Just for running.
But these have the insoles that were previously standard in trainers, with support and prevented injuries.
They are over-priced also, which makes them unavailable to a section of society that would most likely need them.
Children from low income families (and adults) cannot afford to pay such prices.

By definition, trainers are designed for sports of all kinds.
By redefining each style into a separate category (running/football/tennis) etc, they (retailers and manufacturers) are increasing their profits, at the cost of our health.

In my role as a sports coach, I see this more and more.
Active and very active children, enjoying their sports, are picking up injuries to knees, ankles, heels, hips and groins.
Each time, I look at their footwear and without exception, they are in run of the mill basic regular trainers/shoes. Fine for all round wear, but if they play sports regularly, then injuries occur.

One final example to prove this process is at play.
Football boots.
In recent times these too have been recategorised.
It used to be the case, where football boots were football boots. Now they have "soft ground," "grass" and "hard ground" "all weather" football boots.
Each of course with varying prices and levels of quality.
Insole standards are poor.
What used to be, metal studs (times six, four front and two back) are now soft ground boots.
Plastic studs or blades are now hard ground or all weather boots.
The combination of blades and metal studs is also resulting in more injuries.

Metal six studded football boots are designed to not only grip, but allow for turning when the foot is planted.
Boots with six studs and two blades near the middle might look trendy in the shop, but if you are on firm ground, plant your foot and try to turn with your weight on it, it jars your leg/joints and can/often does, cause injuries.

Investigations into the footwear industry are long overdue.
Costs of treating a twisted knee, pain relief, physio, GP visits, support equipment, etc. Soon mount up.
More importantly, as our children compete in sports as they develop/grow, it's vital that they don't suffer these injuries, many of which can be avoided if minimum standards are applied.

Google SEO is a waste of space

Are you chasing higher search engine rankings on google?

I wouldn't bother.
I've been doing a lot of reading and experimenting for this over the past 6 months, with a brand new website, which (for once) I thought I would sort out from the beginning as regards SEO (search engine optimisation).
It's just a hobby website (thankfully) not for a business.

I started out with a highly used, recommended SEO plug in, with features such as schema, breadcrumbs, meta settings, etc.
I have configured and reconfigured via this plug in far too many times. Each time, checking with google to see how it reads to the search engine.

One error, then I correct this (after hours reading into the problem) then run a test again to find another error and so it continues.

Finally it shows the post as being all good for search engine listing, days later I check google to see if it's at least being listed now, it's not *sigh*

Now it's being crawled, but not being listed, there's an issue with breadcrumbs for the post, so back into the read/try loop and tested until it shows no errors and it's submitted for listing.
Days later, again I look to see if it's being listed... it's not, there's yet another error preventing it from being listed. Where was this error days ago when I changed the settings and tested it? Who knows!

I submitted sitemaps, I've adjusted all the theme and plug in settings, a total waste of time and effort.
As it stands, after six months, 24 post pages are said by google to "be listed", only 7 post pages actually are.
The meta data is too long, then it's too short, then it's not there, then it's not used. You simply cannot win.
I'm beginning to think google is taking the absolute wass out of people with websites.

Too many internal links, not enough internal links, without me making any effort to have them or not.
Next, the style of the rare post pages that are listed.
Using schema makes SEO so easy... really?

It doesn't make a blind bit of difference to google.
Schema, for those that are not aware, is how the top paying websites get those lovely picture, caption, ratings, google results and push your website to the top of their rankings on a given subject.
Google "Chocolate brownie recipe" and look at the first few pages, you'll find they are using schema for the most part (search the page code), except in real life, your results look nothing like theirs!

Using schema for SEO on my website, shows the title (ok so far) then the website address (ok again) then nothing from the meta data typed in on each individual post, nothing about the breadcrumbs, again different on each post, instead preferring to list "comments, please sign in to comment again" where the actual text should be!
Absolutely useless!
Even when google does actually list a post page, it hides the text/meta text in the results. What is the point of that!

Try submitting sitemaps then?
First it shows all four site maps listed, days later it claims only one has been submitted, then it says it has four submitted but cannot use them due to their format? (xml format is an industry format, does google want me to submit them in written ink on paper?)

One final throw of the dice, I'll try submitting sitemaps/website to another search engine, Bing.

"Do you want to import your website information from google?" Yes.
I log in and let it import from google. One single sitemap is showing on google and nothing else.
It appears that after six months of submitting pages, sitemaps, posts, tags, categories, etc. Google has only got information on one single sitemap.
Google cannot even get that right.
So was it any better with bing? Nope.

Exactly the same waste of time.

How does my new website compare to this old website on google search?
It doesn't.
Without any SEO on this website, it ranks far higher for subjects and gets hundreds of hits per day.
The new website, after 6 months of being messed about with SEO gets from 1 to 5 hits per day.

If you wish for your website to be listed - never mind rank on their first page of results for whatever topic - with a normal topic of your choosing, then the only way to achieve this, is to PAY for it (despite what all those SEO experts tell you).

The Christmas cupboard

Living on a tight budget, means changing ways to approach different times of the year.
A little planning goes a long way.

One such planning, is around Christmas.

You know the score, it's all around you, friends, advertisements, etc.
Christmas, Christmas, Christmas!

The Christmas cupboard in our gaff, is one of many ways to alleviate the costs of a wonderful, but expensive, time of year.
Two weeks ago, it started with the sale price of a tub of roses.
Last week it was two bottles of branded lemonade, which is always in short supply during the festive period.

The rules are simple.
Is it a "sale" price?
Will it still be in date during the Christmas holidays?

You'd be surprised how it mounts up, not only helping the savings, but the heavy lifting and madness of the festive period.

Week 3: Chocolate coins for the tree, Matchmakers (discounted and in date), good old after eights (reduced), tonic, ginger ale and soda water (bottle of each)