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Six companies we love to hate

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With the news that Ryanair is our least favourite short-haul airline, we thought we’d take a look at some of the other companies we loathe, but can’t stay away from

For many of us it’s as in-your-face as a neon pink elephant on a tricycle playing Bohemian Rhapsody on a trombone, but thanks to Which? magazine’s latest survey, Ryanair is officially our least favourite short-haul airline. The consumers have spoken.

The mag gave Michael O’Leary’s airline its lowest approval rating ever of 34%. It said, “We were inundated with comments about Ryanair, many about its extra charges.”

The PR machine at Ryanair retorted calling the survey “silly claims of desperate, publicity-seeking ‘consumer’ magazines”. It also claimed to be “Europe’s number one on-time airline.”

The sad thing is, it is probably right. We love our cheap Ryanair bargains.

The low prices keep us coming back like addicts who need another hit of bargain-tastic European flightage. How can you say no to £5 flights to Dubrovnik? Not I. Even though I’ll spend the entire flight cursing the uncomfortable blue plastic chair, the fact that it has no convenient pocket in the back of it for my water, the electronic cigarettes it keeps trying to peddle to me and that triumphant tune that blasts over the airwaves if we actually get there on time.

With this in mind, here’s a short list of the other companies that we just love to hate.

Starbucks

How many times have you heard someone growl and say, “Oh look another Starbucks, just what we needed”? The coffee chain forever there to serve you on both hot and windy days and it’s a rare occasion that you have to walk further than half a mile to find the nearest one.

There have been numerous parodies of the famous logo with everything from “Masters of Evil” and “Starsucks Coffee.” The more discerning of observers would assume no-one goes there, if they didn’t know better. The reality is, Starbucks is rammed most the time.

Oh ok, just one more Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino.

Primark

Affectionately, if somewhat ironically, also known as “Primarni”, the affordable clothing emporium consistently fares well in the face of high street closures and liquidations.  

One trip to one of its Oxford Street stores could easily leave you with heart palpitations and a nervous disorder thanks to the throngs of frantic bargain hungry shoppers, elbowing past, but many of us still do it.

We know that we are likely to run into swathes of people wearing the same £6 jumper…but we don’t seem to care.

Google

“Don’t be evil” is its motto. But do we believe it? It is frightening just how much the search engine behemoth knows about us. If it’s not sending out its street view cars to “accidentally” record all of our WiFi passwords, it’s scanning our Gmail messages, making a note of all of the YouTube videos we’ve watched and according to Eric Schmidt, pretty much reading our minds.*

But saying all of that, Google is hands down the most popular search engine and its browser, Chrome, has recently become the most used in the world. The latest profit results showed the company raked in £7bn last year. I guess we don’t hate it that much….

*Eric Schmidt had this to say back in 2010: “With your permission, you give us more information about you, about your friends, and we can improve the quality of our searches. We don’t need you to type at all. We know where you are. We know where you’ve been. We can more or less know what you’re thinking about.”

McDonald’s

There comes a time in everybody’s life when the thing they need more than anything else in the world is a double cheeseburger from Maccy D’s (granted, probably not the veggies and vegans of the world, but many of us). Those golden arches lure us in despite the fact that many of us would be embarrassed to be spotted in there.

After Oscar-winning documentary Supersize talking about how McDonald’s food can be bad for us was released, the fast food giant came back fighting with transparent nutrition information displayed on menu boards and an ad campaign which bombarded us with news of its organic produce and local producers.

It is even the main sponsor of the world’s largest sporting event, The Olympic Games. How did it wrangle that one?!

Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg has most of us hooked on his friend juice. Facebook has some one billion reported users. That’s one seventh of the world’s population. As tech site Mashable pointed out, only China and India have more inhabitants than Facebook has users.

Many of us habitually check the site, desperate to see how many people “liked” our status and commented on our pictures. We’re addicted.

But like many addicts, we go through phases of hating our vice. Checking Facebook all of the time just isn’t cool. Those who eschew the site completely are rare and well-respected. How very rock and roll.




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