Commuter instantly regrets buying ‘promotional’ half-price gnu at WH Smiths checkout


A 34 year-old commuter from Abingdon has admitted that his purchase of a three year old African White-Tailed Gnu from the counter of W.H .Smiths in Paddington station was a ‘huge mistake’.

Mr Crispin Farley, an IT consultant, was buying a copy of The Independent and some confectionery when he was offered the gnu, one of several tethered at the checkout. ‘I was a bit reluctant at first’ he claimed, ‘but the assistant pointed to a promotional flash and explained that this was a special offer, to which I was entitled, as I had already bought a newspaper. At that moment a half priced gnu seemed too good to pass up.’

However after failing to board the Circle line with his new charge he says he was already deeply regretting his purchase. ‘I tried to return it to Smiths, but was merely offered the alternative Blue-Tailed Brindled Wildebeest, or a bag of Haribo jelly sweets in exchange, which fell well short of the GBP350 I had paid for ‘Jenny’. Besides, I had just bought a bag of Starburst Joosters.’

A spokesperson for W.H. Smith explained that the gnu offer was part of a wider series of half-price ‘impulse promotions’ undertaken by the store. He said that their ‘W.H. Smith: first with the gnus’ campaign had been a huge success: ‘by the time our customers have stumped up GBP3.50 for a Diet Coke and couple of packets of tissues they start looking for ways to cut their losses, and our cut-price wild African mammals offer them the ideal way to feel that they’ve broken even again.’

The Farleys are now rearing ‘Jenny’ in their back garden, and have struggled to recreate the conditions for the gnus seasonal migration across the plains in search of fresh pastures. ‘Thankfully she seems partial to giant bars of Toblerone and flavoured bottled water’ explained Mr Williams ‘so we have been able to feed her for a fraction of the usual price; I never thought I’d say it again, but thank goodness for W.H. Smith.’

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Posted: Mar 11th, 2009 by

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