Choice has announced the “winners” of its annual Shonky Awards for 2007 for the shonkiest, flakiest or just downright dodgiest products or services of the year. Here is a selection:
The Shonky for Teleconfusion goes to the… mobile phone industry: Anyone who has tried to purchase a phone/internet service bundle recently will know just how hard it is to filter through the thousand of options available.
Choice says there’s almost 900 different plans, with or without caps and flagfalls, billed by the second or in 30-second blocks, based on dollars or minutes of calls, with free calls to your mum or cheap SMS, with off-peak rates or happy hours, locked in for a month or two years … And once you think you’ve figured out the options, they all change again.
Industry experts confess that bundles are practically impossible to compare. Choice argues there’s a method behind the madness – a shonky method.
The Shonky for Spoiling the Fun goes to the… Play For Fun Flying Ring: This frisby-like toy has possibly the world’s most ridiculous disclaimer: “WARNING: Do not launch or throw in the direction of other people.” Perhaps it could be used as a paper weight.
The Shonky for Nasty Shonkyness goes to the… Woofaz Retractable Dog Leash PA0087B: Choice tested a range of leads and found that the Woofaz clip repeatedly broke at very low forces. They were alerted to the problem by a reader who reported the clip had broken when she was walking her dog and gone flying into her daughter’s eye, causing serious damage. Needless to say, the Woofaz is now banned.
The Shonky for Low General Integrity goes to… Ferrero Nutella Hazelnut Spread: One Nutella ad claims it has “less fat than most peanut butters, less sugar than most jams”. That may be true, but out of all those spreads it has the highest combination of both – it’s almost 85% fat and sugar, packing a whopping 2175 kiljoules of energy into every 100g. Marketing a high-fat, high-sugar food as a healthy choice for kids? Definitely shonky.
The Shonky for Supershonkyness goes to… Superjuices: So called superjuices from exotic fruits such as noni, goji, açai and mangosteen are sold and promoted as benign and packed full of anti-oxidants and good stuff – and sold for up to $85 a bottle on that basis. But Choice’s testing showed that while that is true for the actual fruits, a serve of these juices contains only a fraction of the antioxidants you get from a single Red Delicious apple (which costs about $1).