Express & Star

Mark Andrews: A few clicks on the smartphone, and the world falls to pizzas

Just when you think life couldn't get any weirder. It was announced this week that a fast-food joint is offering a 'buy now, pay when you're dead' deal on pizza deliveries.


For the sake of clarity, it is only fair that we qualify this information. The offer is, at the moment, only available in Australia and New Zealand, and we already know they do things a bit differently down there. Like drinking Foster's lager, doing well at cricket, saying 'but' at the end of every sentence. And grinning radiantly when a ball comes flying through your window. At least they used to in the opening credits of Neighbours.

But this week it was reported that a pizza company Down Under is now offering a scheme when you can order junk food while still alive, but not have to pay anything until you're 6ft under. Or over, I suppose given that they are actually upside down.

Quite how they intend enforcing the debt will be interesting, which is probably why it is a strictly limited offer.

The company says the offer is a protest against the 'buy now, pay later' culture which is prevalent at the moment. People more cynical than myself might say it is more of a stunt to get media attention, which is one of the reasons why I have not named it, but it is hard to disagree with the point that is being made. You might think, after the credit crunch, we would have learned our lesson about the dangers debt. But as memories fade, and wishful thinkers convince themselves the last recession was purely the result of a few speculative bankers on Wall Street, borrowing seems to be coming back into fashion.

Last week's news that 100 per cent mortgages are making a comeback is worrying enough, but at least that leaves you with something to sell should things get a bit hairy. But it seems the real reason the antipodean takeaway chain is launching its ludicrous pizza offer is that many of its rivals are doing something almost as outlandish.

It is reported that one online moneylender has already started offering loans to spread the cost of pizzas and Uber Eats meals over the six weeks. It also suggests paying for cups of coffee in four interest-free payments.

As if that's not enough it seems the supermarkets are also getting in on the act. Iceland is offering Winalot dog food and vast quantities of White's lemonade on the never-never. At least I call it the never-never, but you've still got to stump up within six weeks. Really, what is the point of this? Yes, inflation and rising interest rates has left many people feeling the pinch, but I hardly see how paying for your dog food in six weekly payments is going to help. My fear is that these schemes are instead designed to lure people into spending money they really can't afford on things they don't need – particularly with the pizza deliveries – and then coming after them for the money afterwards. It was the same with those awful rent-to-buy electrical stores.

And if people are now taking out loans to finance pizzas and fizzy pop, it will probably be just as harmful to their waistlines as to their bank balances.

But it also highlights the challenges that smartphones are having on how we live.

All this comes at the same time as we learn about the supposed 'Tiktok star' Bacari-Bronze O'Garro, or 'Mizzy' as he calls himself, whose sole talent appears annoying other people on video.

Now probably the kindest thing you can say about Mizzy is that he is just an idiot who will hopefully grow up and cringe at his own stupidity. What I don't understand is the people who watch him. It is reported that he has 37,000 registered followers, that is 37,000 people at large in society who have can think of nothing more entertaining to do with their time than watch Mizzy make a prat of himself. I know there's not much on the telly these days, but really?

I wonder if that is what the young people are watching when you see them sat around town, mindlessly staring into their phones, with those funny earpiece things hanging out their lugholes. Either that, or ordering crates of lemonade and dog food on the knock.

Maybe the latest generation of smartphones are fitted with a special microchip that makes their users lose all sense of reason. Perhaps the Kingsman movie was closer to reality than we realised.