Weird Tech: 'Not using PayPal is like dealing heroin'

Apparently the booing and hissing started early at the eBay meeting. Likening its customers to junkies may not have helped matters

In a spectacular display of negative PR, eBay Australia’s vice president Simon Smith inadvertently compared sellers who don’t use the PayPal option to heroin dealers this week. Things went from bad to worse for the VP when he blurted out the ill-chosen metaphor during a public meeting about the future of the company.

The conference was called to appease Australian customers following the decision by the online auction company to only allow buyers to purchase goods via PayPal. Which just so happens to be owned by – yep – eBay.

Comparing its customers to drug dealers really should have been on the list of things not to say…

Facebook publicity stun floods Leeds

In other news, a mass water fight arranged on Facebook resulted in thousands of pounds-worth of damage to an award-winning public garden in Leeds earlier this week. Around 350 people stormed the Millennium Square garden on Bank Holiday Monday armed with water pistols, buckets and water balloons.

Leeds City Council said plants were trampled, turf ripped up and water features emptied and filled with foam. Organisers of the water fight have apologised for the damage - blaming an unexpected turnout from publicity on the social networking site - but will be holding the event again in 2009.

Terror at 33,000ft

And there was terror in the skies when a pilot narrowly avoided a mid-air collision at 33,000ft after allegedly "showing off" to a boy in the cockpit. According to the Times, the Air France flight from Manchester to Paris suddenly began ‘rocking and rolling’ like a fairground ride.

Passengers reported that a young boy later exited the cockpit with a "big smile on his face", moments before the pilot launched into an emergency 19,000ft climb to avoid another aircraft.

As this random protester spotted in the street would say: "What a moran". (That's moron, spelled by morons.)

Air France is launching an investigation.

Perhaps the pilot should take inspiration for an excuse from the Lancashire police helicopter pilot who claims he was blinded by the "beam from a laser pen" whilst helping chase a vehicle from the air. The BBC reported that the pilot was "forced to take evasive action" when the beam shone into his eyes. A 45-year-old man was arrested yesterday on suspicion of endangering the aircraft.

And finally…

Motorists in South China have gone high-tech in their efforts to shirk speeding fines. According to State media, drivers are dodging penalties with the help of machines that can switch the numbers on licence plates around in seconds.

If you live in the area, a basic remote-control device will set you back less than a British speeding fine (£60), with more advanced devices that flip the numbers in less than three seconds pegged at just over double that.

"The era of covering up the licence plate by hand has passed," a driver surnamed Zheng told Xinhua news agency.

Julia Sagar
Content director, special projects

Julia specialises in ecommerce at Future. For the last four years, she’s split her time between leading TechRadar’s crack team of deal editors - covering all the biggest sales of the year including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day - and helping the audiences of Future’s consumer tech and lifestyle brands (TechRadar, Tom's Guide, T3, Marie Claire, Woman & Home and more) find the best products and services for their needs and budget.

A former editor of global design website Creative Bloq, she has over 15 years’ experience in online and print journalism, and was part of the team that launched TechRadar way back in the day. When she isn't reviewing mattresses (she’s tested more than she cares to remember), or sharing tips on how to save money in the latest sales, she can usually be found writing about anything from green energy to graphic design.