Just over a year ago, Gerald Ratner wittily described one of the products peddled by the chain of jewellery shops of which he was (and still is) chief executive as "total crap" - Ratner is very clearly a devotee of Oscar Wilde - and has since been able to sit back and watch while the paper value of his firm fell from £600 million to £45 million. Being, as is widely known, of a mathematical bent, Toady has calculated the cost of Ratner's little apercu at £277.5 million a word, or an admirable £61.6 million per finely-honed letter. Surely the Nobel Foundation should be prevailed upon to create a new category of prize for such linguistic virtuosity? While the Norwegians are busy mulling this over, Toady would like to offer a little reward of his own. If anyone can think of a costlier per-letter utterance in the history of British business, he or she will receive the usual bottle of finest maison crapaud fizz by return. Up and at 'em, tigers.
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