THE INSIDER: Rain on his parade of umbrellas
Chinese entrepreneur hugely overestimates people’s honesty in easy-access umbrella scheme
An umbrella share scheme in China has backfired after almost all of its stock was stolen in the first few weeks.
Sky News reported that business start-up Sharing E Umbrella aimed to provide easy-access umbrellas for city folk to pick up from railings near bus stations and subways as they went about their day.
However, the company was caught high and dry when almost all of the 300,000 umbrellas it provided were stolen shortly after the scheme was launched.
CE Zhao Shuping said his idea was inspired by other share schemes like bicycle hire and the idea that now anything can be shared. But he may have overestimated people’s honesty — or even their ability to simply remember to give them back. The GPS-enabled umbrellas are unlocked using a code sent to your mobile phone, which allows you to use it for about R1 a half-hour for as long as you want.
According to local media, there was no penalty for not putting them back, which may have contributed to the volume of unreturned brollies.
News must have the right ankle
A sore ankle became newsworthy, but only because the news organisation in question was Zimbabwe state television and the ankle belonged to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace.
She suffered bruises in what officials called a "freak accident" without giving details, as she was leaving Harare airport with Uncle Bob after returning from Singapore.
Another famous hurt-ankle story occurred in October 2011, when Winnie Madikizela-Mandela sprained one while walking in high heels. And a flip-flop ankle story was in the news in May 2015, when actor Brad Pitt took a dive while scurrying up stairs in a pair of flip-flops and hurt his face.
The Insider came across these reports while doing his Google research. It seems ankles are a bigger deal than he thought — if they’re attached to the right legs.