Friday, 28 August 2015

Costa Says 'Cover Up'

A woman was asked to cover up in a Costa shop in Sutton after entering wearing only a pair of leggings and a sports bra. The woman claims she had no other clothes with her so she was asked to leave. Was this fair? Yes, for a number of reasons.
A sports bra isn't suitable attire for a Coffee shop. We've all heard of the 'no shoes no shirt no service' rule and this is a simple application of that. It makes no difference that she was a woman, as it would also be inappropriate for a man to be topless in a Costa.
The woman tried to defend herself by claiming that, because she was a personal trainer, a sports bra and leggings were her regular work attire. I don't see why being a personal trainer should give her the right to wear what she wants. It wouldn't be okay for a Page 3 girl to wander about in her underwear because it's her work gear. It wouldn't be okay for a builder to turn up to a nightclub in scruffy building site clobber. Your occupation has nothing to do with a business's dress code.
The only thing Costa can be faulted on in this situation is that they served her for a sit down coffee in the first place. They should have been clear about their clothing policy from the offset to avoid this embarrassment.
Some may argue that everybody has the right to wear what they want, and they do to an extent, but when you enter a business you do so on their terms. If you don't like these terms then you're free to take your business elsewhere. There are plenty of gym-bunny friendly cafes.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The Ashley Madison 'Scandal' is Hardly That

We've all heard about the hackers who released the details of the users of Ashley Madison, a website targeted at hooking up unhappily marrieds with other unhappily marrieds (because an office affair is sooo 2002). With the news that 1.2 million members are British it seems like everyone is having an affair. Or are they?
95% of the 1.2 million are male which strikes as unbelievable because in a marriage you generally have two unhappy partners, so where are all the unhappy wives getting their jollies? No, this figure tells us that the majority of Ashley Madison users aren't married in the first place. Think about it, you're a man who wants to have sex but not get into anything serious. Having an affair with a woman means you get all the pent up, frustrated sex but at the end of the night you'll turn her back over to her husband. You don't have to endure family outings, household chores, listening to her talk about her day, nights out with her friends, or trivial fights. As the affair is secret you're unlikely to get enough time with her for her to become clingy, and she can't sneak off to call or text you all the time as it would be too risky.
Yes, to some men this is the dream. In fact it's exactly that. It's a dream, a sexual fantasy, that they believe a website can deliver to them.
Of course, there will be some members who are using the site to have an affair, but hold your moral fire. When all this first came out a woman went on the news and explained her case. She was in her sixties and caring for her husband who had Alzheimer's. He couldn't have a conversation with her, he couldn't have sex with her, he was a shell of the man she married. She was lonely and used the site as a way to meet a man.
Now, some may say she could join any number of support groups if she wanted social interaction but she obviously wanted something more. She wanted sex. Which is shocking, obviously, because whoever heard of a person with sexual desires?!
We can't make a judgement on her affair because there are too many difficult factors. On one hand, her story pulls at your heart-strings. She's a full time carer - that's not an easy job for anyone, but especially not for an elderly person - who's lost her husband, and she has lost him. His essence is gone even though his body remains.
On the other hand, she made a vow to him that was meant to last a lifetime. What would he say if he could? I don't know. It's not my place to judge.
We also mustn't forget that some couples have open marriages, and not just because they're sex mad liberals. Some spouses are unable to have a physical relationship and don't mind their partner outsourcing that activity.

What I'm saying is that we should all take a step back from the Ashley Madison scandal. Of course some people will be on there as a way of having an affair behind their spouse's back, and those people are disgusting. However, the percentage of the 1.2 millions members who are actually doing this is probably low and it's also nothing new.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Bin The Cup Charge

England is set to begin charging for plastic bags this October. Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and the Republic of Ireland have no sympathy for England as some of these places have had a bag levy for well over a decade. In fact, there's an air of it's about time.
A plastic bag levy is a great idea. We all use far too many of them, we take them when we don't need them, they end up littering our streets and causing environmental problems. In other words, they're a bit of a menace. A small levy on bags is a proven way to decrease the amount taken from stores (and therefore the amount that end up as litter) and also has provided a boost to charities in some countries (here's looking at you, Ireland, with your 22c levy which goes straight into tax revenue).
So we can all agree that, as far as extra charges go, the bag levy is a good idea. However, there's always someone who wants to take it too far. Wales has voiced the idea of introducing a charge on the disposable cups we use when we buy a hot drink. They believe it's the next step in being green. It's ludicrous for a number of reasons.

Forget the cup, just pour your
hot liquid into me

Firstly, unlike the a carrier bag, a cup is necessary part of the product. You can't buy a coffee and have it poured into your hands. Therefore you have to pay the levy. Unless of course you bring your own cup, which brings me onto point two.
Unlike a carrier bag, a cup cannot be easily transported on the off chance you fancy a brew. There's also the issue of carrying around a dirty cup once you've finished your drink. Handbags are already teaming with bacteria (don't look into this you'll frighten yourself), we don't need drips of tea adding to the mess.
Thirdly, unlike carrier bags, disposable cups are biodegradable. It is true that some are better than others, but a way to tackle this is to legislate that all disposable cups must meet certain standards. A lot of cups are made up of recycled material, again legislation could lay down a minimum percentage for this.
If we don't say no to the cup levy then we will be heading down a path of putting a levy on everything. A line needs to be drawn between product and frivolity otherwise we could end up in a world where you have to pay for the box your Weetabix sleeves come in.
As an alternative to a levy there should be more of an incentive for customers to bring their own cup. For example, in Starbucks if you bring your own cup you receive a 25p discount off your beverage. Some other stores offer a free drink when you buy one of their own reusable cups. Another idea could be to offer double loyalty card stamps.
In short, we need more carrot and less stick otherwise 'being green' will become synonymous with 'being a pain in the proverbial'.

I rely too much on coffee jokes

Monday, 10 August 2015

6 More Things I've Learnt As a Cashier

Last year you may remember that I wrote a post about the ten things I'd learnt from working with the general public. Well, just when I thought I knew everything there was to know about working a minimum wage job life went and hurled the following discoveries at me.

1) There is an insatiable urge to keep talking to people if they say something halfway interesting. For example, I once served a man who was from Philadelphia. My reply to this should have been, 'Lovely', but instead I said, 'Oh, like the Fresh Prince' because a twenty year old television show was the only thing I could connect to Philadelphia.
2) People often ask me for directions, car advice and product advice. You may think that working in a busy petrol station would I mean I would know the answers. You would be wrong. I was trained to use the tills and nothing else.
For some reason admitting I don't know these things, even though it's clearly outside of my job remit, gets customers quite annoyed.
3) The worst thing you can say is 'I don't know' so it's better to lie. Lying on the spot isn't something I've ever been good at, and honestly I think most customers know I'm lying, but for some reason people prefer for me to offer them some ridiculous explanation than admit my lack of knowledge. A lack, I might point out, which is usually not my fault because I am a cashier.
4) People talk to me like I am a complete moron but soon change their tune when they discover I'm going into my third year of studying law. I mean you can literally measure a change in the tone of their voice.
5) There are two questions I have to ask everybody I serve: do they have a loyalty tag and have they bought petrol.There's a huge emphasis on asking this (yes, I'm talking about multiple CAPITAL LETTER SIGNS in the breakroom) and I'm fairly brilliant at asking everyone *smug look*. The downside to this is that it's become automatic and I now chant it, sometimes several times, at customers. It's scary that I can say words without even thinking about it. Words should require thought.
6) People will pay the guts of €20 on confectionary, but when you tell them that there's a 22c charge on plastic carrier bags (which has been in place since 2002) they lose their minds. Instead they will struggle on without a bag, and drop half their purchases on their way out.

My job is nothing like Clerks