Fuel For Thought

Very few of us actually enjoy shopping, least of all me, and of all places a petrol station has to be the worst. The new dynamic of shopping for groceries whilst filling the tank up has always been a bit alien to me, although beginning to appreciate the concept, so much so, I also shop at one of these “Express” type places regardless of my need for fuel. And it was on such an occasion that I encountered a very unpleasant individual, and the events of a few seconds screamed volumes of the kind of people who are employed to deal with the public.

Foolishly, I had chosen a time in the afternoon that is dedicated to Mums up and down the country to collect their offspring, and although I am fully aware that many do this on foot, you can not argue that our roads fill substantially during this period, and I make no jokes for the need of a 4×4 vehicle at all.

As with most forecourts, the general flow leads you to a pump, although you can normally bypass the area and proceed to the parking spaces for the supermarket, while preforming this manoeuvre I saw an opportunity to park in a soon to be vacant plot in an otherwise busy car park. Pausing briefly to allow a young mother and small child to reverse and leave the space, my attention was drawn to a heckle of abuse aimed in my direction. For it was completely without my knowledge that I had intentionally caused the momentary delay of someone who had more rights on the highway than a lowly shopper, The foul mouthed torrent of abuse was coming from a van emblazoned with company name and logo, and from it’s drivers window the occupier was publicly sharing their displeasure in front of an audience of parents and school aged children, I was further surprised that the culprit was a woman, who could have quite possibly bore children of her own years previously.

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Although I initially calmly sailed through the mire of English vocabulary, I was aghast at the thought that this person was not only representing her employer sat in the van, but was totally unashamed of her actions and said employer was equally unsurprised when I phoned to report it, to this end, shame on them!

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Something For Nothing

It was my great pleasure to meet two individuals, both from “backstreet” businesses, who were a massive help to me this weekend, providing realistic and free advice on a problem with my car. Although unable to help me practically, it was refreshing to see and perhaps a little humbling, and I have no doubt that their multi million pound competition would have charged for such a privilege.

mecTransversely, I had a similar experience with a sales assistant, but with a cruder effect. Do not misunderstand me, she was neither impolite or disrespectful, but her whole manner and sentence delivery came directly from the corporate training manual (verbatim). And quite apart from thinking that my money was well spent, I came away feeling as though I had inconvenienced the next victim of the “Headmistress” waiting behind me in the checkout queue, but really had no real cause to complain about my sturdy patroniser.

baqSo while my faith in humanity is momentarily restored by professional courtesy of tradesmen, I wonder that perhaps humility should have a box to be ticked on the B&Q training check list?

 

Negative Advertising

Although my door is adorned with signs asking not to be included in the myriad of junk mail that is frequently on offer, I often still get it, and if I am about at the time, I remind those responsible that I do not care for this particular type of letterbox invasion.

Generally, I am met with a lethargic response in a accent of foreign shores, and sometimes squeeze an apathetic apology from the unsuspecting canvasser. But today that all changed when I received a foul mouthed tirade from someone spreading the news of a pizza shop under new management.

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This time when I objected, I was met with some objectionable behaviour and what appeared to be the only English language our European friend knew and could pronounce, which was clearly not taught at a citizen class at evening school. Quite astounded I withdrew and returned indoors to review my options in response to this assault on my ears, the council, although sympathetic, could do little, the police recorded an incident under the public order act, but I expect to hear no more, and it was at this point I realised the enormity of this guys actions.

It had suddenly occurred to me that because of this attitude his whole day was a waste of time, no amount of posting leaflets will give you a return on bad manners, and for every shiny mailshot distributed there will be ten families that will hear from word and mouth of the poor staff choices made by this apparent fledgling company.

Feeding National Pride

Food banks are becoming more and more common in the UK, helping struggling families to meet a basic standard of living, and I am embarrassed that we should need them. These charities are kept running by either a sterling donation or one of food directly, with support from the public, some supermarkets and local churches, and quite apart from fixing the problem, politicians are more than happy to pose for the camera supporting their great work.

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In order to qualify for this support, generally, you have to be referred by an agency or such like, social services, Doctors and in some cases the Church. On arrival you are given up to 5 days of food stuffs in relation to the size of family in question, in some cases clothes and footwear are offered, which have also been donated. We are reminded daily by media puppets and their parliament string pullers, of the benefits culture, but some of these families are just low wage earners, who are quite literally working themselves into poverty.

Historically governments have treated the poor and the reliant with an appalling attitude, entire families in workhouses, orphans shipped off to countries in need of labour, and asylums locking away the mentally fragile, and yes, all this in the 20th century. Hopefully the mistakes of the past will not be repeated in this century and to provide help where it is needed domestically before outpouring our resources to the rest of the planet.

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Britain-Back To The Drawing Board

When you look back to the 1950’s and 60’s it would be impossible to imagine that our economy today could sustain such a lifestyle, with station masters on train platforms, a Matron on every hospital ward and Police houses dotted around our countryside, of course then we lived in a nationalised Britain, but is that why we suffer today?

brStreamlining and consolidation are words that we have come to define as cuts, and these are to be made on the only industries that remain in the public domain, health, education and policing, all else was sold to private companies in order streamline and consolidate our transport system, electricity, gas and water, leaving us with a pot full of money, but no revenue.

And the money has gone and we are left to pick up the cost of privatisation, whilst supporting those very companies with tax breaks and other subsidies. So now you would be hard pressed to find a porter on a platform, a Matron in ten wards and the police have to move in to fire stations or supermarket broom cupboards to save money, while boardrooms get more crowded.

Perhaps a simplistic view, but, maybe that is what is needed, to take a step back and look at our situation from a child’s perspective, we may discover a few answers or at least realise you have to work from the top first.

A Public Affair

In the last couple of decades or so, reality television has captured the public’s imagination, with shows such as “Big brother”, “shipwrecked” and even “The only way is Essex, and as interest has grown so has the format for such projects. But why would anyone want to use such a platform to air their family grievances in front of millions?

Some years ago The Jeremy Kyle show appeared on our screens in the UK and immediately had a cult following, from mum’s returning from the school run to students slowly rising from their slumber, this 9.25am appointment has been kept by the thousands. It also has had no shortage of participants to fill the gap of our weekday lives in order to expose the world to a myriad of characters from a massive topic base, infidelity, parenting and paternal issues, and the occasional heart warming and rendering stories from those desperate for help.

Although any remuneration has been a closely guarded secret for years, we do know that they are often provided with hotel accommodation and treated like chat show guest celebrities, or indeed they are until they try to dominate our living rooms with some of the worst behaviour that civilised humans could display. The host supposedly acting as intermediate to some of societies less articulate, who parade and preform, watched by a sometimes baying crowd. When watching, my spirits are curiously lifted, as I look around me and see none of the traits being broadcast and no intent of a “5 minutes of fame” experience.

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Such as the popularity of these programmes on both sides of the pond, that we have a new contender for life’s forgotten few to find recourse in the form of legal shows, “Judge Rinder” is out of the same barn that gives us the “Kyle” show and is dedicated to resolving court issues in the comfort of our sitting rooms, and no doubt educate a generation of “Barrack room layers” that every public house has stood at the bar.

Spare The Rod

In these days of modern enlightenment on the various medical conditions that have gone unrecognised for decades, we are now able to treat young people for a myriad of behaviour changing ailments for which we now know to exist in our society. And being aware of these problems allow us to tolerate such debilitating diagnosed mental issues in a sympathetic way, but are these simply lifestyle choices that a few children have been allowed to make?

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I will not dispute that these conditions are real or that families suffer greatly from a child suffering from them, I perhaps do not agree that all are genuine or as extreme that some would like us to think they are. Punishing a 21st century child is a far escape from that of not so long ago when corporal punishment was given freely in schools and in the home, with little in the way of reason, this almost expected form of discipline was often the result of a military background, and produced similar offspring.

Those methods of yesteryear have quite rightly been outlawed over the years, mainly due to the severity of some cases, but has created a scenario where the child almost chooses their own punishment without fear of physical contact, and at the same time giving them the choice of misbehaviour that they will perform in order to receive their “Grounding”.

Again, I sympathise with those who struggle on a daily basis and hope they are given help by all of society, but it is a shame to think that some could be “cured” by the touch of a hand.