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.
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!
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.
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.
Tearing open the parcel that had arrived for me, I quickly realised it was the item I had ordered from the on-line auction site Ebay only days before, a very specialised piece of equipment that I will not bore you with details of. After checking everything was just so, I continued to read the invoice and what I thought were shipping/specifications/instructions, so, imagine my disbelief when I discovered the dreaded junk mail.
The very thing that manages to instantly upset me and something I have dedicated my life to preventing, well maybe that’s a little extreme, but nether the less still annoying. The vendor of said object had taken their time to carefully pack the instrument for dispatch adding not one but three unrelated mail shots in the packaging, it is not as though they were advertising the goods they have on offer, but those of another company.
Armed with my new found knowledge of UPVC windows and an internet casino site, which I have need of neither, I decided that I would take action in the form of sending them back directly and to broadcast my opinions on the auction feed back forum. A slight strong you may think, but, if they are being paid to distribute these leaflets in the outgoing orders, then it may effect business if somebody were to highlight this.
Caveat venditor, seller beware.
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.
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.
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?
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.
We have all been a victim of bullying at one stage or another, even if you have been a bully, and the feeling is not a pleasant one. Believing yourself to be alone, constantly vulnerable and generally down are some of the emotions that are felt at this time, despite the well meaning intentions of others.
So I find astonishing that a school is reluctant to use its authority and stamp this abhorrent behaviour out as soon as it can, whilst it can, for they are the creators of adults, along with the sometimes luck lustre parents. The very fabric of society is nurtured and formed in this establishment, so we should expect more in the way that these institutions are morally run.
To my amazement the local school also has a different uniform code and incentive scheme for those who deem to disrupt classrooms and abuse teachers, by allowing them extra benefits from a lenient administration, whilst the more studious are berated for the most trivial of reasons in order to maintain standards. And while I am fully aware of the difficulties of raising children, some parents should hang their heads and be made to pay for what ultimately costs the rest of us, maybe hitting their pockets would change a few attitudes.
Every child has a right to an education, and to receive it in a decent protected environment away from the scourge of those that make it difficult or uncomfortable.
It is with great delight and gusto that I report that Eastleigh Borough Council have seen the light, engaged some common sense and have finally repaired a set of steps that could have caused injury, within only weeks of being notified. A triumph for the pedestrian users of the once unsafe and bedraggled path blighting their shopping area. But lets just save the victory dance for a while whilst we analyse what has been achieved.
As you may or may not know, I decided to track the progress of a report of a crumbling stairway in the public domain, So I set about this journey using the official routes and directions, It soon became apparent that ownership of this piece of land was in some kind of legal limbo, and EBC were refusing to repair it regardless of their duty of care, which they also disputed.
A battle of words ensued with various people of varying status within the halls of power, all of whom would impress upon me their unwillingness to provide their parishioners with adequate footings, other than a vain attempt to exclude the area with barriers. I did however manage to become somewhat of an irritant, perhaps only outdone by a well known laxative chocolate, and caused slight discomfort among our peers in a position of power that we gave them.
You must understand that I am fully aware that I was not the only person on this trail for clarity and safety, so I will not take all credit for a well produced result for local inhabitants, but I will reiterate that the powers to be had great reluctance in acting upon it, also my belief is that in the meantime an injury was sustained at this spot, which may have prompted action sooner than it would have.
So safe in the knowledge that the people of Hamble are once again safe from suffering, I will fall back into the shadows until stirred again and say my farewells to all my new friends like Mr Bright of the EBC.
For the full in depth story, scroll down and start from the beginning.