“… we apologize for the inconvenience …” (it’s April Fools, and you’re it!)

Looking through the papers yesterday, or watching stories on the TV it was difficult to discern what was true or what were “April Fool” gags. Some of the real events should have fallen into the ‘you couldn’t make it up‘ category while others were just plainly bizarre to the extent that if you analyse any news story these days, they should all be of the “April Fool” variety.

Take the news that Tesco staff banned a customer from paying for his petrol using the £20 commemorative coins for instance. They then called the cops and banned him from the premises! Later they stuck up a sign saying,Please make sure you have significant funds to pay for your fuel. Sorry for any inconvenience. What’s really bizarre is the fake apology at the end … many folk will ask, when has a firm really been sorry for any inconvenience?

Another “you couldn’t make it up” event was Lady Gaga doing a “Big-Bird” impression in New York. That’s what happens when you let some celebrities go “free range” it seems.

Nike timeoutWhat is glaringly obvious is that Nike won’t be sorry for any of the inconvenience fans might face in wanting to purchase the Replica England Team World Cup shirt. At £90 each there’s an outcry at another rip-off to the extent that the Sports Minister is demanding Nike “rethink” – I wonder whether Nike will listen or ‘just do it’ anyway? Maybe that’s why their website was down. Possibly they were ‘rethinking’ as the Minister suggested, but they weren’t apologising.

And does the ECB’s gag on the news of Kevin Pietersen’s sacking actually help? The ECB might as well issue the following statement:

we apologise for the inconvenience of not letting you know the full story as to why we sacked Pietersen. We want you to speculate and spread rumours over the next number of months so that we can continue to say ‘no comment’ because we’ve been practising that line and it would be a pity to waste it.

There might have been some stocktaker’s eyes lighting up at the news that Heston Blumenthal was moving the Fat Duck down under for six months while the premises in Bray get a refurb. Heston intimated that he was shifting the eatery to Melbourne virtually lock, stock and even the sign to let the Aussies experience what his three-star dining is like. No ‘XXXX’ beer and beetroot with his burgers! He also said he was shifting the ‘whole team’ with him. And as Jon Rutter will tell you, a decent stocktaker is part of any team that makes a place profitable and function correctly. His role is just as vital as the sous chef or the front of house manager.

No one has yet confirmed whether this news of the move to the Antipodes is really an April Fool’s joke or whether it is serious. But if it is on the cards, then the £190.00 meal for two will see Sheila and Bruce shelling out AUD350.00.

But I’m sure the management will apologise to Bruce for this inconvenience, and of course they will mean it too.

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4 weekends till Christmas … your lights up yet?

0599-christmas-1100026406-10232013Only four more weekends till Christmas (or five if you’re into Hogmanay)! Time to arrange for the holidays is rapidly slipping away. By now you would expect all the pubs and restaurants to have finalised their festive menus and some may already be fully booked for the ‘Big Feast’ whether it be on Christmas Eve or even on Christmas Day. Decorations have been popping up on lampposts and over mantels all over the country and the music mix you hear in malls and shops has changed and the next number one on the Official Singles Charts are all being punted, depending on the preferences and taste of whoever happens to be managing the playlists.

And ‘Taste’ is such an individual thing – what appeals to some will be offensive to others. Like the photo taken of Roy Loxton. He was minding his own business, doing his work and someone asked him if they could take his picture. He said yes and the snap appeared in the local newspaper. Someone complained that a pic of Mr Loxton at work, as a gravedigger, in a hole, smiling, was in ‘bad taste’ so his work from the one funeral home has been slashed. 

But nothing can beat the Aussies when it comes to ‘tasteful’ Christmas decorations this year. David Richards and his family made a comeback from his defeat to the USA last year to regain the Guinness World Record with his 330 000+ Christmas light display on his house. His array of twinkling lights costs him £1,400.00 a month to run – but at least he doesn’t have any heating bills as the average temperature in Canberra at this time of the year is 25° (still a lot cooler than the temperature the England team are facing on the cricket field though). Part of the fallout for his success and notoriety however is that some of his neighbours haven’t spoken to him since 2011 when he won the last time. Wonder why?

It’s probably just as well that clubs, pubs and restaurants don’t go too over the top on the decorations seeing as there are more stringent rules and regs. than in Oz. Can you imagine the nightmare the poor stocktakers would have to go through if they had to account for extra fairy-lights and a bumped up electric bill? And how many people REALLY successfully keep last year’s lights for this year – I wonder how many stocktakers have become adept at untangling green wire while trying hard not to break the delicate bulbs for their customers?

Jon Rutter and his team of stocktakers have been working hard to make sure that pubs and clubs are all stocked up in time for next week’s second Ashes Test so that keen cricket followers can sit back and enjoy the game, although how they’re going to deal with the 11 hour time difference is not clear. And Australia has 5 different time zones to make it even more confusing.

So when they bowl the first ball at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday it will be 11:00pm on Wednesday night in London. Extra stamina for the second and third sessions between lunch and stumps is required.