29 comments on “Is this bird dim or what?

  1. “I’m the classic upper-middle-class urban shopper, spending two-thirds of our monthly food budget on a bulk delivery from Ocado”

    upper middle class people writing for the Guardian? Amazed.

    What was the point of the article? Just a vehicle for the usual Guardian Leftist tropes?

    * Anti-capitalism – check
    * Tories are nasty – check
    * Poor people eat badly – check
    * Drop a few hints about how well off I am – check
    * Emote a bit – check

  2. Being well off is significantly correlated with being near a Waitrose.

    Waitrose putting a store near you is significantly causal with a large number of well-off people living near you _and_ there not already being a Waitrose.

    What about any of this:

    Her main areas of interest are social class; economic, social and spatial segregation; the British education system; public policy; built-up areas; mass media and popular cultures. Through these themes she tries to examine how individuals interact with their physical, cultural and social environments. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Demos advisory council.

    would make you think that a basic understanding of reality was likely to be present?

  3. A bit like the tourist overheard in Cologne/Köln who thought it a pity that they had put the cathedral so close to the railway station.

  4. “Well-off people tend to have fewer sources of stress in their lives”

    Yes, those fewer sources of stress include a hugely important customer emailing on Sunday to say she’s “frustrated” at having to move a meeting because I’m not available. Because of another meeting with the same customer.

    Living off the labour of others, being waited on hand and foot by the State, and being content with £1 microwave cheeseburgers is just so much more stressful!

  5. Interesting, BiG. Do you actually find what you’ve described “stressful”?
    Not being able to afford the next meal’s, stressful. Being in physical danger’s stressful.
    What you’re describing would, to me, be mildly challenging. You are, after all, doing this voluntarily. Don’t like it, walk away.
    It’s things one can’t walk away from, are “stressful”. The rest’s fun.
    Maybe it’s a difference in life experience thing?

  6. My job entails spending a fair amount of time being extremely nice to customers who are shouting for no good reason (very occasionally for good reason).

    My leisure time entails spending a fair amount of time being extremely nice to suppliers who are shouting for no good reason. While the latter is just a consequence of the German service mentality, the asymmetry does get to me, yes.

    Apart from that, I really like what I do. I guess most people are just a bit more shouty than I am. And I genuinely think if you can’t move a teleconference for 4 people by 30 minutes because someone else in your organisation already booked me, then your organisation is making too many people waste too much time in too many meetings.

  7. Having 3 kids, a large mortgage and losing your job is stressful.

    Clients emailing at the weekend is part of the job.

  8. Having actually read the article, i can’t find much in it to argue with. An unfortunate reversal of the prevalence of Waitroses. Can’t say I particularly buy into the “supermarkets close small shops” meme.
    Guy was pontificating in my direction, recently. How he always uses small shops & browses around the produce market for a couple hours on a Saturday. Everyone ought to do this, he reckons.
    He owns his own business & has a non-working wife at home.
    What can you say?

  9. @BoaB

    No, having 3 jobs, a large boat and losing your kids is stressful.

    It’s all a question of perspective!

  10. I wonder if, fundamentally, we are hardwired to find what we do lots of to be stressful. Would be rather ironic.

  11. @BiG
    I’ve long suspected, each individual has a worry quotient. They worry at a constant rate, irrespective of the subject matter. So if no matters of great concern are available, trivialities will suffice.
    But that quotient isn’t fixed. The lack of things to worry about can serve to increase it. Conversely, if you’ve ever been through major disaster, it can dwindle away to almost nothing.
    Stress is similar.
    Few years back, having been robbed, found myself miles from anywhere, in a country I don’t speak the language, without the laptop does translations, bereft of passport, any form of ID, check book, credit cards, phone, the lot. All that was left was a small amount of cash.
    One of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in years. Enormous fun & totally unstressful.

  12. Err, no. By and large Waitrose tends to put shops where people tend to be well off.

    Quick, someone suggest to her that the cheapest way to end poverty in the UK is to build a Waitrose in every neighbourhood in the country.

  13. “Let’s take the Asda closest to my mother’s house, outside Birmingham, whose opening in 2009 in effect closed down most of the local shops (including the butcher’s and greengrocer’s, where once she might have had genuine, perhaps even “engaged” conversations with fellow shoppers)”

    Because you can’t have genuine conversations in Asda.

  14. Steve, you can, but…

    True story – the handle on my mezzaluna came loose, and a friend told me she’d bought a really nice one in Asda, a little round one that fitted into the base unit.

    I duly trotted to our biggest local store, looked around, couldn’t see it & asked an assistant.

    Furrowed brows all round… As it was wood, they directed me to the chopping boards, whereupon I spotted it. ‘Aw’, says the assistant (in tow), ‘You meant the ‘erb chopper!’.

    Sure enough, the label on the shelf read ‘Herb chopper’.

  15. Julia M,

    What is the point of your story?

    Possibly you are telling a story against yourself as a pompous twat, in which case I applaud your self-deprecation and apologise. But otherwise?

  16. Mezzaluna, half moon (though crescent moon would be a better description). No, I had no idea what it was either until the end of the story, possibly because it’s a distinctly middle-class herb chopper, one of those useless gadgets good for display in a pristine kitchen where Waitrose warmups are warmed up, rather than good for use in a kitchen that gets used.

  17. ” it’s a distinctly middle-class herb chopper, one of those useless gadgets good for display in a pristine kitchen where Waitrose warmups are warmed up”

    In truth, it’s a useful bit of kit. Although I know it as a hachoir (to be honest, had to look the spelling up – my french isn’t that inclusive) Pretty standard french kitchen ware for those don’t fancy removing a fingertip with the Sabatier. Not much use to the english, whose herbs come in the packet sauce 😉

  18. @ Tim
    I was going to say “Err, yes” precisely because Waitrose puts shops in the vicinity of well-off people but ..
    Actually your Err, No is correct. because Waitrose puts shops where there are a lot of well-off people in the catchment area and it doesn’t worry how many poor people are in that catchment area as long as they are well-behaved (and preferably shop at Tesco).
    Yes, the bird is stupid because 2 pints of milk costs 80-odd pence so buying a cheap bottle for £1 is stupid, and just how fresh is sea bream that goes from trawler to lorry to new Billingsgate to Waitrose central distribution depot to local depot and waits for customer to observe it is available and order it, then collected by Ocado driver and delivered to Ms Hanley? And at half-price? Tesco call that “reduced for clearance” on stuff reaching its sell-by date.

  19. Julia, I thought you were talking about that insectoid slave thing with its brain on the outside from the scifi classic This Island Earth.

    Oh no, as you were. That’s metaluna.

  20. JuliaM,

    And yet, I once picked up some Chateau Gruaud-Larose in ASDA at a very decent price (that’s 2eme cru classe Bordeaux, normally only found in wine merchants). They also sell a really good knock-off version of the Moleskine notebook.

    It’s funny she mentions fish. My nearest Waitrose doesn’t have a fish counter, but ASDA has a well-stocked one.

  21. Looking at her picture, I’m guessing she is in no way related to the seriously not undrop dead gorgeous Jenny Hanley. Is there a horny male 1970s teenager who did not dream of the delectable Jenny and the sensational Agnetha in a threesome?

  22. @TheStigler: yes, our local Asda is very good for decent wine at rock bottom prices. And their fish counter is always good.

    But our Waitrose is in a class of its own. I got barramundi last year!

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