Loblaws and dodgy paperwork

27 06 2015

A week or so ago, a Canadian supermarket chain – Loblaws – was in the news and being demonised by the media machine.

The gist of the story was that one of their Surrey supermarkets was being re-branded to one of their other lower-end shops. As a result the existing staff were offered a one-time deal to compensate them for the on-going lower package the cheaper brand would pay. The news story was around the fact that Loblaws had over-paid ~20 workers and was now asking them to repay the additional money.

Many of the affected people had already spent/invested the additional money… several thousand dollars on average.

Now, I regularly get my news from the CBC because, like their UK model the BBC, they tend to be more objective and use less hyperbole. That said, and despite the story running for a few days, it was never actually made plain whether the original offer was more than it should have been (in which case those affected would obviously make their decision as to whether to accept or not based on an inflated number) or whether the offer was correct but Loblaws had actually overpaid the stated amount (in which case one has to ask whether the recipients were actually immoral in spending/investing it without checking whether it was an error). Now the dust has settled, it seems the latter is the case, and these people, having agreed to some payment actually received more, spent it, and are now complaining that the company is asking for it back.

Am I missing something? Sure the company might have been a tad heavy-handed in asking for immediate repayment. But, I’m sorry, these employees knowingly cashed cheques for more money than they were expecting… and neglected to question whether, perhaps, possibly, some mistake had been made, and potentially this additional dosh wasn’t actually theirs to have. We’re not talking a rounding error here. I too might not blink if I received a dollar or two more than I’d been led to expect, but we’re talking THOUSANDS of dollars here! This feels more like wilful neglect bordering on knowing theft. Loblaws took the higher ground and backed right off. Hurray for media-led justice. Not.

OK, so enough in defence of Loblaws. One of their local brands is Canadian Superstore. We recently bought a packet of bread-buns. They are magical. They have an infinite best-before date! Miracle food indeed. It could solve world hunger.

Best before... WTF?!

Best before… WTF?!

If – as is more than likely – you’re not as anal and detail-oriented as QE, you may need a hint. Go look at the June page of your calendar. See any date missing? Aha, there you go.

Of course, it might be good until 15th June 2031 which, though not infinitely far away is still pretty good! (Canadian date formats are inconsistent at best due to British DDMMYY history, but US MMDDYY proximity. Japanese YYMMDD is not uncommon, as here, to try and avoid the issue altogether).

So – what have we learnt?

I reckon we’ve learnt that Loblaws are paying rock-bottom wages and as such employ people with only a tenuous grasp on the way time works and what morals are.

 

 





The Day Tour de Yorkshire came to Silsden

9 05 2015

Hot on the heels of the Yorkshire leg of the Tour de France, there is now The Tour de Yorkshire. I shit you not!

Here’s a write up from the 3rd of May, when it passed through my home village of Silsden: The Day Tour de Yorkshire came to Silsden | news.silsden.netnews.silsden.net.

news.silsden.net: Tour de Yorkshire

I confess I sat patiently through the entire scroll of 68 photos just to be amazed alternatively at (i) how much the village has changed since I left for university back in 1982, never to return and (ii) how much it was just the same as I left it.

The old millstone grit houses and sagging stone (not slate – sandstone) rooves made me briefly homesick. The sight of Ilkley moor in the background of the photos pointing up Bolton Rd. was a particularly fond memory. With or b’aht ‘at.

 





Another Sun Run behind me

19 04 2015

Well, I’ll not bore you with the details, but today I got a personal best (though not exactly record-breaking) in Vancouver’s 31st annual Sun Run – a 10km event. My group set off around 9:55, and though the staging area was in cool shade, it didn’t take long to get out into the sunny weather.

Vancouver

Vancouver Sun Run 2015 route

I’m not a big race fan, but I do like the Vancouver Sun Run. The atmosphere is always so generous and friendly. People line the route playing encouraging music (Elvis Costello’s “Pump it up” being an example today) and hold out witty signs to encourage the participants. Here’s a couple I passed on the home stretch, about 3km out, though I personally failed to get the power-up.

Source VS: Signs of encouragement on the home stretch

As I said though, the biggest thing for me (despite a bit of pushing and shoving – it is after all playoff season – and being tripped from behind by some knob with his kid in a pushchair who didn’t see any reason to apologise), is the generous nature of Vancouverites. I thought this photo from the Vancouver Sun of spectators offering encouraging high fives summed it up nicely. Well done Vancouver!

Source – VS: Vancouver Sun Run 2015

 





The thing about unconscious bias…

16 03 2015

… is that you don’t know you’re doing it!

Google chairman gets called out for cutting off a woman while talking about diversity.

Mashable: Eric Schmidt

Kudos to Judith Williams, who heads up Google’s unconscious bias program for calling out her own boss Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt as well as Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson for continually interrupting the United States’ Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith in a SXSW Interactive panel discussion.





Jean Vanier wins Templeton Prize

12 03 2015

Jean Vanier, Canadian advocate for mentally disabled people, wins $1.7M Templeton Prize – World – CBC News.

Jean Vanier, Canadian advocate for mentally disabled people, wins class=" " .7M Templeton Prize - World - CBC News

 

I caught this story on the news last night.
Vanier, founded the first L’Arche community in 1964 when he invited two mentally disabled men to leave their large institution and live with him in a small house in Trosly-Breuil, near Paris.
There are now well over 100 L’arche communities in tens of countries – all celebrating our shared humanity.

 

Coincidentally, I also saw this heart-warming news article yesterday.

Basketball players defend a bullied cheerleader with Down syndrome

 

The most promising thing about it was the age of the three basketball players. Their maturity and willingness to take a stance on the bullying of young cheerleader Desiree Andrews was most encouraging.

 





Faith in humanity

22 02 2015

I’m not big on religion. Any religion. At some level, it’s another name for politics and attempting to control the masses.

Faith though – I can respect that.

Faith is about what one believes. Religion is about people telling you the right way to do that. This story from Norway was lovely. A piece of news about individual expressions of faith.

Coexisting. Can’t beat that, in my view… nicely done, whatever label you choose to wear.

More than 1,000 Muslims form human shield around Oslo synagogue.

IMAGE: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY, NTB SCANPIX via Mashable





The perfect excuse

6 02 2015

According to the august aunty Beeb, too much running is bad for one. That’s good… my ankle was starting to hurt, and I needed a few days off the circuit, as it were.

The Vancouver Sun Run draws ever closer and my bloody FitBit sneers from my wrist if I dare to even consider watching a drama on TV.

My daily regimen consists of a sprightly walk at lunchtime – weather no matter (this is Vancouver – you’d be a bit limited if you were fussy about the rain). In the evenings I’d been alternating between the gym and a run, followed by walking the dog.

Once my ankle started to flare up (in sympathy with the hamstring and calf cramps that had preceded), I decided that perhaps this “mind over matter” thing had its limits. It wasn’t so much the low level pain. It was the blunt fact that I’m not getting any younger and am well and truly out of warranty now. I don’t think you can get the spare parts any more.

The last few days have seen me and devil-dog having über-long walks in the evening instead, rather than my run. This is much more gentle on my ankle, but I can still keep a decent pace, and it even seems to loosen up my ankle a bit. The added benefit is the hound drops straight asleep as soon as we return.

Anyway – all that just to say that the BBC concurs… too much exercise can be seriously bad for you. As bad as doing none at all! It can cause your body to reconfigure itself (and not just in the abs of steel way). Your very heart muscle can change in response to the extreme strain it’s being asked to work under, and that, dear reader, can be a very very bad thing indeed. So – as in many things, moderation is the key. Of course, sex and chocolate are exempt under royal decree, but it goes for pretty much everything else.

BBC News – Training very hard ‘as bad as no exercise at all’.

BBC: Ice-cream vans never used to be so hard to catch








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