Blog Archive

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

OOO, Browns, M&S, Utterly Selfish, Tesco Online.

Welcome to September!

When did you last use OOO?

Is there any such thing as Out Of Office any more?

Should it be Out of Home Office or I Have No Office any more?

Thanks for your email. I no longer have an office so I am not sure if I can be Out Of Office any more. Anyway, I have just popped out to get some more face masks although I don't know if they will let me in the shop as I am out of face masks. Regardless of that, my phone is now my office so you can reach me anytime 😷

Browns Restaurant

We decided to venture out on a Monday night and try our first post lockdown meal out, encouraged by the government's £10 off scheme. With many places still shut, we decided to book one of our old favourites, Browns in Woodstock Road. Big mistake. My food was awful although my wife's was acceptable.

"Dear Browns
I had a terrible meal at your restaurant this evening.
It was my first meal out in 6 months and it was also my worst meal in 6 months.
But that was the food.
What really shocked me given all your re-assurances about the Health & Safety efforts you have made, was that not a single member of your staff appeared to be wearing a face mask.
You won't be seeing my face again."

My wife has coeliac disease, which means she can't eat gluten. One of the reasons we chose Browns is that they have a gluten-free menu. Unfortunately that was also a disappointment. As we went through the options on the 'gluten-free' menu, it turned out that the majority of the dishes were either unavailable, or worse, like the fish & chips, contained gluten. Not impressive. And actually quite dangerous.

Marks & Spencer

M&S have been attempting to re-invent themselves for over a decade now. One of my early memories was, aged about 15, being given some money by my father and told to go and buy some clothes. I went to M&S in Oxford Street and bought some orange corduroy trousers! Back then, it was where you went. Today is seems fewer and fewer people do that. Maybe many of their customers have died.

I still think their food is the best, but they need to sort their clothing and homeware. Perhaps they should just scrap it and concentrate on what they are so good at. Their partnership with Ocado starts today and I think it will serve them well. I am expecting my first order at 8pm this evening!

Recently they announced a further 7,000 staff redundancies which although very sad for those involved, may mean they are starting to get to grips with the problems. However, reducing store space will be harder.

I wish them luck.

So so so Selfish

I took my son to Matabiau station in Toulouse as he was getting a train to Bordeaux. It's a beautiful station, opened in 1856 and positioned on the banks of the Garonne close to the city centre.

Gare Toulouse Matabiau

I thought the bad traffic around the station was due to roadworks and heavy Friday evening traffic until I arrived and turned into the car park. Three cars were parked in front of the entrance barriers to the car park, in effect blocking off all access. They were unloading passengers and baggage, or in one case waiting for someone arriving. When the man arrived, instead of jumping straight in and driving off, he spent some time organising his bags in the boot of the car. After that, they drove to the barrier, took a ticket and disappeared inside. Bear in mind that the only way out is to enter the car park, which is free for 15 minutes, and then come out again.

How can people be so unbelievably selfish? I regret not having taken pictures of them as I am not sure anyone believes me.

To make matters worse, as we set off, our son messaged us to say his train was delayed and there was a women crying and screaming in the station saying she had just been robbed of her purse.

Tesco Online

I heard a BBC journalist explaining how Tesco's home delivery service personifies the acceleration that the pandemic has provoked. It took Tesco 20 years to develop its online service from 0 to 9% of its business. Then in the 3 months of the pandemic it shot up from 9 to 16%! What a great example of how 5 or 10 years of evolution have been compressed into the first half of 2020!

Quote for the month

“My main reason for not relaxing into contented retirement is that like most of you I am deeply concerned about the probability of massively harmful climate change and the need to do something about it now.” – Conjectures of an Independent Scientist, a talk at the Geological Society of London, 5th May 2011.
James Lovelock, who turned 101 this month and looks like and talks like a 75 year old.

"Evil can be unscrupulous, and good can't. Evil has nothing to stop it doing what it wants, while good has one hand tied behind its back. To do the things it needs to do to win, it'd have to become evil to do 'em.'"
Philip Pullman, The Secret Commonwealth.

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