The patron saint of purchasers takes a look at the month’s more unlikely procurement tales.
The British Heart Foundation was hoping you would wear red on
1 February, to support the fight against heart disease. But if you missed it, another reason could be to improve your confidence. Some 37 per cent of women say wearing red in the office makes them feel confident, a survey has found. The research also detailed five types of clothing people want banned from the workplace: hot pants; sheer blouses; low-cut tops; miniskirts; and Croc shoes. I have to agree with the last, despite my love of sandals. So swap attention-seeking flesh-flashing for
red apparel to save the heart health of those around you.
Best of British
When buying your red outfit spare a thought for the Bradshaw family, who are only buying British-made goods in 2013. Clothing has been a problem for Emily, James and their son as most items are made abroad. Emily resolved not to buy Christmas presents from firms not paying full rates of corporation tax and the project grew to support British-owned firms. They have struggled to find things like nappies and olive oil and have been using nasturtium seeds instead of black pepper – although James says they taste like “old man’s trousers”. As an Italian,
I don’t give them much hope of finding a good olive oil, but I wish them all the best.
Star Wars and stripes
The White House has rejected a petition to build a Death Star in space – a huge battle-station armed with a superlaser as seen in the Star Wars films. More than 34,000 people signed the petition, saying the project would spur job creation and strengthen defence. This prompted Paul Shawcross, chief of the science and space branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, to respond with This is not the petition response you are looking for. He explained the Obama administration “does not support blowing up planets”, and considers the $850 quadrillion cost too high. But he cheerfully pointed out all the space exploring the government is doing. He finished by saying: “Remember, the Death Star’s power to destroy a planet, or even a whole star system, is insignificant next to the power of the Force.” The number of signatures required to force the government to respond has been raised from 25,000 to 100,000 since this enquiry.
A cunning US software developer who worked from home reportedly paid a fifth of his six-figure salary to a company based in China to do his work for him, while he watched videos of cats and browsed eBay. According to Andrew Valentine’s risk blog (not a joke name, just very seasonal), the ‘US critical infrastrucure company’ the employee worked for noticed an active VPN connection from Shenyang. “He earned several hundred thousand dollars a year, and only had to pay the Chinese consulting firm about $50,000 (£31,500) annually.” I suspect the job has been outsourced to China.
Perhaps as a result of this person’s behaviour, Alpro tells me 10 per cent of employees are expected to be in the office at all times – even to eat. Out of 2,000 workers polled, a third eat a meal at their desk while one in 30 claim their job would be at risk if they don’t eat lunch in front of their computer. A quarter of employees eat breakfast at work too. But it’s not all bad news, as having more time to browse social media sites is a key reason. For some, this doesn’t even mean missing out on a full English, as one in 20 people manage a fry-up at their desk.
Chivalry is dead
Ah… February, the month when my old mate
St Valentine encourages those in relationships
to buy things (purchasing, as always, is to be encouraged) and those who aren’t in relationships to turn stalker. Too cynical? I think not, as the days of true chivalry are over, according to socked.co.uk (a gentlemanly black sock subscription service – brilliant idea, if I didn’t wear sandals). It said women find acts such as holding doors open and paying for meals “suspicious”. Apparently, 78 per cent of women would rather stay cold than accept a coat from a man and 89 per cent would rather be left alone to carry their own bags. However, in defence of womenkind, surely it depends if you are a complete stranger or not – I mean, would you give someone you didn’t know your bags? Or allow any old bloke to approach you with a coat? Terrifying. Perhaps, after all, this behaviour is best kept to Valentine’s Day only, for the sake of national security.
Tweet of the month
“There is scarcely anything
in the world that some man cannot make a little worse,
and sell a little more cheaply” - John Ruskin