The patron saint of purchasers takes a look at the month’s more unlikely business tales.
Hotel of horrors
From talking on the phone while checking in to threatening to write a bad online review, it seems many people feel so at home in hotels that they forget their manners. In a new report compiled by website thrilllist.com, staff listed some of their pet hates. These included the assumption that every staff member knows how to do all the jobs in the hotel and expecting them to do so, leaving rubbish - including empty, crushed beer cans and pizza boxes - in the hallway and getting angry when you arrive and your room isn’t ready. Even though your check-in’s for 3pm and you’ve arrived at 11am. One of the funniest? Guests denying watching adult TV channels even though it shows up on itemised bills.
There truly are no barriers to the future. A Norwegian, Miguel Valenzuela, has built a 3D printer out of Lego – and is using it to make pancakes. His PancakeBot, which uses AutoCAD to draw the designs, was built to inspire children to become interested in engineering. Videos posted on YouTube show it ‘printing’ words and designs. If you are interested why not head to the website pancakebot.com where the 115-page manual can be downloaded for free. But do remember, as the site points out, pancake batter is not included.
A recent freedom of information request by breakdown service LV=Road Rescue reveals what many have long suspected - there are currently some 25,000 incomplete roadworks on British roads, covering 2,387 miles. It will come as no surprise that some take months to complete. These include Carey Street in London and the A629 Brow Lane in Halifax where work started over 18 months ago. While local authorities have been investing millions on their roads, most motorists feel road quality is getting worse. The council with the most outstanding road maintenance projects? Suffolk County Council.
Wheely quite scary
In an amendment to the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic it was agreed that drivers can take their hands off the wheel of self-driving cars. Pushed for by the high-end carmakers of France, Italy and Germany it means the possibility of ‘autonomous’ vehicles draws ever nearer. Europe’s carmakers believe they are ahead of the US (and Google’s model), as in 2013 Mercedes-Benz developed an S-class limousine that drove between Mannheim and Pforzheim without “any driver input”. But who will pay the speeding fine?
Remember your cape
The power of outfits and their effect on wearers has been born out by ‘enclothed cognition’, which suggests that what we wear can affect our mental state. Karen Pine, professor of developmental psychology, University of Hertfordshire, writes in a Huffington Post blog how her students rated themselves more likeable and superior when wearing a Superman t-shirt. Pine suggests that ‘happy’ clothes, like a well-cut dress and playful patterns, will lift moods.
On the same site, Diana Verde Nieto, answers the ‘argument’ that women are too emotional for top corporate positions by suggesting that not only does emotion have a place in the boardroom, it can increase success at work. How? She cites research from Harvard Law School showing that the higher the levels of emotional intelligence, the more a person is trusted as a business partner. And openess works to foster receptiveness and bolster morale. So power suit up and fly!
Mind the (lack of a) gap…
France’s national rail operator SNCF has been in the news lately – for all the wrong reasons. The company, which runs the country’s TGV fast trains, is feeling the heat after it emerged that its new-generation regional trains are too wide to fit into 1,300 stations. Platforms at these stations will have to be ‘shaved’ to fit the new trains. With an estimated price tag of some £40.5 million, the mistake has been greeted with outrage in the austerity-hit country. How did it happen? SNCF based its measurements on figures provided by rail network operator RFF, which advised the company that regional station widths varied “by around 10cm in all”. However, it failed to take into account that those stations built over 50 years ago are significantly narrower than more recent builds. Thus the newest trains – built some 20cm wider – are unable to fit into them. “We discovered the problem a litte late,” said RFF spokesman Christophe Piednoël.
Yes! If you are applying to the procurement department... “@bubusn: Can you list “shopping”
as a hobby in your CV?” @seun_ara