Marks and Spencer have not had a great run up to the Christmas period. There has been a slump in its clothing sales and its share price has taken a dive.
Whilst the marketing team are trying to get the message out that there are sales to end all sales, the PC brigade have put a spanner in the works confirming that any Muslim till assistant offended by pork or alcohol would not have to serve the disbeliever loitering at their till.
This means that staff perfectly happy to take money from the business in their pay packets can refuse to serve its customers.
If M&S are going to make special rules to suit everyone, just how big is the M&S rulebook going to be? It will take a flagship store to hold the thing.
As an M&S employee I would be questioning how much time I was going to be spending on the tills to compensate for those of a nervous disposition offended by a bit of ham and the odd bottle of bubbly.
The brilliant British public had all sorts of important questions. What will happen to Percy Pigs? I suggested Hallal Hens. What percentage of pork actually means you won't serve me? Do Frazzles count? What about a cheese and bacon quiche?
How long would it be I wondered until all M&S staff can express their disgust at customers' choices? In the fitting rooms "Do you like these trousers on me?" "No madam, they make your arse look huge and you have a camel toe the size of Alice".
If they are going to bow to every ridiculous religious whim, why not go the whole hog and have men enter through the front doors and women shuffle in with their heads bowed through the delivery hatch wearing an M&S blackout curtain for full compliance?
I wouldn't be quite so fit to explode if I felt that all this bowing and scraping to religion worked both ways.
M&S is supposed to stand for everything British. It flies the flag of Red, white and blue and reassures us that our High Street still stands for something. It is comfort fit trousers, Helen Mirren, two meals for a tenner and the best-fitting bras on the High Street.
Allowing themselves to be distracted by religious preferences of their staff is to lose focus of the one thing that really matters - their customers.
Ask someone to wait at a till point whilst another member of staff is called to serve you and all the surrounding commotion it causes and you won't have many customers left for very long.
Sometimes it would be good if we spent more time protecting the culture others have chosen to join rather than defending the rights of those that have chosen to join it.
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