Happy Valentine’s Day from O2

10 Feb

Yesterday I received a package in the post from O2. Now whenever I get a package from a phone company I know it doesn’t mean good news, only that a large sum of money will soon be vacating my bank account.

Surprisingly this was a gift. I pause for shock…

A gift from O2 saying, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day from O2’. Enclosed within this package was two packets of love hearts, one packets of love heart double dips and a packet of jelly lips. Now I know those gifts are not of great value, but to be sent a gift from one of the world’s largest phone companies still meant something.

Having been watching Mary Portas new series about customer service I think this highlights what a difference a small gesture can make to a consumer. I immediately felt valued as a customer and have a better opinion of them as a company.

Mary Portas is slowly working her way through the high street to prove that we deserve better customer service by showing a few companies exactly how this can be done. It isn’t rocket science by any means, but from what her under cover shoppers show, they really need help. Ultimately, Mary is saying that it is time that companies stop putting profits above customer service. Thinking of the customer should always come first, either wise we as consumers should take our business, and more importantly our money, else where.

I for one hope that all businesses take a leaf out of Mary’s book and start to really think about the customer they are providing for, as a few sweets from O2 certainly worked on me.

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‘Fat Tax’

2 Feb

You know the feeling, you been out with friends, had a few (too many) drinks and you suddenly have an over whelming need to eat! Trolling the streets of your local town you search out the fluorescent lights which will mean one thing…takeaway!

The odd morning of waking with greasy fingers, pizza in the hair and the guilt of eating your body weight in fatty foods can be passed off, for some, as a monthly mistake but for others who partake in takeaway food on a daily basis there are more serious issues.

Now health conscious councils are trying to combat this issue with a £1,000 ‘fat tax’ on takeaways in an effort to tackle obesity. Kebab shops, chippies, and even branches of Macdonald’s could be forced to pay the tax before they are allowed to open. The money obtained from this tax would also go toward funding healthy eating campaigns and litter picking.

Town hall chiefs in Oldham, Manchester came up with the idea after discovering the shocking statistic that nearly one in five children aged 10 to 11 in their borough are obese.

Some critics have been worried that the tax could hurt independent businesses that cannot afford to pay the large amount of money. The real issue however is why fatty foods are being sold to children who are aged 10 and 11. Surely there should be something stopping people from selling to children who are such a young age.

It would be great if we all had self-control and were able to make the right decisions of what we should and shouldn’t eat but unfortunately that is clearly not true.

“In the UK it is estimated that in 2007, 60.8% of adults and 31.1% of children were overweight or obese, of these, 24% of adults and 16.8% of children were obese and that as many as 30,000 people die prematurely every year from obesity-related conditions.”

A tax on the foods we shouldn’t eat may be the answer to stopping us indulging in the cuisines we know we shouldn’t eat but just can’t resist. So MacDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Kebab shops etc should watch out.

Happiness matters?

26 Jan

While watching BBC Breakfast this morning in my usual sleep induced haze I heard the mention of a happiness challenge. Intrigued I clicked onto the BBC website and started to read about a new charity, Action for Happiness, which is being launched to try to spread the latest research and advice on how to be happier.

The charity is asking people to try out the ‘Happiness Challenge’ to see if it can make you happier.

There are just three parts to the challenge:

1. 10 minutes of daily mindfulness meditation

2. Writing down good things that happen to you and a letter expressing your gratitude

3. Doing one or more additional acts of kindness each day

I love the idea of people doing acts of kindness throughout the day as this can immediately make you feel good and make you feel like you have made a difference. I gave up my seat the other day to a pregnant woman and felt that I was helping all of womankind with this one simple gesture. (I may have milked it slightly!) Plus switch it round, when someone does a kind gesture that you weren’t expecting then it can totally change your mood, your day and let you see the generous nature of people that we sometimes forget. Writing a letting expressing your gratitude may be a bit soppy for my liking, but I bet none of us would mind receiving one.

I do like the idea of a charity trying to discover what makes us happy even if I’m not sure that I believe that the ‘happiness challenge’ will achieve this, it shows they care. Brands play on the idea of  happiness all the time, providing ways to make us all happier. Take Coca-cola for example, they invite you online to see their ‘happiness factory’ and have even released a happiness single?!  http://hf3.coca-cola.com/ Just google ‘happiness’ and you will be swamped by solutions and answers.

So take the happiness challenge and see if it can really make you happier! It may not work but it will certainly make you think and could just improve someone else ‘s day.

Fish Fight

13 Jan

Having sat down last night to see what televisionary delights were once again gracing our screens I came across the first of the ‘Fish Fight campaign’ programmes. This one was the first of a series of three by the ever amusing Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and follows his campaign about the sustainable use of fish from the seas.

Within about 5 minutes I was sucked in! Yes it is a programme about fish but also ultimately about waste and this episode focused on the catching and then discarding of fish in the North Sea. Around half of the fish caught are thrown back into our waters daily because of the quotas set by Europe’s common fisheries policy or because we as consumers don’t eat them and therefore they have no value. Almost all of these fish go back into the water dead. A crazy statistic I am sure you will agree.

According to Scientists cod needs to be protected as numbers have been dwindling for years and therefore specific quotas of cod are only allowed to be caught and brought back to land. However, and this is a big however, if fishermen are fishing in an area where a number of different fish swim it is obvious that cod will be caught. It is therefore incomprehensible that cod, caught by mistake, and already dead is then thrown back into the sea as it is against the law for them to bring it back into port.

Seeing thousands of tons of dead fish fly back into the sea only to sink to the bottom of the ocean is such an unnecessary waste. If we saw thousands of animals such as cows and pigs slaughtered and then just thrown away there would be uproar. As cliché as it sounds people across the world are starving, take Haiti for one example, and we are throwing away tons of fish that could feed thousands of people because a law has to be followed.

As Hugh FW and the fishermen he talks to point out, there clearly needs to be a revise of the current regulation and a more sensible way to help conserve fish numbers. As whether you speak to scientists or fishermen the end point is clear, the scale of waste we are producing is immoral and unnecessary and it needs to end.

And finally a point to the consumer; if we eat a wider range of fish species and branch out from cod, salmon and tuna we will reduce pressure on stocks. However that does unfortunately mean convincing people to try something new… I guess it’s up to us. (And 3 celebrity chefs!)

Join up to the fight at: http://www.fishfight.net/

Hello world!

13 Jan

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