Airlines are screwing us!

I’m not the tallest person to fly, at five foot eleven inches I’m probably in the average category in terms of European and Americans. And yet when I sit in an economy seat on most airlines my knee touches the seat in front. When the person in front leans their seat back, there is a good chance my knee will be touching the metalwork of the seat back and they will be met with a yelp of pain as their action whacks me. Are they wrong? Am I sitting incorrectly? I think there is a third, quite obvious option. Airlines are making the space between seats too small.

Laptops used to be much bigger than they are today, but in the past I used to be able to use mine while flying in economy. Today’s seatback and table configuration are so small as to not allow a modern (smaller) laptop to be used without significant risk of it being crushed if the seat is reclined.

The space in economy is shrinking, each new plane or seat configuration finds ways to shave a couple of inches out of every seat.
The concept of premium economy came about when airlines realized people preferred specific seats. These are just the least crappy seats in economy, and now they charge extra for them.

Passengers fighting over the right to recline vs. having enough space to fully inflate your lungs is missing the point. Airlines are F&*^ing with their basic service to make economy so uncomfortable that passengers will pay extra for what was until very recently no cost options.
Flying is getting less pleasant and more expensive every year. Airlines are going out of their way to make it so.
Next time you’re in a plane and feel like fighting with another passenger over who gets the space, recliner or recline, think instead about blacklisting that particular airline.

When I book airline tickets I have a choice, and I actively choose to avoid certain airlines. It’s easy to do, and the compound effect of every flyer going through this simple equation is huge.

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Anarchy in the UK – Sainsbury’s style

When I was growing up there used to be this really annoying kid, (that I suspect was slightly mad), who used to have an opinion on absolutely everything, and he used to proceed to tell everyone how they should act in every situation. And every now and again I’d see this asshole limping or walking around with a black eye, because he would have told someone large and aggressive how they should do something and rather than receiving the usual response of “f&^k off” has received a wallop.

And there used to be this incredibly annoying old lady who was always on TV and in the papers telling everyone that they were wrong and that she was right. She even ended up having Pink Floyd write a song about her on the album pigs, with the memorable line “Whitehouse you fucked up old slag” in it, again a highly appropriate response.
And of course the US has their annoying bigoted assholes in the form of the religious right, epitomized by the incredible anti-social, racist sexist and generally nasty behavior of the Westborough Baptist Church.

Now all of these bigoted assholes have something in common, they truly believe that they know better than everyone else, and are proved to be soundly wrong by simple logic and ethical norms. But this doesn’t stop them being sociopathic pricks with a Napoleon complex.

But all of these loonies pale into insignificance when compared to the really incredible sociopathic pricks who now run Sainsbury’s, the supermarket chain in the UK.

Sainsbury’ are a pretty run-of-the-mill, supermarket in most respects. They sell the normal range of crap from poor quality frozen meat products with meat that probably shouldn’t be served to your cat, to vast quantities of sugary drinks and a massive volume of chocolate based products with enough sugar to kill the kidneys of everyone in the country, along with aisle after aisle of beer, wine, spirits, toxic cleaning products and virtually every other form of average supermarket fare.

And they also include a pharmacy in each store, and this is where the descendants of Mary Whitehouse clearly have found their power base.

All the staff in Sainsbury’s are dressed in high visibility jackets, because obviously this increases safety, while at the same time removing any semblance of human dignity, and that should have been a sign…

Some drugs (as in most pharmacies) are stocked behind the counter. And these either need a prescription or are limited to be sold by quantity and with advice on how they should be taken. That seems normal and somewhat expected.

But here’s is where things get very weird at Sainsbury’s.

Sainsbury’s now have a rule that says you can only by a single pack of aspirin. Why you ask? Asprin isn’t a controlled substance. Well Sainsbury’s have decided that for health and safety reasons they will not sell you more than one packet of aspirin at a time.

Now you can buy a packet of 128 tabs if you like, but you are not allowed to by 2 packets of 16.

Why? Well the only reason I can think of is that Sainsbury’s have hired a bunch of brainless sociopathic morons who spend their time telling others how to live their lives.

You can buy a dozen bottles of vodka, or a pallet load of beer, or enough chocolate and coke to lead to your presence on a reality TV show about the morbidly obese. You can literally buy a rope (to hang yourself with) at Sainsbury’s, and you can buy 128 Aspirins, 64 Paracetamol and 64 Iburprofen tablets at the same time.

Just so long as you don’t buy more than one packet of each type. Buying a massive volume in a single packet is okay, but buying a smaller volume across multiple packets is not okay.

I’m sure the Westborough Baptist Church, and every other opinionated idiot in the world, worships at the head office of Sainsbury’s sales training department.

When I was hit by this illogical, petty bureaucratic nonsense as I was being checked out by a pleasant enough (but clearly emotionally beaten by life) lady at the conveyor belt, I asked to speak to a manager. The manager was duly called and some sole-less but in all other respects normal looking bloke in an orange high visibility jacket told be “that it was more than his job was worth to sell me 2 x 16 Aspirins”.

And what could I say, yes he was right it was more than his job was worth. Working for Sainsbury’s is that worthless!

I shook his hand out of pity for his wasted, pointless existence, took my single packet of Aspirin and walked out into the bright evening, in the certain knowledge that if I never shop at a Sainsbury’s store ever again in my life, and never have to think about the petty minded, idiots who spend their time thinking up ways other people should behave I will be happier and freer.

A little update to this story – had a call from Sainsbury’s today, they are changing their policy, you can now get two packets of aspirin at a time. They really don’t get it…..

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There are about seven billion people on earth.

And the average person expects to live for around seventy five years.

If you wanted to think about each person alive at the moment you could afford to give each person around 1/200th of a second of thought individually.

So it’s not that surprising that we give most people on earth very little thought.
I’ve never been deeply sad. I’ve lost people I love to horrible diseases, and some to old age, but I don’t know what it could feel like to be so sad that I wouldn’t want to live any more, I guess I’ve never been depressed.

And then someone that you know peripherally through their work dies by their own hand, and each of us wonders if that was anything, however small we could have done that would have made their lives just a little bit better, maybe enough that they wouldn’t have wanted to kill themselves.

It’s a simplistic thought, and most of us know that it’s not practical to think retrospectively. Would’ve, should’ve, could’ve just wastes energy and almost never changes future behavior.

This week Robin Williams, one of the funniest people I have ever seen took his own life! Someone whose drama, comedy and banter was always something to treasure. I love his films, his standup, his sitcoms and interviews. But wow what a price to pay for talent. I never knew that his private thoughts were so tormented. I know I wasn’t alone, the people whose lives were better for his creative output must be at least in the hundreds of millions.

Truly shocking to find out that someone who seemed so together, intelligent, and in tune with and able to influence human emotions is such nice ways was so unhappy, even just for moments (however long or short) of his life.

If makes you realize just how fragile happiness can be.

I take pleasure in making people feel good, and I do hope that sometimes I make a difference in some people’s lives.

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