Apr. 10th, 2008

peterbirks: (Default)
Tesco is being sued because it would not help a disabled person use the "free air service" at its garage. Tesco's defence (not unreasonable, to be honest) is that it won't help anyone use the free air service, so it can hardly be accused of discriminating against the disabled for not offering them any help. Tesco also said in court that
"Tesco was not a garage and if it inflated tyres then it would have to have extra trained staff in ordewr to do so and substantially alter its business".

In other words, it was an economic decision, and that's fair enough.

That was the main news story, but the part that caught my eye was the reported mutterings of staff member Lynn Dutton, who had refused to inflate the tyres. When speaking to the subsequent claimant, did she use the argument cited by the Tesco lawyer in court?

Of course not. She said that shwe could not help because it was "a matter of insurance". Tesco's initial defence (before the matter came to court) was that it was a matter of "health and safety".

These are mantras ritualistically put out by jobsworths that are, quite simply, not true. If anyone ever tells you that something can't be done "'cos of the insurance, innit", simply ask for confirmation of that in writing. You won't get it.

I remember getting a Gucci watch serviced a few years ago. The sales assistant then attempted to sell me a five-year insurance policy on it.

"Who underwrites the policy?" I asked. (Surely a fair question, since you'd like to know whether you had a chance of being paid).

Utterly blank stare.

"So, you are trying to sell me a contract without knowing who the counterparty is?"

"It's for your peace of mind", he said, once again resorting to standard mantras.

"I'd have more peace of mind if I knew who was insuring me".


To make a mistake once is forgiveable, but to make it twice is careless.

Flushed with confidence at being five for five in my last few intraday currency trades, I took out a position 10 minutes before the interest rate announcement at noon. Although the market moved as I predicted on the .25% cut, I forgot that Finspreads stopped its online trading facility in the aftermath of interest rate announcements, on the grounds that the system would be overwhelmed. I suppose I could try to get through on the phone, but the gain/loss just isn't worth the hassle, so I'll wait for the online trading facility to be restored (rate swung down to 1.9770, back up to 1.9835, and is currently back down around 1.9880, equal to swings of about £50 at £100 a cent, all within two minutes of the announcement).


Online poker was amusing yesterday (ignoring the bad beats that continue to haunt). I logged into NoIQ, only to notice (not straight away - d'oh) that the software had changed rather dramatically. Specifically, the raise amount now follows the industry standard of "Raise to $x" rather than "Raise $x". An all-in button has also reappeared that you can't, at the moment, get rid of. Finally, Pokertracker wasn't importing the hands properly.

So, I went to the PT forum and PT Pat, gawd bless 'im, had got up a patch within only a few hours. Top marks to that man. Seven years or so I've been dealing with him, and he's still the best of the best when it comes to dealing with software changes.

I downloaded the patch, purged the faulty sessions, reimported, and I was away and running.

Except that, when I fired up Betfred (also on the IPnetwork), Betfred had not installed the upgrade! So, here I was, playing on potentially the same tables (although I never have the two skins open simultaneously) with completely different input formats for raising. Farcical.

At least I ended with a $50 winning session on Betfred, ending a sequence of nought for six.


There was an advert on one of the many sites that I visited this morning, featuring "The Denialers -- the family of four that consumes for 14". I assume that the rollover facility produced snippets of excuses from father, mother, son and daughter on why all of their expenses were necessary and they couldn't, just couldn't, cut down on their consumption levels.

I'm always suspicious of consumptions based on the lines of "I need" and "I have to have". It's a bit like the confusion that mixes a desire not to be upset with a fundamental human right. "Our employees have a right not to be abused in the course of their duty". Well, er, sorry, but they don't. They might not want that to happen, and you might be able to bar a person who is abusive, but there is no such thing as a "right not to be insulted". Similarly, no-one has "a right to walk the streets at night without fear". Sure, it's a nice thing to happen. It's a sign of a civilized society. But it isn't a fundamental right.

Are there any inalieanable rights, or are they all culturally specific? I've pondered this philosophical poser in the past, without coming to any satisfactory conclusion. However, I do feel that extending the concept of "wish" or "wouldn't it be nice if..." to the area of "rights" is to devealue the concept, which should perhaps be saved for things like "the right not to be murdered by a person without any fear of redress".


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