TANSTAAFL…

I’m not a fan of Tesco, but generally in moments of time constrained apathy you’ll find me shopping there, sacrificing personal ethic for convenience… bit like so many other folk. However, this week has hardened my resolve – for a little while at least (At least I’m honest about my soft ethics and not joking about the time constraints).

Druidry at its heart focuses upon honourable relationship; with nature, with other humans, with other-than-humans. The relationship that is being engendered here is not honourable, and has resonance with the slavery of times (thankfully/mostly) gone by. It is a truism that anything which is free is generally worth what you pay for it, but here we have presumably worthwhile work that is valued at nothing beyond the bus-fare it takes to get the worker to the work. I wonder how valued someone can feel if their employer feels their input is worth nothing.

“Sam – Customer Relations” told me on Tesco’s Facebook page that “The advert was a mistake caused by an IT error by Jobcentre Plus and is being rectified”, and for a time I had a dialogue there with her about that. Then I was pointed at the European Job Mobility Portal, to where this same ‘job offer’ had been made previously and still stood. Sam, methinks you lie.

Now, I’m not wholly against work for welfare within sharply delineated conditions. I do believe people feel better for being in work, and I do believe it is easy to become trapped in no-work and assistance cum gentle compulsion to give work a go is beneficial to the individual as well as to the society at large. However, I do feel that working should bring financial benefit over not working, even if only a little, and I do not believe corporates should benefit from free or even cheap labour. There are other areas where such labour could benefit society… gardening for the elderly, litter clearance, public rights of way and public space enhancement, lots of opportunities for able people to do positive work that profits only the society in which they live.

The vitriol that’s pouring out on the Tesco Facebook page heartens me – we are not yet beaten as a nation. It’s making the media elsewhere too. That time may come if we start tolerating exploitation such as this, but on the other hand this is the stuff that revolutions are born of. Not that I seek a revolution… I may be up against the wall with the rest! In the meantime there is a petition against WorkFare whether petitions do anything at all is moot, but other than taking to the streets, or flash mobbing Tesco with a hundred filled trolleys abandoned at every check-out… hmm… only non-perishables folks, otherwise it’s wasting food. lol.

I found out about TANSTAAFL many years ago from the great author Robert Heinlein… TANSTAAFL… There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. As true now as it ever was. I do think Tesco are going to eventually realise this is a public relations disaster. If only a percentage of the folk who have pledged never to shop at Tesco ever again actually shop elsewhere even for a few weeks, they’ll feel it – the message, and the graphic above, is going viral. I wonder too how the rest of the Tesco employees feel, watching folk do their jobs for effectively nothing… must make them feel vulnerable, undervalued, worthless. Every Little Hurts…

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