So there we all were – upstairs in Cafe Nero – four of us – all sitting alone, reading or surfing – quietly enjoying the peaceful ambience enhanced by some gentle classical music – and then this ends abrubtly with the arrival of two mums with toddlers – who proceded to run around and scream very loudly – (the toddlers not the mums) – This isn’t the first time it’s happened – Cafe Nero is effectively a no-go area on Saturday mornings because it fills up early on with young families. This is a good example of how child centeredness has gone too far. If this were any other demographic causing such a public disturbance it would be clamped down on, but we lamely tolerate it if it’s families with young children polluting the environment with their uncessary frivolities- the social norm is that the rest of us are expected to put up with it.
Personally I’ve had enough of this and think it’s unnacceptable – the general rule is that other people’s lifestyle choices should not inflict noise pollution on the general public – I say this should be generalised to families with young children too. Coffee shops are a relatively scarce resource – and all it takes is one family to ruin the atmosphere for any number of adults. I think I will start a campaign for child free restaurants and coffee shops – otherwise those of us that want a peaceful capuccino are effectively discriminated against because where there are other people’s children, there is rarely peace.
I also wonder if Neros, or any other coffee shop has actually done it’s market research – I wonder what proportion of people go to coffee shops for a civilised and peaceful experience – and how many avoid going because of the risk of becoming a victim of the ‘public violence of liberal parenting’. Surely there has to be scope for a child free coffee house or two in the local area???
I bought a cup of coffee from the Urban Kitchen earlier today – it had a code – lot 879 -attached to it – so I was able to look up details of where the coffee came from online.
How often can you say that about a product! This seams to me as one of the best types of fair trade out there – full information about where the product came from – and no attempt to brand it and associate it with a certain lifestyle – you go into a shop – get a menu which roughly outlines the flavour of the coffee – providing you with the option of looking into the productive processes under which the coffe was produced – and you drink it! No lies, no excess – just fair and simple.
Obviously where the product is fair trade – it is in the interests of the companies invovled to publicise details of the productive process – this is quite the opposite with many TNCs – who spend billions of dollars each year promoting their corporate brands but try to hide from view details of the lives of workers who produce the things that you and I (probably you more than I!) consume in our ignorance.
Perhaps apple should attach details to every ipod or pad outlining the conditions under which their ipods were produced – maybe including the name of one of the ten workers who have committed suicide after working in the aweful conditions in the Chinese factories where they are produced – maybe including the option to contribute to the family of the deceased?
Perhaps Coke should put photos of the farmers who no longer have access to water because their local Coke bottling plant drained all the water to make that aweful beverage? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyFsodVUd-o&feature=related
Surely consumers need access to such information in order to make informed choices about the products they buy! And I’m sure there’s some economic theory out there somewhere that market actors require effective access to information in order for the system to work more efectively??
Anyway, the message is – research before you buy – and then buy ethically – and if you can’t give up unethical products completely at least buy less of them or contact the companies and ask them to start treating their workers and neighbours with some respect – you would demand the same of others I am sure!