Thursday, April 10, 2008

Why we lose facilities.

It seems Tesco's is being sued because they won't help a disabled person pump up her tyres. Read here.

Now I can understand that this woman has a problem pumping up her tyres. It's unfortunate but there are probably many things she cannot do on her own and there are probably many similar people in her situation. It's life for the disabled. It sucks but why does she frequent the Tesco service station where the attendants are not free to pump up her tyres. From the article they provide a free service at a service station for the disabled but she is not willing to put herself out. In modern Britain it's her right to have special treatment. We now have to cater for everything under the sun regardless of cost. This is, of course, a case for her local service station where she will get happy smiling service and her tyres pumped for her, of course it will cost her money but we all have to pay for things we can't do either.

The way I see it though is that Tescos, in this case, provide free air as a facility to it's customers. I would imagine it costs them very little in real terms but customers such as me appreciate it. A quick check and a pump up if necessary every time I feel like it whilst I am filling up. It only costs them the cost of the pump and the electrickery because they don't have to train their staff nor do they have to have their staff outside and thus they don't need to provide cover on the tills inside. In this case I see Tesco's actually bending over backwards to help this person and their reward is they are being sued. The disability acts and rights. Part of the reason we frequent these service stations, not just Tescos, is that with their high turnover with low staffing their prices are usually lower than the average filling station. It's the same argument for the local butchers etc. These people want the service of the local butcher, baker, filling station but pay the lower price only enabled by the way they work.

If they lose, and I suspect they will, then I would imagine the next step is for them to remove the pump from the forecourt or start charging a real fee for the service. Of course this will be done at every one of their filling stations not just here. Then of course all the other supermarket service stations will follow suit. After all they are in exactly the same situation. Many service stations only have one attendant on and just can't serve customers and pump air for free. I wonder if they could get away with charging a fee of £5 per session with it being free if you can do it yourself. Somehow I doubt it.

Of course it's not finished yet but if we lose our free air then we can chalk up another victory for our rights and I'm actually thinking that I don't know any places where air is available, never mind free, outside filling stations that are set up similar to Tescos. In fact I think the Tescos pumps here have a higher level of manning than most. Even if they win it's cost them the price of *cough* justice in the UK plus a lot of bad press just for being the good guys and providing a free service. From my reading of blogs in the US Tesco's is the UK equivalent of Wallmart. It's hated for it's success. It makes me wonder if this person is being encouraged by the anti Tesco's/supermarket crowd. It's a win/win situation for them. She loses, the big bully company crushes a disabled women and if she wins the big bully company has been put in it's place and it will cost it money to fix it. It's almost as if this case was selected because of the situation.


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