11 August 2017

Greggs - Ballards Lane, Finchley Central, London N3

Mr Mustard had to meet a lady about her PCN & car tow away in Brent and as she lived nearby they arranged to meet in Costa in Ballards Lane N3. Mr Mustard was stood outside as he was, as per usual, early. He heard shouting from across the road. He saw an apparently homeless man sitting quietly minding his own business on the pavement at the left hand edge of the Greggs shop and to the right, next to the open front door, a female Greggs employee with a mop & bucket. She was washing the black frontage. She shouted at the homeless man to 'go away' more than once. Mr Mustard, who used, once upon a time, to volunteer in the Crisis at Christmas homeless shelters, felt very uncomfortable with this. Then he sadly realised what was going to happen when the man didn't move, which was that the employee sloshed her bucket of water onto the ground in front of the shop, just to the left of the front door.

Now you can't drop a bucket of water on the floor without it spreading sideways in all directions and it duly reached where the poor homeless man was sitting and it caused him to move pretty sharpish. At this point Mr Mustard took to Twitter as he didn't have time to get further involved.

Mr Mustard has now got back to his office and had time to have a quick look at the social responsibility pages on the Greggs website, which includes the following snippets,

Clearly at senior level Greggs have the right idea but the message has not reached to one member of shop staff.

Firstly, why didn't the employee simply say to the man 'Please could you move for a few minutes as I want to wash the shop front?' as an innoffensive homeless person is deserving of as much decency & politeness as customers of Greggs; remember he was simply sitting there minding his own business. If he was being uncooperative then maybe you just wait and wash the shop front later?

The second thing is that the pavement fronting onto Greggs appears to be the public highway so she had no right to order him about, she would not have done it to Mr Msuatrd if he had stood there on his mobile phone. The homeless man is not a lesser being, he is a human being, in a lesser state at the moment. The pavement is his home. Homelessness is not, in a way, our, society's, problem, it is the problem of the homeless themselves. Once you hit rock bottom, no home, no job, no money, no food, no doctor, no shelter or safety, no toilet or shower facilities, no friends, no family, no health & no prospects, what you don't need is to be shouted at and splashed with water (luckily it is a warm sunny day but getting wet is one of the biggest problems to face the homeless) but some help, a place of refuge, some help fixing the drink &/or drug and/or mental health problems which may exist and then perhaps some work may be possible, is the solution that is needed and an advanced society's duty to assist.

Mr Mustard can easily appreciate how no food business would want a person camped out outside their shop making it look untidy & perhaps innocently sending customers elsewhere (30 years ago Mr Mustard lived in Potters Bar and the local tramp was no fool, he used to sit quietly on the wall near the cashpoint and the bakers where people fed him and gave him money) but the misguided actions of this one employee (Mr Mustard is assuming this event was a one off unless you know better, residents of Finchley Central) are not the answer. Mr Mustard does not want the employee to be sacked (as losing your job can lead to losing your home) but to be educated about her attitude, manner and behaviour.

Greggs have got far more financial resources than most and perhaps could help in London by working once again with charities and local authorities to try and get some of these people off the street with a helping hand rather than trying to get them washed away.

Moving on the homeless is not the answer, the street is their home. You wouldn't want to be there.

Mr Mustard started the day at 7am the happiest he has been in a long time. This unfortunate event marred his morning & made him sad. Hopefully Greggs, who will be tweeted a direct link to this blog and will hopefully update us as to what they have done about this member of shop staff, will become part of the solution rather than be a problem. Don't just think of the PR aspect Greggs, think what you can do to help as that will naturally bring benefits to you & make Mr Mustard happy again.

Now, back to parking tickets.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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