Monday, December 23, 2013

Special treatment?

When is it OK to make exceptions?

In life we make exceptions all the time, we don't force family members or work colleagues to eat things they don't like even though no harm would come to them if they did; we are tolerant of different choices in entertainment, sport and all manner of interests and hobbies even when sometimes those activities impinge on others; even in the thorny area of politics we celebrate diversity and equate it with the health of our society. Organisations and societies make exceptions for people all the time, so why then would some people get upset about a Muslim shop worker refusing to serve someone with alcohol in M&S, isn't this just another justifiable reason for exception making?

There are of course two sides to this story, some of us look at it and think how trivial, what's all the fuss about, a classic "non-story", exceptions are made for things like this all the time. On the other hand some look at it and think, is this a slippery slope?, should a line in the sand be drawn? Personally I think this is an overreaction by some, there are clear precedents for dealing with certain goods such as alcohol, cigarettes and pornography in most shops. In most supermarkets there are already procedures in place for under 18's to sell products only intended for over 18's, i.e. a supervisor comes over and authorises the purchase, in a well run shop this needn't delay the customer at all. I don't understand why M&S couldn't employ a similar process if certain employees have "problems" with certain products.

I guess a slight delay in buying Christmas Champagne brings the clash of cultures into sharp relief for some middle class commentators, shame it took so long.

No comments: