You are a ‘certain age’ if you look back and remember Curly Wurlies to be the size of rope ladders and Wagon Wheels to replicate the dimensions of actual wagon wheels. You meet a teacher from your school days and they are diminutive, as in you can barely see them, and your classroom has the same dimensions as a store cupboard with little self-esteem.
Memory is distinctly unreliable, anyway. Without being aware of it you have many memories of events that never happened to you, or of the way people have described the event to you, not the way it actually happened. Apparently, one decently told parental story of a happening from your childhood will completely over-write the episode in your memory. So, what you are actually doing is carrying around others’ stories, prejudices and eccentricities with no reference to the actual experience. You really are your mother’s daughter (sorry!).
This natural shrinkage in life is taking place around the world at the moment. At one stage British Airways flew the largest number of Boeing 747s (‘Jumbo Jets’, for those of you who call a spade a weapon) on the planet, having 57 at their peak. It now has 31 and is quoting the pandemic as the reason for immediately replacing them all with less thirsty A350s and 787s (‘Dreamliners’ for those who just cannot help themselves).The same company is shrinking its workforce from 42,000 to 30,000, getting rid of all those pesky expensive ‘Legacy Fleet’ crew members and replacing them with those much more cooperative, cheaper ‘Mixed Fleet’ angels. They just happened to announce these two separate items of news on the same day … a good pandemic to bury bad news for the company which says it is spending £187m per week in cash at the moment to stay afloat, rather than in the air.
But that’s not all. Cadbury’s have announced that, by the end of 2021 all chocolate bars sold in multipacks will shrink, to contain no more than 200 calories each. Unfortunately, thinking about shrinking dulls the memory (see, told you - see above) as Cadbury’s have forgotten to reduce the price of these live-well-get-fit-be-strong-work-rest-play bars. Cadbury’s didn’t actually blame this on that naughty pandemic, but this is only because they forgot to.
The casino company Genting is to cut up to 1,642 jobs at clubs and hotels across the UK owing to Covid-19, in a move that the GMB trade union described as a ‘serious slap in the face’ to workers. The company, which is one of the largest casino operators in the UK, told staff at 27 of its venues that it intended to cut costs by shutting down services, including poker games and hospitality (but not ‘the odds’, we note). It will permanently close casinos in Margate, Torquay and Bristol, while other sites face severe job reductions, with some venues proposing to shed more than half of their employees. That’s rough news; if you can’t gamble on a rainy Thursday afternoon in Margate you might be forced to go out and get some kind of qualification.
Finally, my neighbour has shrunk the size of his family from two to one, when he moved in with his 22 year old girlfriend last weekend. He blamed the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason for replacing his wife saying, “I have been forced to downsize following Government enforced restrictions during lockdown. My thoughts are with my remaining family; and my girlfriend, mainly my girlfriend.”