There has been disappointment reported all over the UK today (Thursday 26 November), but it is very hard to judge who is feeling most thwarted by the news. At Mitchells & Butlers 1,300 staff have been made redundant at brands such as Harvester and Toby Carvery, where much of the blame has been cast at those who have recklessly returned more than once to the ‘all you can eat salad bar’, with some defying science and the definition of a meniscus with their coleslaw and iceberg lettuce piled crazily high. The group also includes the All Bar One brand which is a shade cooler, with a brunch menu and ‘designer cocktails’, but redundancies are expected across the group.
It is a really tough time for the hospitality industry, many bars and restaurants saying that they turnover 20 per cent of their total annual income during the month of December. Rival publican Fuller's also announced the axing of 350 workers this Thursday as key workers in the industry claim they have been ‘scapegoated’ by the Government who have also, it is alleged, urged people to 'drink responsibly'. With 99 per cent of the UK crawling into ‘tiers two and three’ once the lockdown door is pushed ajar next Thursday, it is a long walk down to Cornwall for a pint and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc which you can still drink inside if accompanied by a doctor, have a virtual donor card and can recite the Government restrictions in the original gobbledegook.
Down the road at Virgin Money there was more disappointment as Britain’s sixth biggest bank reported a third successive year of losses after setting aside more than half a billion pounds in expectation of defaults by borrowers. The expectation is that some of their customers will default on personal loans, credit card bills, overdraft limits, business loans, as well as (presumably) their gym membership, the return flight to Orlando and a flight into space.
Virgin Money made loan loss provisions of £501 million for the year to September, up from £153 million in 2019, while emphasising that there had been no deterioration in credit quality to date. The provision was slightly higher than City expectations, who are starting to think that after three years of losses at a bank ... maybe Virgin just aren't very good at what they do.
Holidaymakers who have booked to Spain and the US this Christmas, only to find they are not permitted to fly there, are disappointed that the new options open to them only include Bhutan, Timor-Leste, Mongolia, Aruba, and a number of Pacific Islands including Samoa and Tonga. Principally, their disenchantment is based on the fact that they have never heard any of those places and are shattered to discover that not one of them has an authentic Irish pub or decent water park.
But surely the most disappointed of all today are those who ordered the new PlayStation 5 from Amazon and instead received deliveries of cat food, a grill, some packing tape and a foot massager. Amazon has apologised for the error and has promised to look into the matter, but Aarati was not surprised by this report as she once ordered a cucumber from Morrison’s online delivery service, only to receive a substitution of a 2005 Ford Focus estate.