Trigger Warnings – None
Ah, yesterday’s post went down well it seemed, earned a few new subscribers – come on in guys, make yourselves a cup of tea or something, kick back and relax. So what’s the topic of the day? Well, following the news here in the UK, I decided to weigh in on the Cereal Killer cafe, the first ever cereal cafe in the UK, set up in London to provide breakfast cereals both beloved and rare at a bit of a hefty price but hey, it’s the current economy, what doesn’t come at a hefty price now? Channel 4 sent a reporter to visit the place and the reporter noted the cafe was set up in one of the poorest parts of the city but still charged the steep price of £3.20 a bowl and asked if the owners can really justify such prices. Yes. Yes they can, the owner fought his case poorly on the spot but he was distracted and not prepared for an interview, he later responded by letter much more eloquently but I thought I would say my piece as well because that’s what I do and that’s what you’re here for, I hope.
We live in a harsh economic climate really, independent businesses get it in the neck from all sides and I’ve even given bad reviews of one on here though I admit a personal motive was the basis for that and hey, that’s not cool but whatever, bygones and shit. Anyway, running a shop isn’t as simple as sell stuff, replace it, sell it, there are taxes, wages, bills, suppliers to keep happy, stocks to keep fresh, facilities to clean and maintain, the world doesn’t run on positive attitude alone, it runs on money and that’s just a fact of the world at the moment. If you are buying something, you are not just paying for that item alone, you are paying a value tax, you are paying the shop so it can resupply itself with more of that item and you are paying towards the profits and salaries of the business. You might protest “I don’t want to pay their wages, that’s their boss’s job” – Duh, of course but where does the money come from? Now this is less of an issue for big businesses with proper payroll and budgeting staff but a small business has to take all the money from one big pot and divide that fairly, it doesn’t have a head office or a human resources department to make sure every barista or shelf stacker is paid this month. You pay into that pot, you get your slice of carrot cake, your waitress gets her wage and if that upsets you then go make your own cake, simple.
Don’t get me wrong, £3.20 is probably steep for cereal but hey, this isn’t a bowl of Shreddies, this is imported rare cereal you can only find by obsessive hunting like the owners did and buying your own box of it would set you back a pretty penny so be grateful. The reporter said this wasn’t practical, they never set up their business with the intention of being a community service kitchen, it’s a luxury, it’s a once-a-week/once-a-month treat like a trip to Nando’s or Zizzi’s. The business certainly seemed busy anyway, you build it and they will come, perhaps for the novelty but as long as they make money then good on them and the owners even stated that if they’re a success, they’ll set up a charity programme to bring healthy breakfasts to local schools. I didn’t know it fell on the shoulders of two hipsters in a cafe to save us all from starvation and poverty but it’s been thrust upon them apparently so go buy a bowl and help them become a big deal so they can use their vast wealth to buy me a solid gold unicorn for this advertisement… I mean, save orphans, whatever.
Britain is currently trying to push this ‘support your local small business’ thing whilst also berating them for steep prices and pretentious attitudes but maybe the prices are so steep because these guys pay their taxes? Just a wild idea but perhaps a real push to support small business would be turning the critical tongue on Starbucks and getting them to start paying us back, how’s that? Prices would increase, sure, but then your small business has a chance of competing and at least you can feel morally righteous in paying for coffee that is tasty and giving back to the local economy, not just a CEO’s pocket. As for the attitude, the guy came off in the interview as a twat but hey I’ve been in management, if it gets busy, you become a twat, you reduce everything to priorities and run around doing everything whilst this annoying alarm goes off in your head like “But what about this? Is someone talking to you? Is everyone working as hard as they could be? Smile! Smile! Smile! Happy manager means happy customers, why aren’t you smiling dickhead?” so fuck, if I was being interviewed on the job, I’d probably slip some sort of faux-pas like saying the business isn’t for poor people or whatever, cut him some slack. Incidentally, in relation to my small business attack on here ages ago, my apologies, you were quite aggressive in your disposition and I took it as you being a stuck up cow but maybe you were stressed too, I appreciate customer service either makes you a ray of sunshine or a dormant axe murderer verging on being not so dormant.
Ok, this cereal cafe won’t save the world, heck, it might not even last past the novelty stage but if we’re expecting small businesses to fight the fight for a fair economy, let’s play fair with them and give them a fighting chance. The owners of this place don’t need me to fight their battle for them here, he was pretty on point in the letter but still, I’m sick of the media and the government looking to blame anything for anything. Steep prices in a capitalist society? OH NOES, THAT’S EVIL! No, it isn’t, it’s the price of not wanting your investment to make you homeless
Can I have a free box of cereal now?