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LAURA CRAIK IS UPFRONT

Laura Craik on businesses’ lazy Covid
get-out clauses, the problem with digital
domination and Miu Miu’s latest reveal

I recently spent all day waiting for a parcel
that several texts and emails informed me would arrive between 08.26 and 12.26. Given it came at 18.30, I’m not sure why there was a need for such specificity. But it’s all fine: the delivery company’s website explained that resourcing issues, associated self-isolation and safety measures might result in delays.

This morning, an email from
another company apologised for my order being late. ‘A little delay,’ it said, accompanied by a photo of a smiling woman clapping her hand to her head in a ‘duh’ gesture, like she’d just farted at a dinner party. I wonder what my customers would say if I used the same breezy disclaimers for failing to provide the service they’d paid for. As a freelancer, I’d jeopardise my chances of re-employment exponentially.

Whether you’re calling your bank, doctor or ISP, the recorded message is the same, a Covid bingo cliché featuring words like ‘unprecedented’, ‘volume’ and ‘bear with us’. Alas, there are no such insincere get-out clauses for the 736,000 self-employed Londoners who know only too well that the buck stops with them. We can’t delegate. We can’t excuse. We just have to get on with it.

“Whoever you CALL,
THE recorded message is the same, a COVID
BINGO cliché of words like ‘VOLUME’ and
‘unprecedented’”

I choose to be self-employed, and am fortunate to be able to get on with it most of the time. I’ve worked through episodes of poor physical health more times than I care to remember, carrying on because I needed the money. This is nothing to be proud of. It’s really sad.
Sadder still is how common these scenarios are among self-employed people and those on zero-hours contracts, forced in perpetuity to prioritise their work over their health.

That’s what happens when you don’t get sick pay.
We all know that Covid and Brexit have decimated the workforce and the economy, but businesses can’t use them as excuses forever. More accountability is needed, and it needs to come from the top. Starting with the prime minister, who needs to make fewer shit jokes about ‘building back batter’, and quit abdicating responsibility for empty shelves and empty pumps.

Grin and bear with us:
has Covid and Brexit
put you on hold?

What a zuck-up

As Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram went down
last week, the world divided into two camps: those who felt blessed relief, and those who’d already downloaded Signal. Novel as it was, for the billions of users who rely on these platforms to
communicate with loved ones or run their businesses, it was impossible not to question why such a powerful monopoly is allowed to
exist.

Mark Zuckerberg may have lost an estimated £4.4bn from the outage, but he can
afford to. He bought Instagram and WhatsApp
because they were a threat, and nobody stopped him. The digital realm should be as assiduously policed for monopolies as the physical one. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

How low can you go?

Shown at Paris Fashion Week, Miu Miu’s SS22 collection has elicited both consternation and condemnation for its
short skirts and ultra low-rise waists, which hark back to the 2000s. Some critics say the look promotes a toxic diet culture, but as a pot-bellied person, I have to stick up for the low-rise waist, albeit I won’t be baring my midriff any
time soon.

Unless you have an
extremely flat stomach, the alternative — the high-rise waist — feels like a straight jacket that fashion has trapped us in for way too long. So thank you, Miu Miu, for your services to waistband diversity.

HOT:
Dictionaries

So that people, especially politicians like Dominic Raab, stop using words they don’t understand. Such as misogyny (n), a hatred or contempt for women and girls.

NOT:
sober october

Not this year, Satan. Getting through the month is challenge enough.