Happier times when lunch meant real break
I’m pretty sure you’ll have noticed that we’ve been having some hot, sunny weather recently. As always it has given rise to inane front-page stories – this year by the not-too-bright Daily Express, which dumbs down anything that might pass as national or global news (unless it’s a piece knocking immigrants) and relegates it to the inside pages, choosing to inform its readers that we’re enjoying – or enduring, as that paper would have it – a heatwave.
As though we hadn’t already noticed the fact for ourselves.
Anyway, it was last Wednesday afternoon that I was chatting to a pale-faced but no less beautiful for that checkout lady, who was bemoaning the fact that she and her colleagues were unable to take full advantage of the sunshine (maybe she’d caught sight of the Daily Express front page).
“It’s all right for you,” she said, “we’re stuck in here all day…” Well, you know how it goes. You’ll have heard it a hundred times yourself over the past couple of weeks.
I said: “Perhaps they ought to re-introduce early closing day.”
The young lady looked blank and then totally amazed as I went on to explain, with the help of a lady of about my own age who stood behind me in the queue, how, in more civilized times, shops didn’t
‘We all had proper lunch hours, allowing staff to be human beings, rather than mere Bob Cratchits’
open on Wednesday afternoons. Nor did they open on Sundays, apart from a few newsagents who would open for an hour or two on Sunday mornings.
Those were the days, of course, before corporate greed became the norm and turned us into allconsuming termites.
In those happier days, too, we all had proper lunch hours; shops and offices closed between 1pm and 2pm, allowing staff to be human beings, rather than mere Bob Cratchits; easily replaceable cogs in the company machine.
Nowadays, I’m told, “lunch” no longer entails a visit to cafe or pub but is more likely to be a snack and a drink consumed at high speed in the workplace.
What makes matters worse is the fact that the snack is often a sandwich or a plastic pot of something barely edible which has been bought from a cooler cabinet and costing several hundred times more than the value of the ingredients.
Workers of the modern world, I pity you.