The Jubilee: A Tale of Two Pensioners.

The scene: a small local pharmacy.

The occasion: an elderly gentleman, around 80-90 years old, with the assistance of two walking sticks, making his way to the counter.

The event: said elderly gentleman requests his prescription medicines, multiple large and heavy bags worth of pills.

The discussion:

‘I can’t carry these home, they are too heavy, can they be delivered please?’

‘The next delivery won’t be made until Wednesday I’m afraid’ replies the cashier.

‘But I can’t wait until then for my medicine’

‘Well you can carry them home now if you like?’ responds the ambivalent cashier, ignorant of the man’s age or that his own means of staying upright was through the use of two sticks gripped in both hands.

‘But I can’t carry them, they are too heavy, and I have no free hands’ is the meek and slightly desperate response.

‘Well like I say, the delivery goes out on Wednesday’.

‘Why not before?’

‘Well we are closed for the Jubilee you see’ [that would be Sunday, Monday and Tuesday the man would now have to wait].

‘But that’s not good enough, I need my medicine, I won’t make…’ he pauses, ‘I can’t wait that long’.

‘Well I don’t know what we can do about that I’m afraid’ if all the help provided in the store, and the elderly gentleman makes his way to a seat, slightly confounded by the situation.

Now, in observing this amazing exchange, the eventual conclusion was reached where, after some ten minutes of calling around, the pharmacy managed to find someone with a relationship to the man in question, to assist him, a happy resolution to a situation that saw the mobility challenged pensioner breathing himself into a panic attack, thanks to the initial disregard. A mess cleaned up, but a dangerous situation created in the first place, that could have been avoided.

Why was this the case? Because a very different pensioner is having a party, a party which will have the same impact on the economy and public services as if a general strike had been called.

Want a party? Have it on the weekend, but don’t let this indulgence risk the lives of others, because that is what is happening. Few people seem to be aware of the second bank holiday, the second day of ‘celebration’, and many more will be caught out like this gentleman was today. The stress witnessed today was completely unnecessary and the direct product of this ridiculous extravagance. We can only hope that, for the sake of a party on a weekday, that nothing worse than stress occurs, because what was witnessed today could have been much much worse.

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  1. I might have to stop following this blog. What a preposterous argument to blame the Queen for the shop staff’s rudeness. Ridiculous. Unless you think, by the same reasoning, that we should cancel Christmas

    • If every now and again a second day of Christmas was dropped in with limited promotion, then yes, maybe we should, because it would equally inconvenience a whole host of people. The point here is one of public services being rather randomly withdrawn for a party.

      Just to clarify, at no point does this post criticise the Queen per se, what it does criticise is the unnecessary closing down of the country for two days to mark the fact that she, well, exists.

      (I like the threat of you no longer following though, as if this is going to change the fairly clear political leanings of this blog.)

    • sian
    • June 18th, 2012

    Maybe he could have managed to carry his medication if he was given a carrier bag (for free!)

    • You might want to brush up on your understanding of the law Sian, prescription medicines are exempt from the 5p bag charge.

        • sian
        • June 19th, 2012

        The shop could also open on the Bank holidays, if they truly believed that their loyalties lay with Wales and the wellbeing of the people of Wales, unless of course patriotism only applies when it suits?
        Bank holidays are not compulsory. Did you work on the Bank Holiday? And if you did, did you work at your usual rate of pay?

  2. Not entirely sure what point you are trying to make there Sian, what does the post have to do with Wales and loyalty? The compromising of patient care seems somewhat more relevant to the topic, but do carry on with your rather obscure tangent…or read the post and comments, your contributions may serve to be more valid were you to do so.

      • sian
      • June 19th, 2012

      “The point here is one of public services being rather randomly withdrawn for a party.

      Just to clarify, at no point does this post criticise the Queen per se, what it does criticise is the unnecessary closing down of the country for two days to mark the fact that she, well, exists. ”

      Just to clarify eyeonwales, the point I’m making is that this poor pensioner was not denied his prescription drugs due to the “party” to mark the fact that the Queen “exists”, he was denied them due to the actions of the pharmacy staff.
      Did you work, or did you “party”?

      • Thanks for the clarification, your emphasis on ‘loyalty to Wales’ rather confused what you were trying to say.

        Your argument is flawed because you cannot separate the two, the ‘party’, or bank holidays, existed because of the jubilee. Without the indulgence of the jubilee, there would have been no issue – the issue exists because of it.

        You seem very insistent on what I did? Well, I had to work from home, as my employer arbitrarily closed down for two days. There was certainly no party. No choice offered here, as appeared to be the case with the pharmacy workers, their business (this pharmacy was part of a well known chain) was closing for the two days, not just that one particular example. But again, you cannot escape from the fact that the issue was created by the ‘celebrations’.

        No anniversary indulgence, no problem.

        Oh, it would also be rude of me not to follow up your question and ask what you did on the two days, work or party?

    • sian
    • June 19th, 2012

    No problem re: clarification, although I have to wonder at your claimed “confusion”?
    I don’t really see though that my argument is “flawed” any more than yours? The Jubilee was not an “indulgence”, it was a celebration, just as we celebrate St David’s day.
    Would you be opposed to making St David’s day a bank holiday? Personally, I think most Welsh people would welcome an official celebration of St David. It would not be an indulgence.
    Oh, and don’t fret, I would have excused your rudeness had you not followed up my question, however, in reply to you – I worked.

    • The confusion? Well, you started with an inaccurate tangent on 5p bag regulation, then started talking about the pharmacies loyalty to Wales, before eventually coming around to the theme of the blog entry, that’s where the confusion is to be found.

      Not an indulgence? Well there’s a subject for debate no. Elsewhere you have cited the proposed (but not implemented) £400k translation costs for the Welsh Government. That could be considered an indulgence, certainly, if it had happened, which it didn’t. A two day ‘celebration’ that directly cost the British economy £1billion in lost revenue, and further indirect costs amounting to over another £2billion, is a definite indulgence.

      As for St David’s Day, well, it would be nice, but it’s not on the table as an option, nor is it overly necessary (specifically for this day that is, the need for more bank holidays in Britain as a whole is generally recognized). It is celebrated by many in Wales regardless, an annual parade is held, events across communities and schools are enjoyed, without the tax payer having to bend over or businesses having to suffer enforced closure (the day off on the bank holiday is a legal right of workers, so yes, the pharmacy had to close for the one day, then chose to for the second, though thanks to the randomness of the second day, few employers or employees fully understood what the legal requirements of the day actually were). Yet were it to become a bank holiday, it would not necessarily result in the same problem, because it would, theoretically, become an annual event, as opposed to this one off under-publicised occasion. This customer, as were many across Wales and Britain, was left surprised at the indulgence (yes, sticking with that terminology) of a second day off for the majority of business and service providers, and inconvenienced because of it – the ‘it’ being the Jubilee.

    • sian
    • June 19th, 2012

    Eyeonwales, please tell me where you get these figures from? And please clarify, how much of this is paid by the people of Wales? After all, this is “eyeonwales” is it not?
    Much of the expense was donated, to quote…
    “Sunday’s Thames diamond jubilee pageant, which cost £10.5m, was paid for by donations to a privately-funded charitable trust, the Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation.”
    This is just one example, there are many more which you will find, if you do your research.
    Much of the celebrations were also paid for by the Greater London Authority.
    And don’t forget, many businesses in Wales were glad of the celebrations as it generated income for them, restaurants, pubs, clubs, theme parks, taxi drivers, shops (yes, many were willing to open!) and many others actually benefitted from the bank holiday
    Also, bank holidays are not a “legal right” to all workers. Some people even have to work on Christmas Day. What would have happened in our hospitals if everyone had decided to take a day off for the Jubilee? Please stop speaking “theoretically” and distorting facts to try to support your view. The Jubilee was not an” inconvenience” or an “indulgence” unless you chose to make it one.

    • Not sure if there is an emoticon on here for a single raised eyebrow, but describing the physical response will have to suffice for the moment.

      Let’s take these themes one at a time shall we.

      First off, after your 5p bag debacle, now you come out with the notion that workers do not have a legal right to a day off on a bank holiday. Put simply they do. There may be no legal right to pay on a bank holiday, and many employers will add a bank holiday to a contractually agreed total days of holiday, but the legal right to it is there – the fact you levy lines of ‘do your research’ in our direction is at times laughable.

      As for the rest of your response, you seem to be focusing on something that was not discussed. We have not raised any issue with privately funded elements of the event, we have raised issue with lost revenue for the economy. The cost of any bank holiday sets the British economy back by millions: http://www.cebr.com/?p=824. Local examples might be found in Hampshire: http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/9730514.__150m_cost_of_Diamond_Jubilee/. This bloomsberg summary is an interesting one for you as well: http://www.businessweek.com/videos/2012-06-04/the-cost-of-the-diamond-jubilee#r=related-rail-img. While highlighting the overall annual impact of the royals as a positive, it’s hard to escape the one off hits identified in the summary, which, as I’m sure you will realise, is far from covered by private donations. How is any of this justifiable in the current climate? How is the hundreds of thousands of pounds committed by local authorities, out of tax payers pockets, justified? There is nothing theoretical about the costs of this indulgence, and it comes at a time when we are all being squeezed. While the Jubilee was an inconvenience for many, it was an indulgence for all, whether we participated or not, we all paid for it.

    • sian
    • June 19th, 2012

    Eyeonwales, if you do find an emoticon with a single, raised eyebrow, please add one to my post if you will, oh and if you find one with two eyebrows raised in disbelief, you’d better add that one too….
    Now then, my 5p bag “debacle”. I will concede that I was unaware that prescription medicines were exempt from this charge (my pharmacy always charges for bags!) However, if this is the case, then why was this elderly gentleman not given all his pills in one bag? Surely pills could not fill several carrier bags?
    Quote from your original post… “The event: said elderly gentleman requests his prescription medicines, multiple large and heavy bags worth of pills.”
    How heavy can pills be!

    Now I will add quotes from the links you so kindly posted to try to prove your point that the Jubilee holiday was an expensive indulgence that caused a huge detrimental impact on the economy of Wales and risked lives…….
    This from http://www.cebr.com/?p=824
    “The sectors that lose from bank holidays are offices, factories and construction sites”….

    Not many huge factories or construction sites in Wales now, is there….
    And another quote…
    “Those that gain are retail, wholesale, hotels and restaurants”……
    I would say from this that Wales gained more than we lost, wouldn’t you?
    They also had this to say……
    “Special one-off bank holidays, such as the upcoming Jubilee, weigh less heavily on the economy than the eight normal bank holidays. This is because the tourism sector can get some benefit from additional foreign visitors and consumption might also be boosted by more than on a regular bank holiday….”

    And from your link.. http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/9730514.__150m_cost_of_Diamond_Jubilee/.
    “But it is also important to remember that there may be a significant boost for sectors such as tourism, restaurants, pubs and retailers…..
    And this…..
    “With an impressive array of events planned across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, the Diamond Jubilee promises to be highly memorable.”
    “Most importantly the ‘feel-good factor’ that the celebrations will bring and the benefits of returning to work fully refreshed after a break are something even the best accountant can’t measure.”
    But Chris Turner, chief executive of Winchester Business Improvement District, questioned whether the boost to the leisure economy was factored into the Hampshire statistic.
    “It is ignoring the boost for pubs and restaurants, the take-up of extra staff.
    “A third of the Winchester BID members are footfall-oriented and there’s great enthusiasm for the Jubilee and the Olympics.”
    “Professor Turner warned: “We are talking ourselves into a downward spiral.”
    All of these quotes were contained within the links which you provided. Even ignoring the fact that none of the links were for publications in Wales, and there was far less spent on the Jubilee in Wales than in England, you cannot deny that there was definitely a silver lining for many from the Jubilee celebrations!

    I guess some people just see their glass as half empty, while others of us see it as half full…

    Oh, and in reply to your accusation that my “notion” was incorrect…
    “Now you come out with the notion that workers do not have a legal right to a day off on a bank holiday. Put simply they do.”

    This information was taken from the citizens advice website…
    Time off work on bank and public holidays
    “Although many workers are given time off work on bank and public holidays, your employer is not required by law to allow you time off work on these days. And if they do give you the time off, they do not have to pay you for this time off. However, your contract of employment may give you the right to time off work on bank and public holidays. If so, it will also specify whether this time off will be paid or not.”
    If they are giving incorrect advice, and workers have a legal right to a day off on a bank holiday, please inform them that their “notion” is also wrong.
    When you find the appropriate emoticon, please add it to my post.

    • Blimey you’ve rambled on there a bit – wish I had your time to indulge, alas, I’ll have to be brief.

      1. How heavy can his medicines be? Well, some people are just that sick, and require large volumes of medication. However, this individual, if you bother to read everything rather than just quoting what fits your point, was reliant on two walking sticks, i.e. no free hands.

      2. We never stated that the Jubilee had a huge detrimental impact, we suggested it was a waste of money, two very different things. The point being made was that this is waste at a time when we are forced into tightening our purse strings – how is it justifiable? Not economically, because the four days cost more than they stimulated. Whether the spend impact in Wales was lesser than it was in England, does not detract from the point that it was still wasted/lost money.

      3. Your core evidence from quotes relies on statements such as ‘can get some benefit’, ‘may be a significant boost’, while you round things off with an apparent feel good factor that ‘can’t be measured’. Your evidence is based on possibilities, rather than realities, come back when you have something that shows the four days as not incurring more of a cost on the tax payer than they saw back, and you might have something useful to add. As it is, you rely on the possibility on the positives rather than anything of substance.

      4. The one thing you might have some weight on is the issue of bank holidays. You are correct in the sense that a bank holiday on its own is not an automatic right to a day off from work, however bank holidays are usually included within the minimum days off required for employees in Britain, making them de facto entitled days off.

      Finally, there is a relevant thread dealing with the Jubilee in detail, I suggest you investigate that thread, your posts are becoming increasingly distant from the central tenant of the original post. Happy to continue this, but in its right place.

    • sian
    • June 20th, 2012

    Well, obviously not that brief were you?!
    I really cannot believe you’re still trying to promote this fantasy situation as fact, and furthermore, to use it to try to sully the celebrations for the Queen’s Jubilee. However, I will indulge you for a moment more whilst I try to point out to you just how flawed your argument is.

    1.If this gentleman indeed did have so many pills that they could not be put in a carrier bag for him to carry over his wrist whilst still being able to use a stick, then his pills must have been so numerous and he must have been in such a bad way, that he really should have been hospitalised. (Although if this was the case, then why did the staff not consider just giving him enough pills to last him over the weekend until they could deliver the rest?) Unless of course, all this actually took place in Llareggub!

    2. Maybe you never “stated” that the Jubilee had a huge detrimental impact, but this is certainly what it looks like you were trying to imply. After all, giving the above story as an example of the impact, is surely not just “suggesting it is a waste of money”? When you state ……
    “A party which will have the same impact on the economy and public services as if a general strike had been called.”
    That sounds as though you think it has a pretty detrimental impact to me…!

    3. My core evidence from quotes is, actually extracted from the links which, you yourself provided.
    If you cannot accept these quotes, are realities, then why do you use them?

    4. I’m pleased that you can, at least concede that you were completely wrong, and that workers do not have a legal right to a day off on a bank holiday. They have a legal right to holidays….but not bank holidays.

    Finally, I find your arguments flawed and your viewpoint narrow and based on fantasy stories. I have no desire to continue this debate with you, on this thread, or any other. I think I will be going in the same direction as Huw Silk and stop visiting this site. However, I will offer my thanks, once again for pointing me in the direction of the Gogwatch site, at least there, the evidence provided is fact, not fantasy.

    • Bless you Sian for your entertaining ramblings, they will no doubt find a favourable home on gogwatch. If you are gone for good, so be it, but let’s tackle your points all the same.

      1. This is not a fantasy scenario, the original author was sat in the pharmacy watching the ridiculous situation pan out. The gentleman seemed to want his medication in order to avoid going to hospital, seems the sort of reason you might have prescription medicines. The gentleman in question made the point in the store that his medication was usually delivered, but due to the jubilee, yes, that event again having a direct impact, the deliveries were not going to go out for four days…after which you would have your wish, and the man will have been hospitalized. Staff at the store, told him he could wait for the delivery of take them home then, which as established was impossible. Here’s hoping you are not a carer for the elderly Sian, seems like they would be a terrible inconvenience for you.

      2. It’s still not stressing it is inherently detrimental, but in terms of money wasted/lost, we would be looking at the same impact. Now, if you want to talk about detriment, then fine, do you think that the loss of billions to the British economy might be detrimental Sian, or are we just fine with that sort of loss?

      3. Yes your quotes came from resources provided for you (god forbid you do any of your own research), yet instead of relying on the statistical data, you relied on the ‘possibilities’. Possibilities are not evidence, they are things that might happen. How you use evidence is essential to the weight of any argument, you use evidence poorly, thereby rendering your views a blank sheet of paper, light and empty.

      4. I don’t think we admitted to being wrong on anything, we clarified a point that to all practical purposes remains the same, the legal right to those days exists, of which bank holidays are included. So the point ultimately stands, were you to drag your head out of the sand long enough to read it.

      Finally, it would be a shame to see you go Sian, your comments have been consistently amusing. Instead of once engaging with the actual subject matter, you have rambled off in all sorts of random directions with your discussion. So perhaps, on the off chance you do check in, I should leave you a couple of questions to think upon:

      1. Is it right for pensioners to be prevented access to medication because of a holiday?

      2. Can Britain justify billions of pounds worth of waste in an economic crises?

      They are really yes or no responses, so we would be very interested to hear your thoughts. In the mean time, pass our best on to gogwatch, I’m sure they will welcome your half baked debating skills ;)

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