Sunday, 5 October 2014

Evil companies, stereotypes and coffee

A couple of weeks ago, our favourite coffee place in Walton (where we live) just closed out of the blue. We were really surprised as we thought they were doing really well, as the shop was almost always buzzing with people. So we did a bit of investigation and then found out the story $-$ the supermarket giant Tesco had invested in nearly 50% of the shares in the (originally) small coffee shop chain and opened several branches in some of their supermarkets. Only to successively close a few non-supermarket branches (which were opened before the take-over), including ours.

So we had to change coffee shop and had to (provisionally, I think) resort to one of the "Italian" places $-$ well, they do have Italian names (this, or this) and may be they are owned or founded by Italians, but they certainly do not exist in Italy... Anyway, the other day, Marta and I were in the local branch and while drinking our coffee, we noticed the big pictures on the wall, which are meant to portray Italian life, to give a touch of authenticity to the place.

There was a picture of a couple of old men sitting outside a bar, gesticulating and arguing. And another picture of a few young men checking out a girl who had just passed by. The immediate reaction was that it was a bit insulting, really, to get stereotyped like that. But then we also thought of something we had seen last week, when we were in Italy: a few men were preparing to carry a coffin, but as a girl wearing a rather short skirt walked by, all of them intently stared at her (no whistles or shouts, though).