How not to Tweet… a Christmas Eve Remedy Fail

How not to Tweet… a Christmas Eve Remedy Fail

On Christmas Eve I was enjoying the relative calmness brought on by the presence of a 3 year old surrounded by gift-wrapped marvels, casually refreshing twitter to escape the “NO, DON’T TOUCH THAT!” when I happened across a twitter interaction between Belfast Café/Bar Remedy. I then sat glued to my phone watching as the situation unraveled…it was like watching a car crash, there should be a button that lurkers can press on twitter that erects digital crash screens around an interaction to stop passersby ogling the carnage. There isn’t. I checked. It began with a customer expressing their dissatisfaction @cmidgley1988 Had breakfast in @RemedyBelfast this morning with my family, it was awful and overpriced. None of us will be back. Now, I’ve had similar expressions of disdain in the past about businesses I’ve worked for, and I’m firmly in the category of “You can’t please all of the people all of the time” and in fact to try to do so, is madness. Whoever was in charge of Remedy’s twitter account that day though, had no such qualms. Did they apologise? Did they ask what the issue was? Did they perhaps ignore it? Did they heck. Remedy took the bait. Once more, I’ve been in this situation before, a completely fabricated Trip Advisor review elicited a response from me that led to other customers suggesting that if there is ever a true a cyber war, I should be in charge of the press releases. It happens, when you work in a fast paced environment like a cafe on christmas eve morning in the centre of town, you are highly...

Bernie Smyth – Inadvertently Donating To Abortions

Bernie Smyth, one of Northern Ireland civic societies most divisive figures, was recently issued with a restraining order on Wednesday forbidding her from going within 20yards of the Marie Stopes clinic on Great Victoria Street, Belfast. Today, Friday, she broke the restraining order… the police were called, and after some deliberation and I assume a very uncomfortable phone call to some higher-ups in the PSNI, she was issued with a caution and sent on her way…. Bernie Smyth then retreated to a nearby Subway restaurant, one assumes she was speaking to her lawyer…or her god, could have been either. Which raises an entertaining little anecdote… Subway as a multi-national corporation, donates to many charities…one of which is the breast cancer charity Susan G Komen For The Cure who quite famously direct money towards a project run by Planned Parenthood. So Subway donates money and some of that money goes to a charity who facilitate abortions for women in need. So to Bernie Smyth I say this… I hope you didn’t know this, I hope you read this and realise that you are even slightly more mockable than yesterday. I hope you now devote your time to paranoid googling of every house or premises you ever go into. Of course seeing as you can’t read your own restraining order, I doubt...

How you can help a local food bank

The response to my article on why I wish I had access to a food bank when I was homeless has been inspiring, when I first appeared as a caller on the issue on BBC’s Talkback I felt there weren’t any other callers being particularly constructive, most seemed dismissive of the issue and some (including political representatives who should know better) seemed downright offensive of people already at their lowest point. The amount of people who have engaged with me about both my story and how they can help people who do need food banks completely caught me off guard. I have advised where i could but I wanted to do more. So here’s an idea… Many of you reading this will have jobs and coworkers who perhaps are as generous as you are for wanting to do something to make a difference… That is a great starting point. So set up a collection point! If you have a communal area at work, get a big box if you have one, any kind of container, maybe even just some desk space dedicated for a few days…some offices have those big custom made boxes for recycling batteries and printer ink cartridges, maybe recycle one of these? Put up some posters around the place to let people know what you are doing. Some statistics to perhaps put on your poster 2010-2011 – 61,468 people received 3 days’ emergency food from Trussell Trust Foodbanks 2011-2012 – 128,697 2012-2013 – 346,992 2013-2014 – 913,138 Among the most common reasons given for needing help are: Delays in Benefits, Low Income (including 0 hour contracts),...

I wish I had food banks when I was homeless.

The topic of food banks came up this morning on social media and on BBC Talkback, it’s an area I have particular interest in because when I was younger, I spent some years (fairly important formative ones at that…) homeless. It wasn’t that I was living rough per se. I did spend a good few nights in a car, but rarely consecutively and they were few and far between. I was in my mid teens, this was in the lead up to my GCSE’s, 13, 14 & 15, and I think everyone can agree, exam revision is hard enough without having to worry that when the school bell rang for end of day I would have to check my phone to see if my mother had text me the address of where we were staying for the night. We didn’t have food banks. We had very little of anything. This isn’t some puff piece about how the system failed us, I genuinely don’t think it did, we (she) failed the system. This is my story of a particularly rough time, and why more should be done for those in dire need and not just sneered at as benefit spongers and people looking for some free shopping, shame on you. If food banks save 1 life, they have served their purpose well. On most occasions we had a bit of stability in where we were staying, we would be in a shelter type accommodation for a couple of weeks at a time then get moved on to somewhere else. Her and her partner at the time had various issues, not...