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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Token gestures

Waitrose are running a promotion that means that every time you buy something they give you a small green plastic token. On the way out of the store there are three large perspex containers with a slot in the top. Each container advertises a different local charity. You put your token into the container of your favoured charity. At the end of the month, Waitrose give money to the charities in proportion to wishes of the people and then changes to another three charities. The charities are supports groups for senile dementia, a drop-in centre for troubled teenagers, something for stroke victims, and so forth.

This being England, the animal charity always has about twice the tokens of any human-oriented charity, no matter what it is. At the moment, the animal charity is the local RSPCA centre, and it has more tokens than the other two put together. It makes you proud to come from a country which had a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals some years before it had a society for the prevention of cruelty to children. To be fair, children's work in mines was limited to a mere eight hours per day in 1833 -- only 11 years after the precursor to the RSPCA had been formed -- and it was only another decade before the subsequent Coal Mines Act of 1842 made it illegal for girls, boys under 10 and women to work in mines.

So, just to remind you of this critical measure: society for the prevention of cruelty to animals 1822, society for the prevention of cruelty to children 1884.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

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