Outrage at nothing, as Marks & Spencer allow some Muslim staff to avoid pork
Apparently, some Muslim members of Marks & Spencer's staff have been given permission to refuse to serve customers who are buying booze or pork products. Naturally, there's a Facebook campaign to boycott the retail chain.
Of course, the main gripe is that people think Muslims shouldn't be granted religious beliefs if it impedes their ability to work, but of course, the crux of the matter is this - 'Can you still buy pork and alcohol at M&S?'
The answer is: 'Don't ask such a stupid question'.
By and large, each of the big supermarkets deal with this sort of thing on a case-by-case basis as, in fact, most Muslim members of staff haven't raised it as an issue. However, there's a braying few who are under the impression that all Muslims are causing a problem - the problem being that you might get to a till and be asked to buy your products at another till, which happens to be a matter of centimetres away.
In the Telegraph, one customer recounted her story regarding the matter: "I had one bottle of champagne, and the lady, who was wearing a headscarf, was very apologetic but said she could not serve me. She told me to wait until another member of staff was available. I was taken aback. I was a bit surprised. I've never come across that before."
The key points here: The woman serving was polite and apologetic and the customer bought booze all the same. So yeah, let's boycott that shall we?
M&S spokesman said: “We recognise that some of our employees practise religions that restrict the food or drink they can handle, or that mean they cannot work at certain times. M&S promotes an environment free from discrimination and so, where specific requests are made, we will always make reasonable adjustments to accommodate them, whilst ensuring high levels of customer service.”
If you look at the boycott page, people aren't at all happy about M&S being non-discriminatory or a Muslim being nice about the situation. Indeed, they're not bothered that M&S also allow Christians to not work on Sundays and Jews to not work on a Saturday, if that's what they believe. The boycotters are proclaiming that they're taking their custom elsewhere.
Maybe they'll go to Sainsbury's who have a policy that people don't have to do things that go against their religion? Or perhaps they'll go to Morrisons who have a long-standing rule of not forcing religious people to do tasks that contravene their beliefs? Or maybe Tesco who say "It would not make sense to have somebody on the till if they cannot handle certain items."
Seeing as this has been something that the major supermarkets have done for a while and everyone has been able to get easy access to whatever meat and booze they want, it seems that this boycott is as useful as a teapot made from mist. All religious staff with issues are moved to other jobs in supermarkets, leaving the tills occupied by people who can serve anything. Pretty simple really - the retailers want to make it really easy for you to spend your money, because believe it or not, that's all they're interested in.
M&S have offered a needless apology, saying: "We regret that in the highlighted case this was not delivered to our usual standards. We would like to apologise for any resulting confusion and reassure our customers that this was an isolated incident. M&S offers an inclusive, secular environment for employees and customers, working closely with any employee with religious beliefs of any denomination that restrict specific food or drink handling."
"This policy has been successfully implemented over many years and does not compromise our ability to offer the highest level of customer service."
In conclusion, if you're thinking of boycotting supermarkets over something like this, good. Less dimwits for the rest of humankind to deal with day-in, day-out.