Off The Record: Spotless Machines / Bank Holidays / Raab / Don’t Cross Carrie / Benefits

Boris Johnson Carrie off the record spotless machines TUC bank holidays
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Why it pays to keep gaming machines spotless, the power of Carrie and why the industry should join forces with the TUC – hot topics covered by Coinslot’s mystery Arcadian in this week’s edition of Off The Record.


Spotless machines are about a lot more than Covid


Despite all of the evidence pointing to the fact that our early pandemic fascination for cleaning surfaces was in fact misplaced, it still seems that businesses are obsessed with cleaning protocols when the focus should actually be on ventilation. So entrenched was the view that Covid could be transmitted via so called inanimate surfaces that the industry was prohibited from reopening due to the number of surfaces found in an AGC. Of course, there’s the symbolic impact of cleaning which can admittedly provide some comfort to customers who are nervous about contacting the virus. As a business we have always been super vigilant about cleaning always ensuring that machines were spotless. However, our philosophy is based on something a bit more commercial. If a punter comes across a machine with dirty fingerprints, they understandably assume that its’ been played a lot and that someone had just cleaned (pun not intended) it out. In fact, I took it quite personally when DCMS inferred that the sector would not be able to maintain super clean premises – we’d been doing it for years and years! It’s the same with ventilation. Even before March 20th we had in place air conditioning systems with built in air purifiers – it’s the way forward make no mistake.


Let’s march in solidarity with the TUC to secure more bank holidays for leisure hungry Brits


I don’t think that I’ve ever agreed with the policies coming out of the TUC, but I found myself on the same page as Frances O’Grady the TUC general secretary who has argued that the government should create four additional bank holidays to improve what she described as the ‘stingy’ entitlement that UK workers have in comparison with their comrades in the rest of the world. According to calculations made by the TUC, workers in England and Wales enjoyed eight bank holidays a year when the EU average stands at a leisurely 12.8.

For anyone whose interested Romania, Finland and Lithuania top the EU league table at 15 days a year. While Ms Grady’s arguments are all about delivering more leisure time for the workforce of the country my aim would be to deliver more opportunities for my arcades to earn money – the flip sides of the same coin if you like. This last bank holiday was good for the business. The weather was the perfect combination of sunny in the morning and cloudy in the afternoon with the odd shower, just enough to help nudge customers into a nice warm, hospitable and welcoming environment. It does seem strange that our next scheduled national holiday isn’t until Christmas so on this occasion I’m more than happy to endorse the TUC call to arms providing it doesn’t involve any direct action!


Raab won’t jump and he won’t be pushed but he might be nudged sideways


Calls are mounting for Dominic Raab to fall on his sword over his (non) role in the Afghan debacle, but despite the blue-on-blue friendly fire he’s receiving from unnamed Conservative Party colleagues I still don’t think that he will either resign or be sacked as Foreign Secretary. Politicians are strange beasts and because they have egos the size of the Isle of Wight and suffer from a complete absence of the shame-gene, he won’t feel the need to step down – but whether he can avoid being nudged side-ways in the next cabinet reshuffle is a different matter altogether.


Don’t cross Carrie – whatever you bloody do!


Defence Secretary Ben Wallace had former Marine Pen Farthing in the cross-hairs when he lambasted him for prioritising ‘pets over people’ when he chartered a plane to transport 200 dogs and cats from the animal shelter that he founded in Afghanistan back to the UK. We are of course a nation of dog lovers and I would count myself as one but surely the right thing would have been to get people out first? While Pen Farthing’s supporters will say that it was a cargo plane and that it was paid for by public donations, the fact remains that the resource spent organising access to Kabul airport and the runway time involved could have been better deployed helping to repatriate the people whose lives are at risk for collaborating with the British and US forces over the last 20-years. The Defence Secretary might want to tread a little carefully if Westminster rumours suggesting that a certain animal rights campaigner who shares the same name as the PM was heavily involved in the lobbying which not surprisingly resulted in a late night/early morning change of policy on his behalf. And we know what happened to the last person who crossed Carrie! Dominic who?


The benefits system isn’t working because it’s keeping people poor


The boss of Iceland (the shop not the country) must have been the nominated spokesperson for the supermarket sector as he was all over every media channel leading demands’ for the government to relax the immigration rules in order to fill a huge gap in the number of lorry drivers which he said would threaten Christmas. He was subsequently followed by restaurant chains and then the British Retail Consortium in calling for the introduction of a temporary Covid employment visa to bring back the workers we’ve lost post Brexit. The government’s response is simply to offer better wages but as we’ve said on numerous occasions the arcade sector cannot pass any additional costs on to customers. Coinslot ran a piece about the number of people either unemployed or on furlough who were content to be economically inactive. As an employer who has found it extremely difficult to recruit, I think the problem actually lies with the benefits system. It needs to be more flexible and to encourage people to do more hours rather than simply cut off their Universal Credit payments if they go from working say 16 to 24 hours in a week. Lose your Universal Credit for whatever arbitrary reason and it takes five weeks to sort it out and get restarted. People aren’t willing to take that risk. I’m not advocating a return to Victorian times but from my experience the system keeps people poor because it isn’t at all dynamic or capable of responding to situations such as the one the economy finds itself in currently.


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