By Michael Burton
In a controversial move, Tesco are starting a new ‘health campaign’ which permits staff to insult obese customers.
The campaign, which has been called ‘Berate The Weight’ is being trialed in The Tesco store in Hammersmith. Carl Ritchins, 42, is Regional Manager of the store; Berate The Weight was his idea and he is overseeing the operation whilst it undergoes its six month trial period.
“The idea is simple,” explains Carl, “When a fat person arrives at the checkout with their trolley full of junk; chocolate, crisps, lard or whatever, our friendly, helpful staff will begin to hurl abuse at the customers and continue to do so all the way through the transaction. The abuse is scripted, staff are required to learn the set abuse for the correct weight-band. Abuse is strictly about appearance, nothing else. Staff are not allowed to improvise insults, to do so can lead to instant dismissal. We are trying to ensure each customer receives the same high level of insult.”
Customers have been broken down into 4 categories. They are as follows:
SLIM – DO NOT ABUSE
CHUBBY – MILD ABUSE
FAT – FULL ABUSE
COULD BE TWO PEOPLE FROM A DISTANCE – SCALDING ABUSE WITH OPTIONAL SPIT
I asked Carl for some examples:
“Look at you, you look like a disfigured beanbag, you fat shit.” FAT
“Ooh, having a chocolate fudge delight are you? They’re on two-for-one, why not get another and bring that cardiac arrest ever closer, you waste of space. The sooner we get you off the earth the better.” COULD BE TWO PEOPLE FROM A DISTANCE
“You look like the love child of Pavarotti and a pig.” FAT
“You are hideous to behold.” FAT
“You might want to leave that chocolate; you look like you’ve neglected the exercise.” CHUBBY
I questioned Carl on the motives behind ‘Berate The Weight’:
“The aim is to make Britain healthier. We’re sick of seeing fat people everywhere. It’s gross. We want to make Britain healthier and more aesthetically pleasing. And that’s what the public want. But they can’t do it alone, they’re too weak; it’s too easy to give in, to find excuses, to quit the diet and have cake. But here at Tesco we can help. We’re all about customer service. We think that by vilifying each customer, we can help them stay on track with their diet or give them a nudge in the right direction towards dieting.”
Overweight staff members are being put on diet pills and sent on a one week self loathing course. The course will mainly consist of standing in front of a mirror and cursing oneself. However, so low is the self esteem of most Tesco employees, that so far people have only needed to do one afternoon of the course in order to successfully hate their appearance.
I asked Carl if he thought there was an element of cruelty involved in the campaign:
“God yes. It’s cruel, it’s nasty, it’s essentially bullying. It’s Tesco. But when you consider the ease with which we brushed off the horse meat scandal, we can pretty much get away with anything. What people need to do is look past the immediate; the vicious verbal assault, the humiliation, the pain, and look further, to the long term vision; a healthier, happier, less gross Britain.”
I ended by asking, “What about people with medical conditions? Hyperthyroidism, prader-willi syndrome, cushins. What do those people do?”
“Well that all sounds pretty made up to me, but if they bring a doctor’s note, we can sort something out.”