Bureaucracy gone mad, or rightful regulations? Make your own mind up, but kids were upset to see many of their favourite cartoon characters escorted from the Brunel Shopping Centre this Christmas like criminals.
Outcry ensued after Alan Reed posted this video, showing security of the shopping centre harshly directing the characters off the premises. “Every year I organise a visit to the GWH hospital,” Mr Reed explained, “I take all the mascots up there to visit the kid’s wards and give them a present that has been kindly donated. I have a great bunch of friends who volunteer their time to do this. Then, just for some Christmas fun, every year after the hospital we go to the Magic Roundabout, walk about and wave to the cars. The after this we go to the town centre to spread some more fun and Christmas cheer to the people. All the kiddies love it along with their parents.”
Upon asking the reason Alan and friends do this, he told me, “we do all of this free of charge, with no other meaning to it at all.” Perhaps Christmas joy just isn’t enough to warrant such a gesture, not in the eyes of the centre, whose Saturday saw children flock to see Frozen characters Anna & Elsa in aid of Swindon’s Down Syndrome Group. No issue with this, but this impromptu visit is a blunt reminder for Swindonians, despite the shopping centre commonly being regarded as the “town centre,” it’s actually a privately-owned business.
Rob of the Brunel Shopping Centre explained, “as a privately-owned shopping centre it is our duty to ensure that shoppers and their children are kept safe. Therefore, our staff will always politely ask unannounced visitors, who have not sought prior permission to be at the centre, to leave. We regularly work with charities and fundraisers who book in with us and are always happy to work with people to benefit good causes, but we do need to carry out due diligence when booking these people in.”
The issue becomes irate when the organisers question the reasoning, but without an informative response, and security ordered to carry out their task, things become awkward and it doesn’t fair well on the personal relations within the centre. Ah, it happens, but with the children who do not understand the red tape, it has to be said, it’s a crying shame the issue couldn’t have been dealt with diplomatically. I’d suggest the Brunel has a disclaimer form, stating clearly that any repercussions are wholly the responsibility of the organisers, and then, where’s the real problem?
It does remind me of the scene in the classic Pink Panther film, where Inspector Clouseau arrests a blind beggar and his “minky,” whilst a bank robbery is occurring behind them. Forcing me to wonder how many shoplifters or fraudsters happen to be bobbing about the centre during this inconsequential fiasco; maybe it’d make a great decoy!
In an era when physical shopping is losing the war against online shopping, you’d have thought the issue could have been dealt with diplomatically, if not for the children’s sake but the reputation of the centre. Meanwhile social media exploits the video, shares and comments call to boycott the centre as the witch-hunt progresses. A cruel sign of the times with unsolicited media where anyone can pass comment, when the centre has strived to host similar fundraising events yet the bureaucracy stamps on such a good deed. Not in the spirit of Christmas, and yes, I said Minky; because I’m annoyed by what bureaucratic balderdash has degenerated us into, Merry bloody Christmas!
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