That’s all right then, isn’t it?
It was an error.
A single mistake. Oopsie. We have blamed it on an error so let’s all just move along and forget it ever happened shall we? Oh and to make ourselves feel better and make it sound like we care we have donated £25,000 to the charity, Mind.
I am sure you know what I am talking about, but if you don’t, I am referring to the stocking in Asda this week of a Hallowe’en costume of a “mental patient”. A costume that consists of a bloodied outfit and a machete. And in Tesco a “Psycho Ward” costume consisting of something that looks like a Broadmoor uniform.
Cos that’s what mental patients look like isn’t it? Something out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Some stereotypical “psycho”. Not your next door neighbour. Your mum. Your brother. Your boyfriend. Your best friend. The person who serves you in Waitrose. The mum standing next to you at the school gates who has used very ounce of her being to get there at all.
No they don’t look mental so they can’t be. You can only have a mental health issue if you look psychotic.
Mental people look mental and they all look like that. And not only that but we should dress up like them when we go out scaring people for Trick or Treat. Yes, we should dress up and pretend to be mental patients and psychos.
Parents, inlaws, kids, look away now please
For fuck sake. Is it any wonder that mental health issues are still a taboo in this country? That people feel they can’t talk about them? When they have shit like this to deal with from two of the biggest companies in Britain?
“I can’t tell my employer I need a day off to see my counsellor, he will think I am going to stab him”.
“Is that what I look like to people?”
What utter utter bollocks
Parents, inlaws and kids you can look back now
When is this going to end? When are people going to realise that this is not something that should be joked about. Not something to be used to dress up as on fright night. This is real. This is going on in people’s homes. The stigma. The taboo. The feeling of helplessness spirally out of control. The feeling that they are being portrayed like this.
Oh but it’s okay. Asda said it was an error. Oopsie. Tesco said something equally pathetic.
Let’s analyse that error shall we.
A design team made that costume
It was designed, signed off and agreed to be put into production
A factory produced it.
A shop floor manager checked it and packaged it up
It was displayed somewhere for an Asda and Tesco Buyer to see it.
That Buyer said “Yes, we must have that in our Hallowe’en line this year. Let’s have <insert extraordinary number, let’s say 10,000>
They were then put on display in stores around the country. They listed it on their websites.
At no single point did anybody say “err…. hold on a minute. This isn’t funny. In fact this is very wrong. Can we not do this?”.
Not one. So, no, Asda and Tesco, this was not an error.
This was a major fuck up. Major. And you don’t get out of it by making a donation to charity and saying on Twitter “oops we made an error”.
You know what you do? You get a mental health professional in to every single store. To every single office and you make every single employee in your organisations sit through a presentation on dealing with Mental Health.
I saw this on Twitter yesterday and it perfectly summed it up from me. From a great guy called Spencer who like many of us has lost friends to suicide and understands about mental health issues.
And then I read a blog post and wept. Wept. Big fat rolling tears. This is real life. Real life for somebody who is not only dealing with a mental health on a daily basis but has had to put up with this “error” on top of it. Can you imagine how that makes her feel?
Have a read of Clara’s post and then come back and please tell me if you think this is still “an error”
Ranty Friday, a weekly link up for rants, old or new on any subject. Do go and have a read of the other rants.