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  #1  
Old 25 December 2013, 03:00 AM
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Default UK retailer M&S apologises after Muslim worker refused to sell alcohol

British retailer Marks and Spencer apologised to customers angered after a Muslim checkout worker refused to sell champagne for religious reasons.

http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/uk-...--finance.html

I'm more bothered by the incident referenced later in this article where some universities were going to have separate seating for men and women if a religious speaker requested it. Glad that didn't end up happening but can't believe it was ever going to be permitted.
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  #2  
Old 25 December 2013, 03:07 AM
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I'm more bothered by the incident referenced later in this article where some universities were going to have separate seating for men and women if a religious speaker requested it. Glad that didn't end up happening but can't believe it was ever going to be permitted.
I hate to godwinize, but ghetto benching, anyone?
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  #3  
Old 25 December 2013, 03:08 AM
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So, all the people who supported the pharmacists who refused to sell emergency contraception for religious reasons are supporting this guy too, right?
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Old 25 December 2013, 03:22 AM
catty5nutz catty5nutz is offline
 
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So, all the people who supported the pharmacists who refused to sell emergency contraception for religious reasons are supporting this guy too, right?
No doubt some of the religious people who are against contraception would argue that there is a great difference between selling contraception and selling alcohol. Although, many of the people who oppose contraception would probably also support an alcohol ban.

My own belief is, if your job requires that you do something that is against your religion or conscience, you really should find another line of work, where you beliefs won't be compromised.
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Old 25 December 2013, 03:35 PM
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Thousands of customers threatened to boycott M&S, Britain's biggest clothing retailer that also sells food, after a till worker in a London store asked a customer to wait as she would not handle champagne and called for another staff member.
I don't see the problem with this, but then again I often have to wait a few moments for an employee 21 or over to ring up alcohol if my cashier is <21. It's silly, IMO (it's not like the cashier is going to open a sealed bottle and start drinking the beer or wine I'm trying to buy), but it's no big deal.
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Old 25 December 2013, 03:42 PM
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I don't know what to think about it to be honest. On the one hand as long as there is a minimal delay in getting another cashier to handle the product it's not really a big deal in terms of processing someone's order but I could also understand someone being a little offended that a cashier is judging the contents of their shopping basket as being offensive to them. Equal opportunity offending going on there I guess.

I can see this becoming an issue if it keeps happening though as numerous people pass through someone's cash. That's why I would think according to the article it was an error that this woman was put on the cash in the first place.
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Old 25 December 2013, 03:53 PM
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It's silly, IMO (it's not like the cashier is going to open a sealed bottle and start drinking the beer or wine I'm trying to buy), but it's no big deal.
Perhaps itís so that they can cover anyone who might be handling alcohol on a legal basis. Now they can use the same law to cover anybody handling alcohol ether it be at a retailer (grocery or liquor store) or somebody working the bar or a server at a restaurant.

Sure your cashier at the grocery store isnít going to be taking a hit from a customers bottle or the stores inventory, but what about a server who is handling alcohol in a glass or giving out bottles? Having a blanket law can make it easier to write out the rules as far as the state goes (since they issue the licenses) and just keeps enforcement simple. Obviously the retailer is going to have their own rules but the state would be covered.
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Old 25 December 2013, 03:56 PM
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Maybe. But there are already different rules, and entirely separate licensing procedures, for establishments that serve alcohol vs. those that sell it for consumption off-premises.
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Old 25 December 2013, 03:58 PM
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Maybe. But there are already different rules, and entirely separate licensing procedures, for establishments that serve alcohol vs. those that sell it for consumption off-premises.
I donít know about the liquor licensing policies for your state or anything, but I can imagine they might differ from area to area and may differ based on what they sell (beer vs wine).

Eh, it was a thought...
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Old 25 December 2013, 04:05 PM
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Yes, they do vary, to a ridiculous degree (IMO).
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  #11  
Old 25 December 2013, 04:12 PM
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There have been instances where local Imams, or even the Mufti has declared a fatwa allowing employees to do something in the line of work that would otherwise be considered against their beliefs. In Lebanon, an Imam issued a fatwa declaring that the UN workers with whom the locals language assistants worked were considered family, thus the women could shake hands with the members of the UN. Regularly, women cannot touch men to whom they are not related.

This is not quite one of those cases, as handling alcohol is not against their religion** but still a fatwa would go a long was to eliminating this issue.

**This is where the grey issue comes in. It is not against the rules for mainstream Muslim teachings (that I've seen and discussed), but I don't know whether she has also been taught further rules by an Imam of family member closer to the fringe.
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Old 25 December 2013, 04:14 PM
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Some years ago, when in Morocco, I had a slightly similar situation, where the cashier ddn't want to handle my alcohol purchase. Because of my limited Arabic and his limited English, I wasn't exactly sure that the problem was, at first.

Once I figured out what was going on, all I had to do was handle the product across the scanner and bag it, and all was fine.
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Old 25 December 2013, 04:54 PM
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This is not quite one of those cases, as handling alcohol is not against their religion** but still a fatwa would go a long was to eliminating this issue.
I donít think that there is anything that would be a blanket solution since I have heard a variety of beliefs about muslims and Alcohol. Many Minnesotan Muslim cab drivers years ago had a big stink over transporting alcohol in their cabs. There was no handling going on, the problem that it was in their cab even if all of the handling was done by the customer.

Somehow, I am willing to bet that even with a fatwa, there will still be an issue given that people can either ignore the fatwa or another authority (my guess) can just issue their own fatwa that contradicts it.

There is also the problem that people will use their beliefs to justify just about anything objectionable despite the lack of mainstream belief. It can be confusing.
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Old 25 December 2013, 05:09 PM
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I do not think that M&S should have caved into the local version of the tea party and issued an apology. I do think that they should have had a procedure in affect prior to the incident in question. And it may be that such a policy was in place but M&S did not want to admit that.
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  #15  
Old 25 December 2013, 05:35 PM
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Is it really a situation where they caved to "tea party like pressure" or they apologised to customers who expect a level of service and that is not being met?

I'm asking out of pure curiosity.
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Old 25 December 2013, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UEL View Post
Is it really a situation where they caved to "tea party like pressure" or they apologised to customers who expect a level of service and that is not being met?

I'm asking out of pure curiosity.
It looks a bit like they apologized for one thing and hoped it would be taken as an apology for something else. "Didn't meet the expected level of service" could refer to the refusal or to the length of time it took to get another cashier.
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  #17  
Old 25 December 2013, 05:50 PM
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In re-reading the OP article, it certainly sounds like tea bagger complaints. There were "thousands" of complaints. There were not "thousands" of people affected.
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Old 25 December 2013, 06:02 PM
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I've always found the "It's no big deal as long as I don't have to wait long" argument rather incongruous.

If you walked up to a checkout and the sales person looked at you and went "I just don't feel like waiting on you. I'm gonna go get someone else to do it" would that be reasonable? Why should it become reasonable just because someone invoked the magic "R" word?
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Old 25 December 2013, 06:45 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
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Because there are many other reasons why there might be a delay. The cashier might be going on break. Or the cashier may be underage and not legally allowed to ring-up a particular item (alcohol, cigarettes, spray paint, ...)
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Old 25 December 2013, 07:17 PM
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I expect, and accept, a brief delay waiting for a cashier who can legally ring up my sixpack. Why should that same sort of delay suddenly be a problem because "someone invoked the magic R word"?
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