As Grants department store lurched towards bankruptcy in the mid-1970s, its senior management instituted a programme to motivate store managers to meet sales goals — with a particular emphasis on trying to get more customers to sign up for credit accounts. This programme involved using "negative incentives". According to newspaper reports from the time, one store manager was forced to walk around a hotel lobby dressed only in a nappy. Another was thrown into a blow-up swimming pool full of ice. And sometimes these humiliations were forced upon store managers even if their employees met sales goals, because the company executives "believed it would somehow motivate employees if they saw the boss suffer some indignities". So really, whatever the managers did, they were going to be humiliated.
A reader writes: "We back onto a park and sometimes there is an opera singer who comes in there to practise. Over lockdown, it was a daily occurrence that seemed to happen the moment I was about to start a Zoom call. I do enjoy opera and admire the skill but the practise involved just singing small parts repeatedly so we weren't getting to enjoy the full song. I know people have to practise, and I imagine the singer left their home so as not to annoy/upset the other occupants/neighbours, but all I will say is thank goodness the lockdown levels have changed and we can leave our house or they can go to a soundproof rehearsal room."
Now there's a satanic ritual I can get behind!
1. There are more plastic flamingos in the world than real ones.
2. If humans wanted to have the same eyesight as an owl we would have to have eyes the size of a grapefruit.
3. In 2015, almost 70,000 people signed a petition to change the name of the Australian national currency to dollarydoos, a Simpsons reference. The rationale was this: "We need something to stimulate the Australian economy ... This will make millions of people around the world want to get their hands on some Australian currency."
4. In his 1828 dictionary, Noah Webster wrote that "the domestic cat needs no description. It is a deceitful animal, and when enraged, extremely spiteful."
5. According to Mattel, Barbie's real name is Barbara Millicent Roberts. And Ken's last name is Carson. (My cousin got a Cabbage Patch Kid when she was a kid, which were all custom named, and she ended up with "Adolph". Her family wrote the company a letter and they sent a certificate that officially renamed her Cabbage Patch Kid.)