Inspire-Discussion over Coffee

A good meeting with friends over coffee requires a topic of conversation- think book clubs or political discussions- strangely heated at this time.

Have you ever discussed Car washing?.  This can have all sorts to angles and should not get too heated (a blessing at this time of election) and getting Brexit over the line

Most of us have hand car wash businesses in our area.  They seem to have mushroomed in the last 10 year or less.  What would you think if you saw one advertising a car wash for £3.99 as I did recently.  Perhaps that is the going rate where you live

Would you:

  • consider that’s a good price- I should go there?
  • that’s very cheap- are they making any money or are the others ripping me off?
  • with all this concern for the environment should I be washing my car so often?
  • at this price should I get my car washed every week?
  • should I be paying in cash or on a card?
  • who are their workers and what are they earning?


I bring this up due to 2 items in the news on TV and in the papers recently

1 The patterns for Human Slavery in the UK.

2 The tragedy of the 39 illegal migrants who were found dead inside a refrigerated lorry coming into the UK.

It could be  considered that most of us are in no way involved in such matters.

However, if we support these business who undercut those who follow the rules on minimum wage and patterns of work,  are we  indirectly supporting these illegal practices?

Additionally does one choose to pay by cash or by card?.

Often such establishments do not take card payments. It is often suggested that the cash payments do not go through legal channels and that it is under declared for tax.

Should one trust the trader by giving your bank card details?

Another example, what if we buy very cheap clothes from the stores or online?

Are we making any declaration about the way the workers who make them are treated?

There was a time that a high proportion of the clothes we bought were made in the UK.  The process of globalisation meant that these could be made far cheaper abroad.

What view should we take about the resulting pressure to cut costs of manufacture in the UK and resulting job losses which occurred?

What if as a result many of those in work in the UK were having to struggle to buy the garments made in the UK and resorted to buying cheaper goods from abroad?

I only list these points as with the issues around the election and Brexit then we should take some time to discuss them.  They are also the background upon which some of the arguments about Brexit are based.



2 replies »

  1. That is a deep topic. Certainly a worry about paying their staff enough, if this a full service hand wash and also about tax evasion. If one is to believe Breaking Bad, the car wash and the low price, could also be a Money Laundering operation. Dirty money into car wash, Clean Money out. Hand washes, even on special here are in the $15 CAD (9 GBP), more likely to be $20 CAD (12 GBP). Cheers. Allan

    • Dear kagould17,
      Thank you for your comment. I agree this is difficult issue.
      We all want a bargain and so seek out the cheaper prices.
      There is a point however when by doing so we are pushing down both prices and the earnings of others in similar jobs.
      Of course there are also many whose earnings are low enough that they can only access these items at the lower costs

      I deliberately chose to entitle this talk as discussions over coffee as a barista is a classic minimum wage job. If one wishes to have a coffee then it is easy to over look such effects and merely enjoy the coffee- and occasionally moan if its not done to our particular requirements. ( is it right for us to moan?)
      Are we creating the very problem we are discussing.
      Also a coffee shop is the classic neutral meeting place to start these philosophical discussions.
      The issues cover a multitude of issues and are without any particular party political bias.
      One of the frequent topics I see on blogs is that of social isolation.
      Perhaps this topic would enable lots of people to discuss and benefit in more ways than 1 from the discussions

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