August 29, 2010
Have You Seen the Muffin Man?
Earlier this year, I attended a CBI Council meeting. As always, it’s fascinating to listen to how a wide variety of companies are dealing with the world as we know it. Service businesses in the main come out well – perhaps because they are more agile and able to adapt their services to what’s needed in the current marketplace. So law and accountancy firms are seeing a reduction in contract briefs but an increase in resolution or winding up orders. All sounds a bit ‘ambulance-chasing’ but it means that they’re still in business, still employing people and still keeping the economy turning.
What was agreed overall is that companies have reacted differently to this recession. Rather than laying people off they’ve changed their working conditions (a la Honda). Rather than closing, they’ve sought to diversify.
Which brings me to the Muffin Man. Recently, I bought some muffins off a stall in Cambridge market. They were about 4 times as expensive as the ones you can buy in Sainsbury’s. But they were handmade by the stall holder, who was charming and we had a long discussion about how hungry kids are when they come out of school and how muffins were just right. Trouble is, the children hated his muffins. But, I reflected, as I threw them in the bin, at least I’m keeping the economy going by buying them in the first place. Although perhaps I should suggest he diversifies – into aggregates.
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