The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Showing You Care Is More Important Than Saying It …

Throughout COVID, we’ve been inundated by companies saying they care.



Pharmaceutical companies.

At the beginning, it made sense … we were in a new reality and everyone was trying to work out what the fuck was going on, let alone what we should do.

But now, coming up to 6 months into this thing, we’re still seeing companies say the same thing.

We care.

We really, really care.

Honest, we really do care.

And frankly, it’s all becoming shit.

Because while we always suspected it was empty words, now they are proving it … because the fact of the matter is this is the time they need to put up.

To do stuff.

To actually show they care.

Which, contrary to the multinational who is spending a lot on advertising right now, does not mean you can consider yourself a kind and generous organisation simply because you make and sell a large range of disinfectant products that are especially important right now.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting charity.

Making money is not a bad thing – and right now, companies need to do it to help keep employees employed. But adding something extra … something that can genuinely benefit the people you rely on would go a long way.

Not just because a lot of people need it right now, but because investing in your audiences wellbeing is investing in your own.

Take Timpson’s.

It’s a family-owned business in high streets and supermarkets up and down the country.

While they do a bunch of things, they’re most widely known for key cutting and shoe repairs.


Of all the companies around the World, I would say this Key Cutters have led the way on how you should treat your people and customers in a crisis.

First of all, they made the decision to close all their shops – over 2000 of them – when COVID took hold. They wanted to ensure their staff were safe as not only do they deal directly with the public, all their stores are very small so social distancing would be almost impossible.

However, rather than making people redundant or putting them on government subsidised furlough, they covered the wages for every employee.

In full.

Every employee. Full salary.

To add some more texture to that, Timpson’s employ 5,500 staff … of which 650 come directly from serving a prison sentence … and their weekly wage bill is £2.5 million.

That in itself is amazing.

But then they’ve done something else.

Something aimed at their customers … specifically the one’s who have not been as fortunate to work at a company that takes care of their staff like Timpson and may now be struggling due to redundancy or loss of pay, hours, opportunities.

And what have they done?

This …

How amazing is that?

A genuine investment in their past and future client’s wellbeing.

Not empty words, something that will cost Timpson’s money – both in terms of time and cash.

Maybe it’s not a huge amount, but when you have all these huge corporations shouting their empty words in an attempt to look like they care, Timpson’s actions shows them up for who they are.

A long time ago there was a Michael Moore documentary called ‘Roger And Me’.

It was about the General Motors car company and them pulling out of Detroit.

There’s one bit in it that sticks in my memory.

On the production line, there were people being interviewed about what they’ll do when the factory closes. One guy – who was making one of GM’s most expensive cars – said this,

“What I don’t understand is if companies keep firing their workers, who do they think will be able to afford their cars?”

While I know there are many issues companies face, I know this.

The actions of a key-cutting, shoe repairer has resulted in me having more emotional connection and loyalty to them than I‘ll ever have towards multi-national organisations, spending millions of pounds on ads that attempt to show they care [read: express their designed-by-marketing ‘purpose’] but are so obviously self-serving, you can almost see them rubbing their hands in greedy glee.

Not because they want to make money to protect their workers.

Nor to look after the employees of their supply chain.

But to look after themselves and their shareholders.

And to them, I say this.

Your real ‘purpose’ is showing.

Try harder.

25 Comments so far
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So in these “unprecedented times”, a shoe repair chain was able to look after their employees and customers in ways the larger organisations couldn’t. This suggests a shoe repair chain is better managed than larger organisations. Wonderful.

Comment by George

Unprecedented times. The excuse that keeps on helping companies achieve their margin.

Comment by Bazza

Rob. How does it feel to know your past employer wasn’t as good at running their business than a shoe repair/key cutting chain?

Comment by Bazza

Hahahaha … who knew key cutting was how you get to transform the future!!!

Comment by Rob

Well said Baz.

Comment by Pete

campbell was their last chance to not be the blandvertising by bots agency.

Comment by andy@cynic

you better buy me a fucking great christmas present for that fucking compliment campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

An incredible burn Andrew.
One I agree with also.

Comment by George

RGA. Rob Got Away.

Comment by Bazza


Comment by Billy Whizz

Finally a company I would believe when they say their staff is their most valuable asset. Funny it operates in the least modern industry available.

Comment by Bazza

Yep … it’s amazing.

But then they are also independent, which is not just another reason they could take the actions they did with ease, it means they could – and wanted to – as well.

Comment by Rob

Independence doesn’t guarantee job security but it does increase the odds you’ll be treated with respect.

Comment by Bazza

I love this. It’s an act that reinforces their commitment to their community.

Comment by Pete

As to Robert’s point, it’s an investment in the people that run and make their business a success.

Comment by George

That isn’t a covid-related offer, they’ve done it fsince 2015. That. of course, makes it even better.

Comment by John

That is incredible.

Comment by Pete

Much, much better.

Comment by George

That’s amazing John.

With this … their commitment to their staff and their long-term focus helping ex-prisoners reintegrate into their community with a safe and secure paid job … I would say Timpson puts the vast majority of ‘purpose’ focused companies to total shame.

Comment by Rob

And you’ll never hear Sir John mention brand purpose or other buzzwords.

Comment by John

John Timpson and his family are phenomenal humans who are also phenomenal at business. I am glad you are giving them the credit they are due.

Comment by Lee Hill

Oh I bloody love this, excellent
So will they dry clean Rob’s sweaty t-shirts for free then?

Comment by Northern

no fucker is going to give him an interview. except the cops.

Comment by andy@cynic

more progressive than any fucking ad agency.

Comment by andy@cynic

Acts rather than an ad about a lack of action,

Comment by George

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