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Good and Bad PR: Greater Change helps the homeless whilst K-Supermarket gets people sleeping in its aisles

Good PR

Here in Great Britain, everyone’s really good at two things; moaning when it’s too hot and moaning when it’s too cold. A heatwave has been sweeping across Europe over the recent months, in case you haven’t noticed, and not everyone’s been coping too well with the soaring temperatures. I for one absolutely love it – even if my face did nearly sweat off on the tube in London today and all the fans are good for in our office is blowing hot air around. See? Some of us can be positive about it.

In all honesty, we’re just not very well equipped for this kind of tropical weather. Our homes aren’t air-conditioned and neither are all of our workplaces or shops. It’s a bit hellish at times, as it has been over in Finland too (a country more known for its snowy landscapes than its balmy temperatures).  

Cool store

One supermarket manager decided to offer people in Helsinki, the nation’s capital, the chance to actually get a decent night’s kip without having to sleep on top of the covers with a bag of frozen peas on their forehead to keep cool. It’s a strong look. Try it.

Marika Lindfors is a manager at K-Supermarket in a place called Phjois-Haaga, Helsinki.  After hearing customers joking that it’d be nice to sleep in the cool supermarket to escape the record-breaking heatwave, she decided to offer 100 shoppers the chance to bed down in the aisles. They were allowed to bring mattresses and their sleeping bags or blankets for the night and this video was created…

I saw the story on the BBC’s website, after the video started racking up loads of views on Facebook, and I started wondering how long it’ll be before a UK supermarket does the same. To be fair, I’m always thinking how nice and cool it is in my local Tesco and sometimes just go and hang out in the refrigerated aisles like a total weirdo to remember what cold feels like. Just me?

Homeless scan

In other news, a homeless charity called Greater Change has been getting fantastic coverage on the likes of Wired, BBC and Telegraph after announcing a new scheme in Oxford whereby people can donate to the homeless by scanning the person on the street’s QR code through an app. Greater Change only enables the donations to go towards the homeless person’s savings targets, such as for a place to live or career training, and the money is only released to the providers of those services or help (such as landlords or training providers). It’s a great idea that’s getting well-deserved media pick up, especially as we move towards being a more cashless society, meaning the homeless don’t benefit as much now from spontaneous, cash donations.

Bad PR

OMG Saks!

A hair and beauty salon in Warrington, Cheshire has received negative, national media coverage this week, after advertising its latest job role – a receptionist position – on its Facebook page. Saks Hair & Beauty was on the lookout for the front-of-house person, who they said must be ‘bubbly’, have ‘exceptional communication skills’ and be ‘EXTREMELY well organised/(OCD)’.

A lady named Suzanne Hancock picked up on the very poor choice of words in the advert; of course referring to using a mental health disorder as a desirable trait to have (and getting the wrong end of the stick entirely about what OCD is really all about). Suzanne wrote: “Hey Saks, I think you need to get your HR department to check over your recruitment ads as this is not OK. OCD is not about being organised.”

Other people criticised the job ad too and it was later removed from the page. Saks Hair & Beauty wasn’t the first company to make the mistake of pretending that OCD was a handy quirk for someone to have; that they’d be super-organised as a result and clean up the workplace kitchen all good and proper. Sigh. It probably won’t be the last, either.

The story is already up on the Metro, Mirror and Mail Online and Saks Hair & Beauty has been left a little red in the face after its faux pas.

For the record, referring to any mental health condition in a job advert as a positive trait to have for the role is never going to go down well and will almost always end in some bad press.

Written by Shannon Peerless, 10 Yetis @ShazzaYeti on Twitter. Seen any good or bad PR lately? You know what to do @10Yetis on Twitter or on email

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