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M&S renames Midget Gems after campaigner says it’s hateful towards people with dwarfism

The controversial word has origins in Victorian ‘freak shows’

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Peter McDermott / Geograph

Marks & Spencer has become the first retailer to change the name of its Midget Gems over complaints the name was hateful towards those with dwarfism.

The retailer has dropped the word ‘midget’ in favour of the rebrand ‘Mini Gems’ after a disability campaigner pointed out that the word can be ‘highly problematic’ for a variety of people. 

Dr. Erin Pritchard, a lecturer in Disability and Education at Liverpool Hope University who has achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism, condemned the term ‘midget’ as a form of hate speech, pointing out that it is deeply insulting to people with the condition.

Dr. Pritchard has also called upon other UK retailers such as Tesco to rethink their branding for the popular childhood sweets, which were first manufactured by Lion Confectionary in West Yorkshire.

M&S

She told The Telegraph: “The word midget is a form of hate speech and contributes to the prejudice that people with dwarfism experience on a daily basis.

“Having spoken with various firms about the use of the word midget, it’s clear that many companies are simply unaware of just how offensive the term is, and I’ve had to explain to them why it’s such an issue.”

Dr. Pritchard added that she is ‘grateful’ to M&S for being willing to listen to the concerns of people with dwarfism and for going ahead with the rebranding.

She explained: “There was initially some reluctance, but I pointed out that if they were going to persist in naming them midget gems then why not call other sweets by similarly offensive names?”

In her recent book Disability Hate Speech, Dr. Pritchard investigates the word ‘midget’ and its origins in Victorian freak shows, saying it came into usage in the early 1800s when people with disabilities or from non-white backgrounds were treated as objects of fascination and ridicule.

The academic, who has appeared on the Channel 4 series Dating with Dwarfism, added that it is ‘truly baffling’ that retailers are still able to use ‘disablist hate speech’ to market their products.

She said: “Last October was Dwarfism Awareness Month, and I took to Twitter to tag numerous supermarkets and sweet companies in a tweet asking them when they would be removing the word midget from their products.

“Only Free from Fellows – a vegan brand – responded. At this point, M&S had already written to me stating that they would remove the name.

Peter McDermott / Geograph

“For me, this highlights the need for better awareness about just how problematic the word midget really is.”

An M&S spokesman has confirmed the name change, saying: “We are committed to being an inclusive retailer – from how we support our colleagues, through to the products we offer and the way we market them to our 32 million customers.

“Following suggestions from our colleagues and the insights shared by Dr. Pritchard, we introduced new mini gem packaging last year, which has since been rolled out to all of our stores.”

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Greggs worker fired after exposing the ‘mountains of food that gets wasted every day’

The worker filmed several bin bags of food being thrown away at the end of her shift

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Lord.nicc / TikTok

A Greggs worker was fired after she exposed the ‘mountain’ of food the bakery chain allegedly wastes on a daily basis. 

Nicole Iwalowo had been working in a Romford branch in London for a month when she became aware of the massive amount of food going to waste at the end of each day.

Feeling guilty at seeing food go in the bin every day, Nicole decided to expose the bakery by filming the leftover produce, which included freshly made sandwiches and sealed packages of bakery goods like doughnuts and yum yums, and posting it onto TikTok.

Her video, shared back in November, shows six bin bags full of food being loaded up on a metal cage, which Nicole claims was later collected by bin men.

@greggs_official / Instagram

Nicole pointed out in the video that ‘there’s people starving around the world and all of this is going to waste’, noting that ‘this happens everyday around the world with the billions of food stores’.

Her TikTok post was quick to garner thousands of views and comments, with many slamming Greggs for the blatant hypocrisy surrounding its official policy, which states that it ‘hates food waste’ and that ‘donating unsold food to those in need is our priority’.

Greggs also claims that ‘all unsold food is 100% diverted from landfill’.

One viewer commented: “What’s frustrating is there are actual Apps around now exactly for this, to take end of day food for ppl [sic] in need. Its infuriating and why we should boycott these businesses until they change. Thank you for putting your job on the line to show this.”

@lord.nicc566

Watch me get fired for this 😵‍💫😂 #foryourpage #foodwaste

♬ masquerade x mtr – jovynn

Another person who claims to have also worked for the bakery chain wrote: “I used to work at Greggs too and can back this up. and we aren’t allowed to give it to the homeless either.”

A spokesperson for Greggs has since addressed the video, saying in a statement: “We have a number of initiatives in place to help reduce food waste across our shops including the redistribution of unsold food to community groups and charities.

“We are continually working to increase the amount of unsold food given away to those most in need and remain committed to putting an end to food waste.”

In the days following the posting of the video, Nicole confirmed that she had been fired and was left looking for work in the run up to Christmas.

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Safety alert issued over car seats as parents told to stop using them ‘immediately’

Batches of carseats reportedly have a buckle defect

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Cosatto

A safety alert has been issued over a batch of children’s car seats containing ‘potentially defective’ parts.

Cosatto, a Bolton-born retailer specialising in pushchairs, highchairs and car seats for children, has issued the safety alert for the buckles on its ‘All in All+’ and ‘All in All Rotate’ car seats, of which there are eleven different models.

The notice from Cosatto reads: “We have identified a potential safety concern relating to the buckle used in the production of a small batch of car seats manufactured between September 2019 and June 2020.

“Unfortunately, the manufacture of some of the buckles did not reach the exacting standards set by our quality and safety protocol and contain components that can potentially become defective.

Cosatto

“We are truly sorry that this has happened. We are a values-driven, family business who want to do the right thing and have taken this action to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children of valued customers like you.”

It has also been revealed that any customer with one of the multi-group car seats (Groups 0+/1/2/3) for children from birth up to 36kg (approximately twelve years old) should stop using them immediately and contact Cosatto.

The company added that only those with batch numbers between 37/2019 and 24/2020 are affected, noting that all other car seats from later batches are safe to use.

Parents have been encouraged to immediately check the batch numbers on their car seats – all of which can be found on a sticker on the right-hand side at the rear.

Cosatto

If their seat is one of the affected, Cosatto is offering a free replacement buckle, which will be dispatched on a next day delivery service.

Here’s the Which? full list of faulty models:

All in All+ car seats

  • Dragon Kingdom (model number CT4262)
  • Unicorn Land (model number CT4238)
  • Harewood (model number CT4239)
  • Mister Fox (model number CT4241)

All in All Rotate car seats

  • Sea Monsters (model number CT4263)
  • Fairy Garden (model number CT4242)
  • Fika Forest (model number CT4243)
  • Hedgerow (model number CT4486)
  • Hear Us Roar (model number CT4418)
  • On The Prowl (model number CT4451)
  • One World (model number CT4449)

You can fill out Cosatto’s online form here to check your model and order a replacement buckle, or alternatively call 08000 149252.

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Snorers can get paid £300 to test ‘anti-snore’ sleep products

We all know someone who’d be perfect for this…

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@silentnightbeds / Instagram

If you’re a serial snorer, this could be your big moment.

For years, we’ve been batting away so-called ‘cures’ for snoring, and have simply been making do with a pair of good quality ear plugs instead.

But with 35% of the adult population being serial snorers, you’d think there would have been a solid solution by now.

Well, the answer may just be on the horizon.

@silentnightbeds / Instagram

UK sleep brand Silentnight is on the hunt for five serious snorers to test their new range of sleep products with a handsome cash reward of £300.

The successful applicants will be given £700 worth of sleep products, all of which claim to prevent snoring in some way or another.

This generous bundle will include a king-size rolled mattress from the award-winning Studio by Silentnight collection, a pair of innovative Anti-Snore pillows designed to encourage improved breathing, and a ‘So Snug’ 13.5 tog winter duvet.

Kat Collins, senior brand manager for Silentnight, said: “As the UK’s most trusted sleep brand, we think it’s important to celebrate all types of sleepers and so are giving back to snorers across the country with an exciting new role this year.

@silentnightbeds / Instagram

“But, this is official business and we’re looking for applicants who take their sleep seriously. As part of our mission to change how people sleep for the better, we know that customers’ feedback on our products is fundamental to our future launches so can’t wait to hear our new ‘employees’ thoughts.”

If you think you’re up to the job, all you’ll need to do is complete the entry form on the Silentnight website and sign up to Silentnight’s newsletter, and follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

If your application is successful, Silentnight will contact you via email, as well as remove and recycle your old mattress, if needed, for free.

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