News Report October 2014
News Report October 2014: To tip or not to tip, that is the question – How fashionable is business? – How dangerous are cats? – Extreme commuting – Christmas dinner
To tip or not to tip, that is the question – How fashionable is business? – How dangerous are cats? – Extreme commuting – Christmas dinner
Do you leave a tip when you pay for a meal? And how much do you tip?
Michael Lynn from Cornell University thinks that tipping is worth about $40bn each year. That’s more than twice the budget of Nasa.
Indeed, many people say America is the most ‘tip-friendly’country on earth. In New York, leaving a tip of around 20% in restaurants is normal. This compares to around 11% in London.
Why is it so much higher? Mainly because the wages of restaurant workers in the US are usually lower, so the tip is a very important part of their income.
But now some restaurants are trying something different. Sushi Yasuda restaurant in New York has banned tips because they say their staff are already well-paid, and because it makes the dining experience simpler for customers.
And which countries don’t expect tips at all? In Singapore tipping is very rare, and in Fiji, Iceland and Japan, it can cause embarrassment and offence.
How fashionable is business?
The fashion business is big.
In fact, it’s twice the size of the UK car industry, according to the British Fashion Council.
The industry includes design, sales and manufacturing. It’s the largest of the British ‘creative industries’.
During London Fashion Week, buyers from across the world spend around £100m on orders. Many companies are using social media to reach this global market. Burberry puts its catwalk show on the internet so customers can watch online wherever they are.
But it’s also a very competitive business, where 95% of new companies fail in their first five years, says fashion blogger Imran Amed. He says: “For some of these young designers to succeed, they’re shipping to 30 or 40 or 50 countries around the world, they’re sourcing their fabrics and materials from India and from Italy and from France.”
It’s a ‘complex’ business, which needs things like marketing as well as creativity and ideas.
And, if you’re not a well-known brand, it’s easy to go out of fashion.
How dangerous are cats?
A US man called emergency services after he and his family were “trapped” in their bedroom by an angry cat.
Lux, a 10kg Himalayan cat, first scratched the family’s seven-month-old baby. The man then kicked the animal in response. Lux didn’t like this and became very aggressive, which made the family hide in a bedroom.
In the end, police caught the cat, and the child’s injuries were not serious.
But how much of a threat are cats to the human population?
“It’s extremely rare for a domestic cat to behave like this”, says John Bradshaw from Bristol University. With more than 80 million pet cats in the US, this unusual behaviour makes Dr Bradshaw think Lux has “a screw loose”.
“Cats are never aggressive for no reason,” says Sarah Ellis, an expert in cat behaviour at the University of Lincoln.
So, cats who live with people rarely attack humans. But what are feral cats like?
Sarah Ellis says if a kitten doesn’t meet a human between the ages of 3-8 weeks, it could go feral, and may bite or scratch people.
She says it is our “duty” to stop cats being afraid of humans by making sure they have the chance to spend time with people from an early age.
The average worker in Britain spends 54 minutes commuting each day.
But some travel for much longer. These are the UK’s ‘extreme commuters’.
Gary Egen lives in Wales and commutes five days a week to Watford, which is 170 miles away.
“My alarm goes off at 03:30 each day and my journey takes two-and-a-half to three hours,” he says.
But he says he enjoys the time spent travelling: “I have quite a stressful job so I use the journey home to sort my day out in my head and to make a plan for the following day.”
Research from the Office for National Statistics says extreme commuting is becoming more common, and that a travel time of three hours of more is often a happier experience than shorter journeys.
This may be because these extra-long journeys are a lifestyle choice for extreme commuters. They often have a higher than average income and can therefore use their travel time more productively.
Christmas is a time for feasting, but how much is too much?
You’re not alone if you worry about gaining weight over the festive season.
And overeating at Christmas has a long history in Britain. In the 13th century, people celebrated the festival for 12 days, with huge and varied meals every day.
Now, the average person consumes 6,000 calories on Christmas Day.
This is the same as eating 4.8 kg of egg-fried rice, or 42 bananas, or 23 hamburgers. Or you could think of it as eating six 300-g chicken curries, three Indian naan breads and 24 onion bhajis.
Of course, some people have to consume this much in a day. For example, Tour de France cyclists and Arctic explorers must eat a lot because they use so much energy.
But, for the rest of us, Christmas Day is usually a time for staying indoors and relaxing, so we probably won’t burn off those 6,000 calories when we’re watching TV.
In fact, an average man has to run for ten hours, and an average woman has to swim for eight hours to do this.
So, do we have to go running the next day?
Sian Porter from the British Dietetic Association says you don’t have to diet for a long time: ‘You can be bad and then be good over the other days – it’s over in a short space of time, and you can rebalance those extra calories by cutting back elsewhere.’
Christmas dinner, it seems, is here to stay.