Anyone who has been a spokesperson for an organisation will know that awful feeling when they say something foolish to a journalist. Mark Gouldthorp, the managing director of Raleigh cycles, must be wondering why he ever agreed to become the subject of last week's Guardian's Friday business profile. Gouldthorp dismissed the big retailers that sell his products such as Halfords as a 'bunch of vipers' while mocking other bike shops:
"Independent retailing in the UK is a shambles. It is real Steptoe and Son stuff. Most of them will turn the lights off on a sunny day to save a bit of lecky. If you want to imagine the typical independent bike dealer, he is 50-60, highly cynical, miserable, moaning, scruffy. That's my customer. It is great."
I imagine Raleigh's marketing and PR people will have spent the last few days busily rebuilding bridges destroyed by their boss.
Talking of PR disasters, Tesco will have been embarrassed by a story in today's Daily Mail about a heavily pregnant woman who was fined £90 for parking in a mother and toddler space at the Tesco store. Tesco has sensibly refunded the fine but the company that operates the car park for the supermarket was unrepentant. The paper quotes Brian Walker, operations manager of Safe Park UK:
"There are signs saying that if you park here and you don't have a child then you will be fined and this lady did not have a child.
"Pregnancy is not a disability. It is a lifestyle choice and these bays are aimed at being wider for buggies."
He then rather ruined an already threadbare argument by adding:
"If someone has a broken leg and they need a wider bay then we will show compassion and let them park there."