Weird Workplace

All kidding aside; Naked cuisine causes a stir; Off in a puff of smoke; Hammy Hamster would be pleased; Foot loose and fancy free
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/06/2014

ALL KIDDING ASIDE

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA — Every parent warns their children about the perils of the monkey bars and slippery slide at the playground, but you don’t often hear "Watch out for the prisoner chained to the seesaw." In Bogota, one playground became a makeshift holding cell due to overcrowding at a nearby jail, according to the Associated Press. The inmates, chained to each other, a fence and a children’s slide, were suspected of crimes ranging from robbery to drug trafficking and were guarded by groups of officers on eight-hour shifts. The practice has been going on for more than two months though human rights groups are calling it inhumane and, not surprisingly, parents aren’t happy. "The children and my nine-year-old daughter can’t come to the park and see this spectacle," said engineer Jaime Rojas, who lives nearby. "There are criminals who have committed all types of crime here." But one inmate said the biggest problem isn’t food or sleeping: "The problem is hygiene — where to do our necessities."

NAKED CUISINE CAUSES A STIR

VANCOUVER — Catering company Naked Sushi has come under fire for introducing the Japanese tradition of nyotaimori, which features naked female models displaying raw fish. An online petition is urging health authorities in British Columbia to shut down the business, calling the practice sexist and gross, according to the National Post. "A company is literally objectifying women by using their employees’ naked bodies as platters for sushi," said the petition. But there is growing interest in the tradition on a counter-cultural level, according to Mark Scharaga of New York City’s Nyotaimori, a body-sushi caterer. "It’s an art form – you have to expect that (criticism)." Others have criticized those who are turning to body-sushi catering for business meals. "Would we want business meetings at strip clubs or Hooters? Probably not," said Janni Aragon, associate professor of women’s studies at the University of Victoria. "It’s especially awkward for (female professionals) because third-degree sexism does exist."

OFF IN A PUFF OF SMOKE

ANCHORAGE — There’s nothing like the on-air version of an employee quitting, but one Alaskan resident made quite an impression with her departure. TV reporter Charlo Greene quit her job on live TV after reporting on the Alaska Cannabis Club — and then identifying herself as the owner, according to the Associated Press. (Alaska residents will be voting on decriminalization in November.) Greene said she would be "dedicating all my energy toward fighting for freedom and for fairness, which begins with legalizing marijuana here in Alaska." She then swore and walked off-camera. KTVA news director Bert Rudman apologized for Greene’s inappropriate behaviour and the fact she had a personal and business stake in the issue she was reporting. "This betrayed the basic bedrock of responsible journalism," he said.

HAMMY HAMSTER WOULD BE PLEASED

SAN FRANCISCO — We’ve got standing desks and treadmill desks, so it should come as no surprise that San Francisco-based artist Robb Godshaw and developer Will Doenlen have created a hamster wheel for humans. Eighty inches in diameter with a base 24 inches wide, the wooden wheel is made of plywood, skate wheels and pipes, and employers should be happy — a standing desk can be put inside. "The treadmill desk has become a fixture in a lot of Bay Area office scenes," Godshaw told the Huffington Post. "The issues with treadmills are that you don’t set your own pace, and they’re not (as) interesting as furniture." But be warned — there are no brakes.

FOOT LOOSE AND FANCY FREE

LONDON — It helps to know people in high places. Kerrianne Covell, keen to become a TV star, recently took off work to try out for the X Factor talent show in England — even though she had been fired from two previous jobs for the same reason, and was warned about doing the same by her current boss at Foot Locker. Luckily, she impressed the judges enough for music mogul Simon Cowell to call her boss apologizing for her absence, according to the Daily Mail. He left a voice mail message saying: "Hello, it’s Simon Cowell. I’m phoning to apologize actually for Kerrianne not being at work today. She has got through to the next round but would like her job back in the short term. But if she makes it through, she’ll probably never talk to you again. I hope that’s OK. Call me, bye." And it worked — Covell was not fired. "Foot Locker fully support Kerrianne in her X Factor journey," said a spokesperson. Considering the publicity, did they have any choice?