Tuesday, 24 March 2009

How urban myths are created

The story of the Polish deli owner accused of refusing to serve English customers just didn't ring true - either in the Mail, Mirror or Telegraph.

In fact, the story claims one 17 year old girl was thrown out, so 'customers' is inaccurate before you even start. But the story never explains why. We hear from the girl and her mum, who make it sound as if she was just trying to buy a drink. Now what kind of shop owner would throw out a customer who just wanted a drink. Was it maybe she was looking at alcoholic drinks? Maybe there was another reason she was thrown out...

In any case, Michail Bak's Polish deli is in Goole, a town at the last census of 17,600 people. As it's in Yorkshire it's fair to assume a very high proportion of these are English (and Yorkshire folk at that!) So where would be the sense in turning away English customers?

Mr Bak is quoted saying: 'I don't turn anyone away from my shop' but is not allowed to explain what might have happened. I wonder why. Any journalist could have sat outside his shop for a short period and seen who was served and who wasn't, in order to check this out. But that might have inconveniently uncovered some truths...

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