Too Many DSS Tenants On The Same Street Can Reduce The Value Of Your Property

How utterly thoughtless of me, I haven’t thrown together a DSS/DWP tenant related blog post in a while. I know how well they go down around ‘ere, like a smooth shot of Bourbon cum.

*mutters* I’ve probably been slack because I’ve been preoccupied with trying to evict employed private tenants that fell into arrears and blogging about that sack-of-shit nightmare. Oh, the horrific irony.

In any case, it always feels like Christmas when I publish one of these posts because everyone seems strangely happier and more enthusiastic to get involved. I remember reading the results of a shady survey that implied drivers are more likely to give-way during the Christmas period compared to any other time of year because they’re in that festive jolly mindset. That’s exactly the kind of affect I’m talking about.

I’ve probably covered enough ground on the subject of DSS tenants, if not too much. However, the issue still manages to pull in the crowd and rank as the most active section on this website, so I may as well continue to fuel the fire. Power to the people.

In one corner, you have DSS tenants arguing that they’re not all manufactured off the same production line, so landlords should stop discriminating against them and treat them on individual merit. In the other corner, the landlords are saying, “come on, you’re high-risk, which makes you mostly the same… and you smell funny”

The debate has been battered to pieces for centuries now, and I imagine it will continue long past my checkout date.

Personally, I’m still continuing my crusade of refusing to deal with DSS tenants because I’ve had more bad experiences than good. That’s fair enough, right? But the reality is, any type of tenant can be problematic, whether they’re in receivership of housing benefits or not *mutters* as my recent experience highlights.

However, for example, dealing with DSS tenants in arrears is much more infuriating and difficult to digest compared to when private tenants are in arrears. Firstly, the council continue to temporarily sign the cheques when their tenants are in arrears, and they advice them to stay in the property by the grit of their teeth, to the bitter end, because as soon as they vacate the property, the council will have to rehouse them. I refuse to support a legislation like that.

Secondly, it’s the moral issue, you see.

I know, how delusional. I’m actually leveraging morals. I’d accept sex as rent payment.

The issue is, DSS tenants actually receive an allowance from the Government, bankrolled by tax payers, to either partially or entirely pay for their accommodation. They didn’t earn the money, they were given the money for the sole purpose of paying their rent, among other living expenses. So when they fall into arrears, you’re left wondering where the fuck the money went. It’s bloody infuriating, so I’d rather keep my blood pressure level at a happy medium by avoiding it at all costs.

But that’s just two examples of why I don’t accept DSS tenants. My thoughts on the matter go much deeper, and I’ve discussed many of my frightful insights in the DSS/DWP tenants archive. Knock yourself out.

I’ve actually got massively side-tracked, because the issue I want to open up and discuss is colonisation. Last week I received an anti-DSS tenant email from a random geezer that is currently living in an area with a high density DSS population. He discusses his personal experience of the affects of them colonising in his hood…

I’m a none scrounging 40 + an hour working man who is a private tenant. My girlfriend also works full-time. We’re soon to become homeowners – thank FUCK

DSS does not stop at the landlord’s property they wreck – it can bring a whole street down to a cider-drinking drug den in no time. My landlady only took working people, I am one of them, and now because DSS tenants have moved in left right and centre, and because they drink and inject drugs all night can sleep all day, the net effect on the area is that we’re among the last working tenants to leave.

DSS tenants don’t just bring down a landlord, they bring down every adjoining landlord on a street. I’ve set up my landlord for this- sent a long Land Registry report, photos etc – why? Because she’s been damned good to me over the years and I just know once we’re gone, any working people will not be able to move in or survive here – hence the price will drop, or worse still, DSS people will move in

To my mind, DSS are like cancer to a lovely landlady; they run down a whole area. Any landlord either directly involved with DSS, or in my experience, even renting a terrace next to landlords who DO pander to DSS, has to price that into his business plan i.e. be prepared to take a substantial loss. My heart goes out to the decent landlords and tenants in this country who just want to get on with it and work- my landlord doesn’t deserve this, I don’t deserve this. The sickest thing is my tax is bankrolling these creatures drug taking.

I’ll finish with an adaptation of the old not all Muslims are terrorist line – not DSS are drug addicts, but most drug addicts are DSS.

Interesting.

I haven’t officially responded to the chap who sent me the email, but hopefully he will read this and accept this is a response and a courteous appreciation for sharing his situation.

I mostly agree with him, in the sense that if DSS tenants are closely condensed onto the same street, the street will most likely start to become undesirable to working tenants and consequently lose value. I have no doubt in my mind that it happens all over the country. I’m not saying that every street with a high DSS density is riddled with crime and drugs, I’m just saying that it will have an affect on value because to the outside world it’s an undesirable situation.

The point is, it’s one of a hundred variables landlords should be aware of and take into consideration. An issue like this can potentially seriously damage profits, so it’s not to be taken lightly! Do your neighborhood research.

Has anyone actually experienced this affect? Has anyone felt a direct financial impact because of a high DSS population in or around a property you own? Estate/Letting agents probably see this affect in full-swing all the time…

19 Comments- join the conversation...

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Tinny 7th January, 2013 @ 10:53

I sold my house due to this. My street, once a nice working class street has in 10+ years become a heaven to DSS renters and eastern europeans who may or may not be on housing benefit but who have turned one bedroom town houses meant for a single person or a professional couple, into houses to have up to 3 kids in. The street is littered with kids whose parents do nothing all day but are too busy to take them to a proper park to play so driving a car down the road can take as much as 10 minutes as one needs to wait till 18 month old who is minded by his 3 year old sister decides to move off the street. Not to mention that everyone has a dog but equal attitude when it comes to walking them properly or cleaning after them. The lovely Lithuanian ladies who are on DSS were also running an operation every weekend from their property when a big truck would turn up, slowly load up with cars, motorbikes and cycles without registrations and go only to return the next weekend. Once reported to the police, I felt like a criminal because calling either local police or a council gets them immediately offended. I wonder why they answer the phone. I sold the house and am now living in a much nicer area down the road. I no longer have to listen to the next door neighbour's kid screaming at 11.30pm because it is time to go to bed and then again at 8am when it is time to go to school. Frankly, I wanted to burn the whole street to stop it spreading. Perhaps the capping of housing benefit will make landlords more selective due to necessity.

I do agree DSS people are not all the same, I have a friend on incapacity benefit due to damage she received whilst being poisoned at work. She was once someone who owned 2 houses and who had a good job but that is easily checked. She won't wreck your house. I had a terrible time finding a place with 2 cats, even after promising 2 months deposit, to pay for the insurance etc...and the fact that my indoor cats are so clean they get stressed if I don't immediately clean the litterbox after they used it... so I am now aware that stereotyping happens on all levels.

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Benji 7th January, 2013 @ 11:37

"they advise them to stay in the property by the grit of their teeth, to the bitter end, because as soon as they vacate the property, the council will have to rehouse them."

Sort of. The law has just changed allowing councils to discharge their duty by offering tenants a property in the private sector.
Councils no longer have to provide a council house. Tenants no longer have an incentive to make landlords get a possession order.

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Glen 7th January, 2013 @ 16:57

I am lucky enough to not have had to deal with this. My current tenants are fantastic (both working professionals). I will not deal with DSS tenants on the grounds that my mortgage company simply will not allow it so it takes my choice away anyway.

It's a shame that the minority have to ruin it for others.

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Tinny 7th January, 2013 @ 17:17

Glen this is how I feel too, although not a landlord I was considering keeping my house as a rental potential whilst buying elsewhere but decided against it due to the deterioration of the street. I don't think councils are doing anyone any favours (least of all themselves) by not tackling anti social behaviour more vigorously. After the london riots when few of those participating got evicted I thought things will change and people will finally be accountable but it was short lived. I worry about my credit rating as I have to rely on credit checks but those who have nothing to lose can do whatever they like.

Having said that, I remember having a nightmare family renting one of the houses in the road and the residents could not do anything about it due to the fact they had housing benefit rather than being council tenants and we, as a last resort, complained to the landlord, who did not do anything about it. One morning they just left. The landlord came to see the property then and I saw him weeping at the devastation he found. But whilst he was getting the rent, he would not hear the neighbours' complaints or address the issue. I am now renting in the building where it seems people work and I love it so much that it cured me of all psychological ailments I had in the past years, one of them being depression for which I was treated with CBT..all over the state of helplessness regarding the dilapidation of my living environment.

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The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 8th January, 2013 @ 08:27

@Tinny,

That's exactly the kind of issue I was referring to, regarding homeowners having to sell because of overpopulated DSS tenants.

Genuinely is a shame that they ruin it for deserving claimants.

@Benji
Really? When did that law get introduced? That's good news.

About 4 years ago I had a tenant intentionally fall into arrears, and then requested that I send her a letter of intent to evict her, so she could get rehoused into a council house. She said the council needed that letter to get the process moving.

I can't even believe a system like that was put in place!

@Glen
Thanks for dropping by to brag about your perfect tenants ha! :)

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Benji 8th January, 2013 @ 09:40

"Really? When did that law get introduced?"

9th November 2012;

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/2601/made

Search 'homelessness suitability 2012'

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Tinny 8th January, 2013 @ 09:51

I think everything has a flip side, if I was in a position of your ex tenant, I would have tried talking to you in order to get the letter. My friend did this and landlord simply gave her a notice saying he willneed the property after her lease expires. No one ended up owing any money. The thing is that I would personally feel bad owing money and if I saw the situation coming, as you do, I would speak to the landlord at once. Like I would to a bank if I lost a job. I find that solutions crop up when you don't ignore the problems.

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Humberto 26th February, 2013 @ 12:51

I'am looking a studio with DSS welcome.
Can you please help me?

Kind regards

Humberto pinto

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Mandy Thomson 11th February, 2014 @ 08:12

@Humberto - try this site http://www.dssmove.co.uk/property-to-rent which lists property from various agents that are available to tenants and lodgers on benefit.

Mandy

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kountakinte 12th February, 2014 @ 20:48

well I just seen this "I’ll finish with an adaptation of the old not all Muslims are terrorist line – not DSS are drug addicts, but most drug addicts are DSS"

Not all muslims are terrorist, but most terrorist are muslim!
JUST WOW!
I have seen few posts of that bob landlord, and I find it so rude, tinking just about money! Losing propriety value, lossing this, lossing that, at least those person have somewhere to live.
We live in times where what we wear as a brand or what car we have is more important then who we are!

Yes some dss street dont have good manners, but they need help.
Instead what you suggest is that they should just rot in a hole?
Give them a chance, and if you are the so called good working men, give them a example and help them!! Instead of blaming them.

Dont mean to be rude or anything , but I believe you just think about how to make money, and are ready to let someone die. Perhaps you give charity, but did you acutally do charity physically?

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Tinny 12th February, 2014 @ 22:05

@kountakinte
So are you saying some random landlord, who probably pays the mortgage on the property they are letting and the mortgages are often more than the rent in the beginning (at least in London, mine is even with 25% deposit we put down) should feel charitable towards someone they don't have any connection with because they need help? People help themselves, or they don't. Sometimes no amount of help will help. Often families of certain problem tenants have given up helping.

I was an owner of a house in a lovely street until properties got bought and rented by DSS tenants. Working tenants tend to be credit checked and have to provide references. They pay a deposit which they are likely to lose if they treat the property in a horrible way. DSS tenants often get deposit from the state and have nothing to lose. Most are unemployable due to lack of skills, education but most of all motivation. Most of my street would sleep until 3pm. Then play football in the evening into the small hours, shouting. I had to get up for work at 6, often couldn't sleep due to this. Neighbours kids ruined my garden, their dog shit all over my driveway because they could not be bothered to walk it properly. Quite frankly, I think they need some consequences to their behaviour. Before welfare state, if you were a social imbecile, your friends and family would wash their hands of you so there was some reason to behave in a way that enhances society rather than hinders it. With this eternal safety net, we have taken the need to show respect for rules away completely. Because only people who work and own property actually have something to lose and often there is very much support from the authorities regarding the private property. I don't see why it is so hard to understand that there are risks involved in any business and taking on certain tenants enhances that risk. Sadly, lots of good tenants in that category will be tarred with the same brush but I don't think this is something that a landlord should be blamed for, the category should. When my sister in law fell into that category, we guaranteed the rent for her. But I would not have done that if I was related to my ex neighbour. We should stop treating grown ups as children and make them face their stupidity instead. My street was once a lovely street and now it is a dump, full of dog mess, old sodden mattresses rotting in the front gardens no one has bothered to properly dispose of despite the council doing this for free and broken pieces of fences that kids break for fun. I sold my house for what I could get and got out of there. You are right people like that need help, help to realise they have some responsibility towards their environment and neighbours. No amount of being nice will do that.

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Mandy Thomson 13th February, 2014 @ 11:22

@kountakinte and @Tinny

Of course there are plenty of decent people on benefits (excluding the largest group of benefit recipients, which is in fact pensioners). However, the very nature of benefits means that a sizeable anti social minority claim them - these people either have serious issues such as mental health and alcohol problems, or they make a lifestyle choice to simply claim instead of working - sometimes to supplement proceeds of crime.

When (2 years into the first recession) I worked as a floor manager at a Job Centre, the vast majority of our claimants were perfectly normal, decent people but there were also plenty with issues - unfortunately, these were the most visible and the ones who took up most of staff's time - so one could definitely come away with the impression that they were representative of ALL claimants.

I have since become a landlord with a small portfolio of properties. My main reason for not taking tenants on benefits is RISK - I simply don't have the cash reserve to sustain it. For example, if I had a tenant who couldn't pay rent for three months either because of admin issues with LHA payments or because they were simply irresponsble with money (and again, there is a large problem minority on LHA who are like this), it's very likely my property would be repossessed - leaving the tenant homeless, myself losing my investment (which represents my life savings and the only real money in my family) and myself with a bad credit record so building up my business again would be very hard at best.

@kountakinte - should insurance companies accept young male drivers, paying the same rate as other, less risky groups? Isn't that very unfair on the responsible young male drivers - the fact is this isn't viable for many insurance companies - so unfortunately, the good young male drivers suffer - this is business, not charity, not the state. Supposing someone were to tell you to donate £300 each month to help someone on benefit or less well off than you (I'm talking about simply giving the money away and not getting anything for it) - I bet you'd have something to say about it - so why would you expect a landlord to do it? A lot of private landlords are in fact like me, small landlords without resource to carry more than one or two missed rent payments.

No it isn't fair - life isn't always fair - I hope this puts it into perspective.

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Tinny 13th February, 2014 @ 12:09

Well said Mandy. I am sick of hearing bad things being said about people working for living and especially having money due to hard work. Like it immediately means you must somehow share that with those that don't contribute to anything.

I tried helping and guiding my anti social neighbours as well as complaining about them after everything else failed, to no avail. My friend who moved to Australia says that people get hefty fines for anti social behaviour there. Not sure that would work here if you are on benefits. It seems very little can be done to people on welfare unless they are actually in the council property (not merely claiming housing benefit). It is a shame to see so many areas ruined by few really awful people and nobody is doing anything about it. The wider problem is, of course, that kids of people like that are growing up with total lack of respect for anyone's property too. It seems that personal accountability just isn't there.

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Mandy Thomson 13th February, 2014 @ 13:48

Thank you, Trinny.

The problem around welfare in the UK is a very complex one - there are many separate issues:-

-a deviant underclass of claimants, which the current system does little to deal with
-the benefit system itself which simply isn't able to provide adequate support for many claimants
-a dependency culture which is fostered by the system itself - leaving some feeling they've no other option and/or unable to make the change into paid employment as it's not financially viable for them to do so
-implementation of benefit reform: some of Iain Duncan Smith's reforms make perfect sense (such as making the transition into paid employment financially easier) but they have been badly and clumsily implemented to put it mildly (e.g. ATOS and the "bedroom tax" being just two examples)
-last but not least, there is currently a very nasty and ill informed backlash against claimants - benefit bashing seems to have become something of a national sport - this is being targeted against ALL claimants (or at least is having that affect) - not simply the benefit system and the "lifestyle choice" anti social type who have the option to work

My position is that of the right thinking and reasonable majority in this country (who don't speak out as they don't feel the need to) - I'm no bleeding heart who says that everyone claiming benefits is a poor, downtrodden angel who can do no wrong, but on the other hand I am thoroughly disgusted too by those who tar all benefit claimants as "scroungers" and cheap, nasty TV shows such as "The Big Benefits Debate" and "Benefit Street" which is simply exploiting a complex social issue in the worst possible way to get viewer ratings.

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kountakinte 14th February, 2014 @ 15:02

@ Mandy Thomson
The question is then why are the people in the category of relative poverty.
You have had inoff resource to build your portofilo and buy some proprieties. or perhaps you worked it through, but im sure you were better off then others, which enabled you perhaps to achieve it.
Me even if I work hard, I have to claim dss, I dont have the same ethnocentrical group as you, I came from africa, had to. My country has been devasted by war,colonialism, famine, corruption, and now exploitation, most everyything is comming in the western country, without us seen profit comming in. I guess these developing countries are giving all their resource away and get exploited, even their lands gets sold to forgein countries. What do you expect from these families who lived on those land which have been sold off, these hard working person...which even dont know the word welfare. Now I do say, I came here to work, never could I just sit on benefit for more then 1 month. I work part time, and my connexion are not as big as yours perhaps.and study.

Now perhaps you pay high mortgages , but why? the banks are charing interest, the banks are exploiting your work , then they earn 1.24m £ as bonuses.After all they create money out of thin air. It seems nowerdays the one who works less gets more, look at all the scandals from the banks
I still can never comprehend why I should pay high mortgages, and as the bank buys it for less. You end up paying 3 times more. Why? Banks are just helping the wealthy persons. And regularly make scandals of millions of dollars, they lobby for their interests..ect
There comes part of the injustice.

All this to say, do not also just blame the people on benefit again! wheter they are ditry and waking up at 15o*clock or work part time/full time. If the society does not allow you to have social mobility.
And you dont even know or talk to your neighbough, wheter they are poor or rich, and try to help them. Well dont complain. As I believe you can stay on the same street,wheter they are majorty on dss, as long, you have a/build relationship with them, speak to them, they wont be able to move on!(certain do)
But you are the change!
Earning 40k and complaining about people on dss wont help you, if you dont understand them

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Tinny 14th February, 2014 @ 15:54

I really don't blame people on benefit, I blame the benefit culture. If no one paid mortgages and we all decided that the state should give us a place to live, where do you think that would lead? I sympathise with you a great deal, I do think some people are trapped in their situation but having come to UK 22years ago from eastern europe, I forced myself to learn the language by reading a lot, supplemented my job with cleaning jobs, started working as a nanny, job I found through my cleaning job because the people liked me. One job lead to another. I enrolled Open University degree which I did while I worked 40-50 hours a week. Then my Masters. Now I am doing a PhD and funding it myself.
No one gave me anything on the plate. Plenty of time I got discriminated against because I was foreign. But I never took that to mean I cannot move socially, I never felt sorry for myself even though plenty of time I was made to feel like crap by rich people who needed a nanny. I decided to not work for assholes instead of feeling crap about myself.

You mention wider issues. I never blamed UK because I always felt grateful it gave me the life I had, before all human rights which did not exist in my communist country. I think the welfare system is wonderful, imagine if we did not have it. But why should anyone be responsible for anyone else? I agree bankers prosper, but I don't dwell on things I cannot change and instead change things I can. I was on jobseekers allowance one when in between jobs, it made me feel crap so instead I decided to temp and do odd jobs when that happened again instead of claiming. I know this is not something everyone can do. But my point is that there are plenty of opportunities, programs to learn english, help with maths and so on that councils run. People are just not taking them up and sadly, if you compete against someone with skills, if you have none, you will not be hired for a job. When they built the shopping centre in Stratford in London, there was a government scheme to employ people from Newham council's list of long term unemployed. And it shows. That is the only John Lewis where you walk in and 5 assistants are chatting and no one is motivated to help you. When you ask something, they roll their eyes and drag their heels. My ex had a sister who dropped out of school at the first opportunity. Now she is a regional manager for Tesco. She worked hard for it and pushed herself through training at every opportunity. Maybe she is on 40K a year but she certainly doesn't come from a class that does not understand what it is to experience poverty. her parents gave their dog away as they could not afford to feed it. My point is that a lot of it is to do with natural selection and motivation. If you push yourself and you are motivated to learn and get better, opportunities will open up, if not, they won't. Sure, opportunities open for those that are wealthy all the time but why waste time moaning about that, it will never change. Change the things you can change, be informed, ask for opportunities, they rarely fall into your lap. Problem is not tenants that need to be on welfare to bridge some gap in their lives, the disabled etc...problem are those who chose that as a life choice because they have no motivation to do anything or those that have mental or social problems. But I don't see why a private landlord going about his business should take someone under their wing and lose income to help them? Should the responsibility not be with their families, friends and the state. After all I pay taxes, quite a lot actually, so I personally feel I am already helping.

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Mandy Thomson 14th February, 2014 @ 17:29

@Trinny - absolutely brilliant post - really well put! And my congratulations on your remarkable achievements.

@kountakinte

I sympathise with your situation - all I can say is that after what you've been through, having to leave your country, and working and studying part time, like Trinny it seems to me you have what it takes to come out of this in the future and your life will get better - especially with the economy finally recovering.

However, even people like the Wilsons (the landlords who served notice on their tenants on benefits) who have a very large property portfolio, and may or may not be rich, are not obliged to let to any particular tenant (obviously discrimination on racial, gender, sexual orientation grounds etc aside). On the face of it, what they've done is abhorrent but who are we to say? They made their business decision - they may well have made that decision because they had no choice between that and risking their business, in other words, their livelihood and investment - in short, everything they own and have worked for. If we don't like what the Wilsons have done, we don't have to do business with them or other landlords.

Aside from our much bemoaned and abused welfare state, this a capitalist country - our economy works on the creation and generation of wealth by allowing citizens to own and trade goods and services for money and to profit from it - societies which have had and the few that still do have planned economies do not fare well - as Trinny will no doubt agree. Communism was abandoned in Eastern Europe as it didn't work. If you really disagree so much with capitalism, why immigrate to a capitalist country? Why not somewhere like Cuba or North Korea?

As for why I mortgage my properties and I shouldn't be paying mortgages if I don't like it - I don't have any issue with my mortgage provider, in fact I'm extremely grateful to them - without them, I wouldn't be able to own and rent my properties - from which I make some income and generate capital. I hope they are making a good profit, and I wish them well.

Yes, I am very privileged to be a landlord but although there was an element of luck involved it didn't come easily. It's a responsibility I take very seriously and I hope to build on my portfolio in the near future. If I am ever fortunate enough to build my business to the degree where I could sustain several missed rent payments, then I would accept some tenants on benefits, but to let to tenants who might default on rent in my present situation would be akin to building a bonfire of everything both myself and my parents (who are only working class people) have ever had, and setting it alight.

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Mandy Thomson 14th February, 2014 @ 21:05

@Tinny - I'm really sorry about mis-spelling your name!

You said: "That is the only John Lewis where you walk in and 5 assistants are chatting and no one is motivated to help you. When you ask something, they roll their eyes and drag their heels."
There's gratitude for you - you'd think, even if they weren't jumping for joy, they'd be somewhat relieved and willing to give it their best shot - although the job might be a little boring, it's a good, secure, well paid job - John Lewis is a really good employer that looks after it's staff (or share holders - as employees do actually have a small stake in the company). If they don't want the job, they can give it up and I'll take it!

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Tinny 14th February, 2014 @ 22:07

I know Mandy, I did mention this to the manager few times and she was really embarrassed and said: "The problem is that many of these people have not had experience in the past and it is taking time to sink in what John Lewis stands for."
She was diplomatic but as a psychologist, I know that if you have a crap experience in a shop, you will walk out and go somewhere else and you may not even connect what made you feel bad, it could be a subtle thing, such as unhelpful assistants. And you will avoid it in the future. So it does actually pay to have a right employee. I do think welfare for healthy people, especially young people who are lazy can make a difference in what they do with their lives.
I do feel sorry for the elderly and the disabled who seem to always be the first to feel any cuts.

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