Watercooler Stories

By United Press International

'McJob' demands some 'McRespect'

LONDON, March 22 (UPI) -- The McDonald's restaurant chain wants Britain's Oxford English Dictionary to sweeten up its derogatory remarks about the term "McJob" to reflect reality.


The dictionary describes the term as "an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, especially one created by the expansion of the service sector," and the Oakbrook, Ill., company has started a petition in Britain to change the definition.

"We believe the term is not only inaccurate but also insulting to our 67,000 British employees in stimulating, rewarding jobs which offer excellent career prospects. The definition of McJob should reflect this," a McDonald's spokesman said.

Meanwhile, The Sun tabloid endorsed the call, noting restaurant managers earn $78,000 a year and get a company car, employees get pay reviews, pensions, private health insurance and rapid promotion.

The newspaper also said only two of five applicants are qualified enough to be hired for "McJobs."


Tigger socks basic civil liberty?

NAPA, Calif., March 22 (UPI) -- The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit on behalf of a Napa, Calif., middle school student who was punished for not obeying a school dress code.

The suit says Toni Kay, 14, showed up for the first day of school at Napa Valley Unified School District wearing a denim skirt, a brown shirt with a pink border, and long socks with pictures of Tigger, a character from "Winnie-the-Pooh," the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.

The dress code, from which Kay's parents asked she be exempted, allows for solid-colored blue, white, green, yellow, khaki, gray, brown or black clothing with no words, pictures, symbols or patterns. The only fabrics allowed are cotton twill, chino and corduroy.

The ACLU claims in the suit that the dress code imposed by Redwood Middle School and the Napa Valley Unified School District violates the limits of a California law that allows for schools to set reasonable dress code policies for safety reasons. The law allows for parents to exempt their children from any school uniform requirements.

Limos big and yellow at this prom

LEXINGTON, Mass., March 22 (UPI) -- High school students in Lexington, Mass., will be taking the bus to the prom and they're not all happy about it.


"Who takes a bus to the prom, honestly?" junior Allie McDonald griped to the Boston Globe. "You're supposed to have a limo."

Administrators at Lexington High School mandated the new transportation out of concern about drinking and drug use on prom night.

"We as a community, Lexington, need to do more to address drugs and alcohol abuse, and the dangers it presents to students," Principal Michael Jones told the Globe. "We have an ongoing problem with students drinking before or during dances. It's a game students play with us."

Students have organized an e-mail petition objecting to the new policy, the newspaper said.

Wrong couple besieged by creditors

RICHMOND, Calif., March 22 (UPI) -- A Richmond, Calif., couple said they have been plagued with calls from creditors seeking the former owners of their phone number.

Genevieve Duboscq said she and her partner have received at least one call every weekday since obtaining the phone number one year ago, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.

"It quickly became clear that the phone number we'd been given by the phone company used to belong to some people who couldn't pay their debts," Duboscq said.

"It's pretty scary," Duboscq told the Chronicle. "These people assume that my partner and I are somehow related to whoever owes them money. I tell them to please stop calling, but they keep calling."


"These people are relentless," said Steve Blackledge, legislative director of the California Public Interest Research Group in Sacramento.

"Their persistence can be very intimidating," he said in the newspaper report. "So is their aggressiveness when they get someone on the phone. They'll talk about lawsuits and court orders and bully the person until they get some money out of them."

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