Five Lessons Learnt This Week

This week in Five Lessons Learnt, learn the difference between “flowers” and “flours”, why Starbucks employees are being extra nice, the top two things you should never do at an airport and why living on a train can be cheaper than paying rent…

1. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

Image by Burger King

There are some rivalries that no length of time will settle. Coke vs. Pepsi. Nike vs. Adidas. Batman and the Joker. But one famous rivalry looked about to end – for one day at least. Burger King offered a olive branch to long-time fast food rival McDonalds, proposing that the two join forces to create the McWhopper: a combination of the Whopper and the Big Mac.

The blended burger would be in honour of UN International Day of Peace on the 21st September, with all proceeds going to charity, and would essentially be a Whopper topped with a Big Mac, in half-and-half packaging blending the two brands.

Unfortunately, though, McDonalds CEO Steve Easterbrook was quick to shoot the proposal down, in a brief Facebook post taking Burger King to task for equating their “friendly business competition” with “the unequalled circumstances of the real pain and suffering of war”. And he ended his note with the P.S. “a simple phone call will do next time”. Ouch. Looks like they won’t be settling that beef any time soon…

2. Why spelling matters

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Photo by Paige-Ellen Williams, via Twitter

Possibly our favourite lesson of the week is the story of Paige-Ellen Williams, who jokingly dropped a hint to her boyfriend, Richard Selway, that she’d love to have some flowers delivered to the house. Richard duly complied with her wishes… sort of. The practical joker shunned the local florist and instead ordered 12 bags of flour to be delivered from Tesco.

Ms. Williams was confused when a Tesco delivery man arrived on her doorstep with the “flours” and sent him away, assuming he had the wrong address. But he soon returned having spoken to Richard and confirmed that he’d got the right house.

Joker Richard then advertised the bags of flour as free to a good home – on the condition that whoever took them brought some of their baked goods back. So Richard is now a Twitter sensation who’s eating his body weight in homemade cakes and pies, while his long-suffering girlfriend probably won’t be asking for flowers again any time soon.

3. What not to do in an airport

Photo from
Photo from

Number one, don’t buy expensive liquids before you go through security. Number two, if you do, don’t down said expensive liquid before you get on the plane. Case in point here being a woman in Bejing Airport, named only as Ms. Zhao, who bought a £150 bottle of fancy brandy before heading through customs and was dismayed to find she couldn’t take it on the plane (as no liquids over 100ml are permitted).

Rather than waste the expensive booze and a significant amount of cash, she decided to down the bottle before heading through security. But that didn’t go too well either – she reportedly began to “act wildly and yell incoherently”, before falling into a drunken stupor. And since drunken humans are just as undesirable to security as oversized liquids, she was banned from boarding the plane herself and taken to a side room to sleep off the alcohol.

After seven hours she was sober enough to realise what had happened (and probably more than a little bit embarrassed) and headed home with her family.

If you’re jetting off (hopefully sober and with the correct amount of liquids in your hand luggage – you’ve been warned!) check out the Coolest Travel Gadgets for Traders for all you need to trade, wherever you are. 

4. Living on a train is cheaper than paying rent

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By DBZ2313 at English Wikipedia [CC BY 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons
Fed up of rising rents and rows with landlords? You could always make like German student Leonie Muller and move out for good – and make a home on public transport instead. Leonie pays £240 for a monthly train season ticket, a saving of £50 on the £290 she used to pay in rent. She packs all of her belongings, including her laptop, clothes, textbooks and wash bag in a backpack that she takes everywhere with her and studies for her degree, sleeps, eats and even washes her hair on high-speed trains.

Leonie says the nomadic lifestyle works well for her, allowing her to see her family in Berlin and boyfriend in Cologne regularly, though she admits that noise and security concerns make it difficult for her to sleep at times. And her unusual lifestyle has even inspired her dissertation topic and a blog called Wherever You Go, There You Are, in which she documents her railway adventures.

So what do you reckon? Could you ditch your home comforts and live on public transport?

If you’re setting your sights a little higher than a train carriage, check out these amazing Traders’ Homes We Wish We Owned including George Soros’ trio of luxury homes – well, why have one house when you can have three?

5. Starbucks employees are being extra nice

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Photo by Hao Zing, via Flickr [CC by 2.0]
If you’ve been served your morning caffeine fix by an extra chipper barista this week, you can thank Howard Schultz for that. Concerned about the effect of volatility in the stock markets and the so-called #FallofChina on coffee-seeking traders, the Starbucks CEO sent an email to his 190,000 employees asking them all to be sensitive to their customers’ plight.

In his Monday morning email, Howard wrote how “customers are likely to experience an increased level of anxiety and concern” and urged employees (or “partners”, as he calls them) to “be very sensitive to the pressures our customers may be feeling, and do everything we can to individually and collectively exceed their expectations”.

If market chaos has you feeling stressed, check out our Top 10 Ways to Take a Break From Trading – just in time for the weekend!

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