In my career as a journalist, I knew the day might come when I would have to write a story like this, but nothing prepared me for the actuality of carrying it out. It is with a heavy and confused heart that THUMP can confirm that the Southampton branch of Oceana's 'Cheeky Tuesdays' promotion has been branded "ridiculous" by a food bank, as first reported by BBC News.
The situation, as we currently understand it, involves a promotion led by the Southampton branch of Oceana, known locally as 'Cheeky Tuesdays'. 'Cheeky Tuesdays', according to the BBC, runs every Tuesday night, and affords punters the option to enter the club for the price of one banana as opposed to the usual £5 entry fee. As BBC South Today reporter Matt Graveling demonstrates below in a video report, not five pounds, instead, one banana.
So far so without massive controversy? Well, sadly not everybody in Southampton is too happy with the prospect of 'Cheeky Tuesday'. According, again to the BBC, Louisa Hamidi of food project Curb has slammed Oceana for the scheme which she describes as a "waste of time."
Hamidi, who coincidentally is literally what you see when you close your eyes and imagine someone who works for an environmentally focused grassroots food project, has highlighted that bananas are already the "most wasted fruit in the UK." Hamidi, in her interview with BBC South Today reporter Matt Graveling, was keen to remind Oceana that bananas "come from, like, central and south America." In her eyes, asking people to buy bananas to use as tickets is "ridiculous."
From here things only get more complicated. Any hopes of Oceana bowing to external pressures were dashed when they released the following statement.
"We haven't slipped up! Cheeky Tuesdays is a light hearted promotion that we introduced a while ago. The bananas we receive, on average 50-to-60 a week, are offered to our 120-employees to eat during their shift."
"If there is a local charity such as Curb, who could benefit from the unused bananas, then we would be more than happy to donate them."
It's a tough read. There's no mistaking the allusion to bananas in the statement's opening line, "We haven't slipped up!" — banana skins are somewhat famously, slippy. While there is a possible olive branch in the shape of Oceana's offer to donate any leftover bananas to Curb, it's along way from healing the wounds. THUMP have pressed further with the investigation, and it is clear from the Southampton branch of Oceana's Twitter that 'Cheeky Tuesdays' shows no signs of slowing. If this particular tweet is anything to go by, the club are now throwing caution completely to the wind and leaving bananas out in the open with hashtags and quips all over them. Club night promotion, or sick joke aimed at Curb? It's difficult to tell.
As hard as it is, this is possibly the tip of the iceberg. There's no real way of knowing just how big this conflict is going to get, and just what the eventual toll will be on Southampton. For now, what are we are left with? A cautionary tale of gluttony, and environmental costs, and the powerful image, of 120 Oceana employees, crammed into a dimly lit staff room, silently feasting on 50-60 bananas.