A young girl in the UK allegedly found the following written in one of the Christmas cards she purchased from the supermarket, Tesco:
We wrote previously about the ridiculously ineffective Modern Slavery Act and its various international variations, in which the following quote featured:
The BHRCC research, from October 2017, commended Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Unilever, British American Tobacco, Tesco and Vodafone for their work against modern slavery.
It would seem, Prima Facie, Tesco’s statement on a website didn’t do much to counter slavery in the supply chain.
However, our Bullshit Detector is flashing regarding this story.
Firstly, that note has zero spelling or grammatical errors or even any indication in the prose suggesting a non-native English speaker wrote it. Even the best speakers and writers of English as a second language usually give unintentional hints in the written form.
Secondly, it seems all too perfect a coincidence that a small girl would traumatically find the note. Of all the Christmas cards written in the UK, what percentage are written by small children, do we think? I’m going to suggest less than 2%.
Then there’s the interesting career of her father, Ben Widdicombe:
Today’s LinkedIn profile was brought to you by the words “political” and “activist“.
Two facts can be correct at the same time.
It is highly likely Chinese factories producing Tesco’s Christmas cards are using or have used forced (or at least, “coerced“) prison labour.
It can also be true that a man who has spent his entire life as a political activist wrote the note in the card and put it in a pile for his daughter to write.
I’m no fan of nor apologist for the Chinese government, as polemics such as this and this would attest, but my patented razor suggests the most likely explanation of this story is that it is The Tesco Christmas Card Hoax of 2019 and was perpetrated by Ben Widdicombe.
A correspondent has suggested the note has been translated and the original is not being shown to protect the writer.
Previous reporting of similar notes have stated this translation has occurred but I’ve yet to find reporting of this for this specific case.
Regardless, translated note or otherwise, the strongest indication of this being a hoax is the unlikelihood of the small child of a lifelong political activist finding a note in a card from a Chinese slave labourer.
Update 2: “Handwriting changed“