Once again this recession lark has meant that BUBB has been forced into talks with organisations we would much rather shun. Yesterday I spent nearly all day with the World Umbrella Stand Society (WUSS) about a possible alliance, merger, collaboration (call it what you will, but it is really a takeover though by who of whom depends on who spins it best). WUSS as you may know has had a chequered history, going back many years with its controversial stance on elephant's foot stands which it still defends as acceptable despite the usual howls of protest from the woolly shirt brigade, especially those tripod pachyderm champions.
My problem with WUSS isn't about the senseless use of an animal's appendage as a decorative gamp tidy but a more ideological concern about the role of umbrella stands in general. Yes, people need somewhere to put their umbrellas when not in use but some of the stands you see are elaborate and ornate to the point of taking the focus away from the brolly itself. WUSS has been instrumental in promoting this "big I am" attitude among stands and it has caused much concern to my members, especially as some of the stands are also extremely uncomfortable.
But tough times call for tough talking so we are trying to resolve our differences. If it really is gong to be a long, hot summer, my members need assurance that the time they spend unused in a hallway storage solution will be as pleasant as possible.