How to outsource your cleaning for a £1

Other hats are available

Other hats are available

Here’s a quick thought as we head in to the weekend – I was at the six nations rugby last weekend. Unlike football, rugby actively encourages drinking on the terrace. Recently, the rugby ground has started charging a £1 deposit for the glasses.

There are a few price-sensitive types who might keep one, or many of their £1 glasses. The reality is though that people get drunk. They abandon their glasses. Or drop them. Or wear them as a hat.

At the end of the game though, I spotted a small boy and his dad scooping up glasses as they walked around the terrace – they had at least 50. Nor were they alone. There were eager pods of glass-pickers gleefully scooping up their plastic-money-tokens all over the stadium.

It made me wonder – how much cheaper was this? The stadium had outsourced the cleaning of the stadium terraces like this:


Those who wanted to do it

Glass collectors.

Those who were price-insensitive enough to pay for it

The spectators who dropped their glasses.


The result

A terrace largely free of glasses for the cleaning crew and as someone who worked at Wembley Stadium in my youth I can tell you, sweeping up rolling glasses is nigh on impossible. Oh how they roll. Roll. Roll. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

At £85 a ticket, you would be hard pressed to collect enough glasses to cover the cost of the event, negating it as a money making venture.

The plastic-glass-deposit thing is obviously a ruse. Pint buyers grudgingly acknowledge they are getting fleeced by an extra pound on every pint, while grudgingly acknowledging that they could of course get their £1 pound back. While grudgingly getting too drunk to care at the end. Then there's no more grudges. Just headaches.

In economic terms, losing your pint glass in this way is a sunk cost. Although a sunk cost is supposed to be a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered - the problem is, once you’ve bought that pint, it certainly feels like the money has gone!

Hannah LewisComment