It’s only the eighth of November, and I am already on my second poppy of the year. Well, I say “poppy”, closer inspection reveals it to be made of coloured paper and plastic.
The first one only lasted a day or so. I bought the replacement on Saturday. We shall see how long it lasts.
There is a flaw in the design of these poppies. In order to attach the poppy, you are issued simply with a pin. A regular straight pin. The idea is that you insert the pin into, then out of, the fabric of your lapel and then into and out of it again. This creates a section where the pin forms a metal bar, behind which the poppy stalk can be passed through and held in place by the sort of sticky-outy bit of the stalk.
The problem, as far as I see it, is that the sticky-outy bit* is on the front of the stalk. This works fine if you are attaching the poppy to a shirt or jumper or some such item of clothing without an actual buttonhole. I wear my poppy on my coat however, passing it through the button-hole in my lapel. Consequently, all of the pinwork is reversed and the sticky-outy bit is all but useless. I have to contort the stem to enable it to function. It would be better to have a sticky-outy bit on both the front and back. Although even this would not be ideal.
The ideal solution would be to have two triangular sections added to the left and right of the stalk (rather than the front and back). I have illustrated this below (please note, this is just a rough sketch to explain the concept and should not be taken as an indication of what the finished, improved poppy would look like):
There’s something slightly effeminate about that stalk. Anyway, the point is, this new design would allow the pin to pass through the “arms” and behind the stalk, holding it securely, illustrated below:
Now, it can’t possibly be the case that in all these years, no-one at the British Legion has ever spotted the problem with the current poppy design. It can’t be that they have never noticed the soggy bits of red and green paper lying on our pavements. They must be aware that something is wrong. And yet, they choose to do nothing. What could be the reason for such inaction? Obviously, the radical new design I have suggested above would require retooling in all of their factories. It’s slightly more complicated to manufacture. But can that on its own be the reason they are sticking with this clearly flawed design? No, there must be some deeper reason.
Ask yourself, which organisation, after all these years, is still making money from the First World War? Germany isn’t even paying reparations anymore. The one organisation still raking it in, year in year out, is the Royal British Legion. Why, when suckers like me end up having to buy replacement poppies every few days, would they cut off this lucrative second income stream? Those bastards. Those kind, charitable bastards.
* I apologise for not knowing the correct term, please do let me know what it is called, perhaps it is in fact the stalk, and the other bit is the stem. Wikipedia is suggesting some sort of internode/petiole absurdity but I will take no part in such nonsense.