Theme park slammed for

Apr 21 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Escape the workplace-rat race. Skip work and go to a theme park. Thatís the message youíll find at, a new website that has ruffled more than a few feathers.

The trouble with the site is that it has been set up by the giant UK theme park Alton Towers; according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), it encourages people to make false excuses to get time off work to visit.

The FSB said that it was unhappy that the site was promoting a mid-week discount offer, claiming it would spark absenteeism.

"Do you know a friend in need of a great day out - away from work? Simply e-mail this URL to them and they too can get out of the office and have a great day out at Alton Towers," the web site says.

Stephen Alambritis of the FSB said: "Every company has the right to market their products as they see fit and discount their products and services as required. But the website I Hate Work is unethical and should be taken down. We are hopeful that Alton Towers will see sense."

He added that if Alton Towers did not take the site down the FSB would investigate other avenues such as a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.

The site was set up after research found that one in three of its adult visitors during the week should have been at work with male skivers outnumbering their female counterparts by two to one. One in ten of those people had not bothered to warn their employers of their absence and nine out of ten of these said they did not feel guilty about their actions.

In a further unlikely contribution to our understanding of peopleís views on their workplaces, a third of the adult visitors to the park said they hated their jobs so much they did not care about the consequences.

Alton Towers is unrepentant about the site - and doubtless welcomes the publicity.

Marketing manager Mike Lorimer said that many skivers claimed they were throwing sickies because they did not get enough holiday time.

"We were actually quite surprised by the number of skivers we appear to have on park, and expect our website to be really popular as a result," he said.

"It's not up to us to reduce absenteeism and if workers want to take advantage of the mid-week deals, why not?"

But Stephen Alambritis retorted: "Staff 'pulling sickies' is demoralising for other employees. It is also a disciplinary offence. How would management at Alton Towers like it if their staff pulled a sickie to spend the day at [rival theme parks] Chessington World of Adventure or Blackpool?"