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I think The Olympics are great. I really enjoyed watching the opening ceremony in our local. I was a little apprehensive about the brand new big screen, but actually, it works and the bar is long and narrow enough to be able to escape its intrusiveness. I'm sure it'll help drive customers to the pub, especially as places without any TV often suffer during major sporting events.

I'm digressing from my main point. Although the Olympics are great, and I understand the need for both acceptance of some inconvenience and the need for big business sponsors, I am concerned that in reality there is little payback and much inconvenience for small business.

I've been told that there is a strict ban on any use of the Olympics by businesses for promotion unless they are directly sponsoring the games. I have heard some horror stories about various small concerns being forcibly told not to support the Olympics. I haven't got direct corroboration of this, but my information is from a reliable source. Update: Found the story. One story is about a small shop that got raided simply for putting up a few balloons (and, it turns out, banners, flags and stuff). The shop thought they was just joining in with the spirit of the thing.

I do know that some places in central London have found that their businesses have been disrupted by The Games. In particular, deliveries have been made more difficult by insisting deliveries are made at night. I'm sure London in general will benefit from the event, and perhaps most small businesses will also see an increased footfall negating the disadvantages. However, there seems to be an indication that the extra people in London have been countered by people staying away due to the fear of it being busy, I wonder if the overall effect is positive.

We have been indirectly impacted in various ways. We do sell some beer to places in London. We have seen disruption to ordering patterns that we are told is a result of The Games. We decided not to do anything Olympic orientated for fear of reprisals. We could have been bold and provoked controversy, of course, but that seems to be the wrong thing to do.

So, in summary, the little guy is told to put up with the disruption because it's good for the country, but we are prevented by law from taking advantage of the publicity because the big sponsors have insisted.

I'd love to know if this is just a jaded view, an overly biased conspiracy theory about big multinationals stamping on small business under the name of a common good. Perhaps I am paranoid. Or perhaps small business has been shit on again.