As a whole, society agrees to this interpretation. Sometimes though, a little too fanatically - an employee in Poundland in Lisburn was asked to remove their poppy because the store's dress policy doesn't allow for it. Like any grown-up in a workplace, she walked out and the media was alerted. As expected, Poundland didn't intend for any offence.
"On 28 October a situation in Northern Ireland was brought to the company's attention where a store colleague was politely asked to remove a poppy by our store manager in order to comply with company policy."
"The store colleague decided to walk out and stated that she would return on Monday next wearing her poppy."Most work places allow the wearing of a poppy, but if somewhere doesn't approve of "accessorising" the uniform, as it were, then as an employee you are contractually obliged to comply. If you don't agree with it, then bring it up in a mature manner, perhaps through a union or with a few of your colleagues who agree with you. Walking out and proclaiming you haven't learnt anything isn't going to win you much favour in the workplace and will most likely label you as a troublemaker. If anything else, just don't wear the poppy at work - there's nothing stopping you from pinning one on your coat after you leave.
I read another blogger's take on this (The Guyliner on Huffington Post UK) and he makes a good point. For some reason, people look down on you when you don't wear a poppy, or when you walk past the collection tins without putting something in. When I was more naive, I used to think the same way about people who didn't wear poppies for Rememberence Day, and every year I would buy a poppy in part to show my support and in part because I didn't want people to think I DIDN'T support the soldiers.
Until recently, I had a fabric rose pinned to my coat for the local hospice when they were collecting outside my local supermarket. I say until recently, because like anything pin to my coat, I eventually lose it from general moving around. I lamented the loss slightly (it was a nice rose) but you know what? Only I'd notice the missing flower. And it didn't mean I lost my support for the organisation either. The same applies here. Just because there isn't a poppy on your lapel doesn't mean you don't support the troops or the charity - really, I think you can do no worse than the extremists last year who burned poppies as a deliberate act of incitement and display of non-support.
Breast Cancer Awareness has a pink ribbon, the Marie Curie Foundation has a yellow daffodil. Heck, Help the Heroes has a little medal. And yet, no one will look at you strangely if you don't wear any of these. Just because this time of year, it becomes almost high fashion for this red poppy to be worn everywhere (and yes, high enough fashion that there are designer poppies for sale as well). I think this story is a little blown out of proportion - a bit like when nurses and air stewardesses are asked to remove their crucifixes at work, though the reasoning behind this example is only slightly different.
All in all, I guess what I was trying to say is that there's no need to blow up because your employer told you not to wear a flower to work - I can't wear my favourite ring to work and I don't whinge about it. There's more important things to worry about and if you're worried about being able to wear a poppy to work, maybe you should be worrying more about why you're wearing that poppy in the first place. In fact, maybe you should be thinking more about the troops who are represented by that flower than the flower itself.