Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Sign and the Sainsbury's Supervisor.

The environs of Ashbourne Sainsbury’s have been getting a facelift lately. The car park has been re-surfaced, parking bays have been freshly painted, smart new trolley depositories have been erected, and so on and so forth. One of the sparkling new features to delight the eye and refresh the senses is a range of smartypants modernist signage in plain orange (Sainsbury’s corporate colour) with white text. I read one of them as I walked across to the ticket machine this morning. It read:

This car park is at risk of flooding. Users park here at there own risk.

Clang, clang, clang, clang.

(‘What’s that?’

‘That’s the alarm bells going clang, clang, clang, clang.’

‘Oh, I see.’)

I made my way into the store in search of somebody in a position of authority, and the first person I saw was the young woman who told me recently that she’s no longer a rank-and-file member of staff, but a supervisor. I approached her with the determination one might expect of a sometime writer suffering a modest attack of something approaching the dreaded DT’s.

(Important point: The first thing I noticed about her, notwithstanding my state of agitation, was that she’s re-invented her image since she entered the ranks of the NCOs and it’s rather nice. That’s perfectly normal for me, and what’s also perfectly normal was a desire to tell her so. Being nothing if not wise, however, I realised that I’m at an awkward age – not young enough to be a serious contender for a dalliance, but not quite old enough yet to be thought completely safe and consequently ignored. Accordingly, I desisted and stuck to the point. It wasn’t easy. To continue.)

‘Are you still a supervisor?’ I asked.


‘Then I think there’s something you should know.’

She smiled, rather nicely and with evident interest.

‘What’s that?’

‘One of your new signs says Users park here at their own risk, only you’ve spelt it T.H.E.R.E.’

‘Oh no!’ said the said the scrummy supervisor.

‘I read that this morning,’ said a rather less scrummy member of the rank-and-file standing next to her, ‘and I never noticed anything.’

‘That’s why she’s a supervisor and you’re not,’ I said.

(No, I didn’t. In fact, if I’m to be honest, I never even thought it; I’m not that big a snob. I just made it up to make the post even sillier. The rest, however, is entirely true, and what I actually said was…)

‘…it doesn’t look good. Not very professional.’

‘No, of course not,’ said the supervisor, ‘I’ll get it seen to straight away.’

And do you know what? She did, too. When I drove out of the car park 2½ hours later, the job had been done and the spelling was perfect.

Now, at this point I could make the obvious joke about scrummy supervisors and spells, but that would probably make a few eyes roll uncomfortably. So let’s just say that she’s obviously a fast worker.

And now, assuming you've heard more than enough from me, you might want to watch the following YouTube clip. It shows how Mr Sainsbury started out, and demonstrates that there's nothing new about mis-spelt signage. Or, indeed, about boring perfectionists who like to show off their superior knowledge. Unfortunately, the YouTube search in Blogger isn't retrieving the clip, so you'll have to make do with the link. It's quite funny (if you like that sort of thing.) And it's only four minutes long.

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