Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Saturday 12 September 2009


Got a Quavers quandary, a pretzel poser, a Twiglets teaser, a flapjack flummox? To get rid of those Cheesy Wotsit worries, you obviously need the people whose van I saw the other day, emblazoned with the strange device "Always Delivering - retail snacking solutions".

It's not new, this habit of advertising not plain vanilla products or services, but "solutions", usually for the most mundane sorts of business. I seem to remember that Private Eye, when I still bothered with it, would occasionally offer some of the more egregious examples. No doubt there's a chemical company somewhere thinking itself mighty witty for offering "solutions solutions".

This is not quite the same as one of the banes of my former life as a middle manager - the return of the bigwigs from some conference or other, fired up with enthusiasm for the latest technological wizardry, the classic solution looking for a problem, which, of course, we would be expected to waste time identifying and "solving" (fortunately, it only mattered for a month or two until the next fad came along).

Nor is it quite the same sort of grade inflation by which, in estate agencies and other bucket shops, hair-gelled spotty herberts and over-mascara-ed peroxide blondes cease to be clerks and sales staff and become "consultants".

This is a bid for power. No more are you an everyday wholesaler among many, trailing round the corner shops like all the rest, waiting for them to tell you what they think they need. As a purveyor of "solutions" you can imply that you are like some new age therapist, the keeper of the munchies mysteries, the shaman of sugar, the high priest of Hula Hoops.

And as for us ordinary customers, the only "retail snacking solution" we need is quite simple: step away from the starch - eat an apple instead.

No comments:

Post a Comment