Monday, November 17, 2008

SOUP SPARRING

I was in Weymouth and I was walking. I am a man who can do these two things simultaneously. And even with my concentration focused on juggling this unlikely pairing, a poster in the window of the Spar convenience store caught my attention. ‘Why not come in and ask our staff about our hot soup.’ it said, and just like a man with the emptiest afternoon on record, I felt I was unable not to.

I asked as to the temperature of the soup. The girl who I will call Karen (which did annoy her when she insisted her name was Clare) looked at me sympathetically and assured me that it is hot. I already knew this - it’s written on the poster. I was after additional temperature information, not the words of this admittedly striking poster regurgitated to me with a textured broth like murmur. Considering the A4 sheet had pushed me to interrogate on the subject of ‘hot soup’, I don’t think it was unfair that I then pushed Karen for a Celsius figure. 'It's hot', she repeated.

Struggling to retain my calm and sophisticated persona, I changed tact - enquiring as to where the vegetables in it were grown. A rather tired and irritated sigh from Karen quickly indicated that this was going to get me nowhere. Someone in the expanding queue behind me piped up with ‘It’s Soup!’.

‘I know it’s soup,’ I replied, ‘Your statment gave me less than that sorry piece of A4 in the window dammit - and all you're queuing for is a Kit-Kat.’

‘It’s nice soup,’ Karen offered.

There finally – the word ‘nice’! This wasn’t on the poster and thus I was at least provided with something new.

I wanted this to be enough, but how could this offered level of insight warrant the displaying of a poster asking people to come in and drag it reluctantly out of a disinterested Karen? The poster was only approximately seventy percent covered in words and the word ‘nice’ before ‘soup’ could have easily been added. The only positive experience of this whole ‘ask our staff about our hot soup’ was because of the inherent inadequacy of this noe largely discredited poster.

If you don’t want somebody coming into your shop asking about your soup then don’t prominently display a poster asking people to do just that. In fact, if your staff are going to look so positively affronted by such a line of questioning, then maybe you should be looking to create posters dissuading soup related enquiries.

‘Staff will not expand on the already presented information on nice hot soup.’
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