Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Sales Message

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Sales Message

Article excerpt

Byline: By Bob Cuffe

Most people hate being sold to. The horror of someone coming up to you in a shop and asking, "Can I help you?"

It's like pouring salt on a slug. The only thing worse is when you do actually want some help in a store, but there are no staff. For example, try any large DIY store any weekend. Where the staff play hide and seek. They hide. We seek. And when we track them down, we find that they wear bibs. Are these the people we want assistance from? Words of wisdom? I think not.

The orange bib is the intellectual cloak of shame. Marking out to all and sundry the lads who didn't pay attention at school. The classroom jokers. The Jack the Lads. Now Jack In Lighting.

DIY stores work on the principle that we're so desperate for their goods that we'll beg. That's why they put their staff in bibs. To diminish all of us.

All of us respond at some stages to advertisements. I'm always drawn to the celebrity endorsements. A public figure putting their name to the advertised product, a reassuring presence in print. Thora Hird on a stair lift. If it's good enough for Thora, sign me up. Likewise June Whitfield promoting funeral saving plans. I've always felt as though I could trust June. She wouldn't cheat the dead.

Su Pollard was in a paper pictured next to a carpet cleaner. Sadly, she didn't have a bubble coming out of her mouth with, "Hi De Hi!" in it.

The angle here must be in the public thinking that Sue really was a cleaner, and therefore the ideal front-person for the cleaning thing. How worrying is that? The one that gets me, though, is the television ad for one of the loan companies. They wanted to separate their offering from others by the skilful use of a celebrity. Phil Tufnell. I may be alone here but I'm not reassured as to the strength and integrity of Phil winking at me and saying "Happy Days". The Governor of the Bank of England would be more reassuring. As would Kermit The Frog. I blame Joan Collins and Leonard Rossiter for my love for alcohol. …

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