Thursday, 28 May 2009

Now hear this, serfs

More than four years ago Sainsbury's started calling their employees colleagues. This struck me as a bit soppy, and when I conducted a poll among the check-out girls I was not surprised to learn that only 14.29% of them (one out of my sample of seven) thought this was a good idea. Today, while I was in the store stocking up on comestibles and booze, I heard over the loudspeakers: "This is a Staff Announcement", so they have obviously gone back to the traditional appellation.

Clearly this decision must have been taken at the top level and one wonders what prompted it. Perhaps the suggestion was made by the newly appointed and ambitious Director of Corporate PR, and was rejected out of hand by the Head of HR (who back in 2005 had the silly idea of changing to colleagues ). After an hour or two of heated debate the matter was resolved only when the Marketing Director, who was in the chair, remembered that the HR man had opposed him over a proposal to allocate additional Head Office parking spaces to directors' wives, and came down in favour of reverting to staff.

It is unlikely that my poll had influenced the decision, but I was glad I had published a report on it because this led to some informative and wide-ranging comments on unrelated topics including the NHS, British Rail, Grandes Horizontales, Broadway brothels and the Dewey Decimal System.

Three weeks later: I have just learnt that they have now gone back to "colleagues". This is the kind of vacillation which has made us the laughing stock of the European retail trade. Just imagine what would have happened if our leaders had been as indecisive as this when we stood alone, defending civilisation against the barbarian hordes!

1 comment:

eric said...

Here in the U.S., it has become almost common practice for retail chains to refer to their employees as "partners", "associates", or some other euphemism aimed at obscuring the workers' wage-slave status. Starbucks and Wal-Mart are probably the leading examples of this noxious trend. I don't think it is a coincidence that both corporations are also aggressively anti-union.