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May I have a word about… when rotating a shop actually means closing it down

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA</span>
Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

Another week and another far from gruntled correspondent, this one being Ian Barlow from Bristol. He asked: “Why can’t people say what they mean?” and quoted this from the Bristol Post: “ ‘Shopping habits are changing, so we’re rotating our store estate to make sure we have the right stores to offer our customers a brilliant shopping experience,’ said M&S regional manager John Dorrington.”

However much you try to wrap it up in zippy management speak, “rotating our store estate” means that M&S is closing its Broadmead branch in the city after 70 years. As Mr Barlow says, it’s enough to make Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer spin in their graves.

Now, I like a good slogan as much as the next man - “Go to work on an egg”, “A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play”. What I cannot abide are the regular outpourings from our neighbourhood jab-dodger. She insists on putting up posters in her window with what I’m sure she hopes are pungent and pertinent messages. For example, “Refuse the depopulation jab and preserve your fertility”. Then there was “Covid isn’t the virus, the media is”. (Unforgivable grammar.)

Recently, she plumbed new depths - “Covid pass is Nazi tyranny”. As I’m sure she isn’t aware of Godwin’s law - “As a discussion on the internet grows longer, the likelihood of a person/s being compared to Hitler or another Nazi, increases” - perhaps I should do a bit of flyposting myself.

And what are we to make of the following from a recent Sunday newspaper piece: “The fuel panic appears to be easing despite the desperate efforts of Remainers to pour flames on the petrol and stoke a fake Brexit crisis”? Well, it’s a bloody good trick if you can pull it off.

• Jonathan Bouquet is an Observer columnist

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