Sunday, August 31, 2008

A storm in a supermarket basket

Tesco is considering changing signs in over 2,000 stores following a complaint by the Plain English Campaign. "10 items or less" is regarded as misleading, by the normally sensible Liverpool-based campaigners. They say, quite rightly in grammatical terms, that the sign should read "10 items or fewer", since "less" does not apply when dealing with separate objects, when "fewer" is the correct term.

So far, so pedantic. Tesco has responded by saying that customers may not understand "fewer", so are suggestimg "Up to 10 items". The cost of the change is not clear, but presumably customers will pay for it somehow.

Frankly, I think the whole row is pointless. We all know what Tesco meant in the first place. However, maybe someone should have a word with Sainsburys. I was in there yesterday, and several checkouts had a hanging sign reading "Baskets only". I had a basket, but mine had shopping in it as well, so I wasn't sure what to do.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Don't read, watch

OK, today you can sit back and just watch and listen. It's all in video -

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back in the UK

At last! A whole week at home. Not that I mind travelling, but it's nice to be back with my family with some time to relax. Of course, I've been watching the Olympics, and forgive me if you are a reader from outside the UK, but the chance to do a bit of celebrating, rather than "Oh well, it's the taking part that counts" has been wonderful. I'm really looking forward to 2012, when I'll be able to visit the Olympic Park only 15 minutes from my front door.

TV and radio have been doing a great job in Bejing, though apparently the BBC have a larger team of staff there than Team GB. Maybe the BBC should have marched behind their own flag in the opening ceremony. However, I did detect one sour note. Mihir Bose, the BBC sports editor (and a fine chap, who I have met on several occasions) presented a story headlined "UK Government refuse to add to 2012 Olympic funds"). This story aired on the same day that the GB team won four gold medals. Now I know that when it comes to whingeing, we can often beat the world, but to run these two stories back-to-back was ridiculous. The funding issue wasn't even a real story, since all that was said by "a Government spokesman" was that they thought sufficient funding for 2012 was already in place. Shame on the BBC for a shabby piece of news creation, on a day of celebration.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Back again and gone again

Just back from a couple of days on business in the Lake District, where the weather was "variable" as you can see from this video -

So there you have it. My first videblog is a weather report. How typically English of me.
In a few hours I head off to Dubai (currently 45 degrees C). I'll try to video the weather there too...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hey ho, back to the office

Well, that was an amazing two weeks. I've been in New York City, attending the annual convention of the National Speakers Association, with 2,000 fellow speakers in a posh hotel in Times Square. The highlight of the trip for me was a private after party in a huge suite on the 43rd floor, with fellow speakers and entertainers. Amazing.

The centre of Manhattan is packed with media outlets - in fact it's hard to wander down a street without tripping over lighting cable or camera crew. You'd think that people would be used to it, but far from it - huge crowds gather whenever an arc light is turned on. Maybe they're all tourists like me. If you want to be on TV, just stand in Times Square for a full day - more likely than not you'll end up in front of a camera.

Anyway, back to work in the office, for a couple of days at least. I'm off travelling again on Wednesday - no rest for the itinerant media expert....