Sunday, 12 February 2012

On Marks & Spencer and their self-respect (slight return)

Oh Marks & Spencer. Have you not read my laments for your lost dignity? For your slightly self-conscious slide into twee packaging, alien brands and freshly flipped burgers?

No one even calls you St Michael any more.

A fresh blow, for me, is the latest self-checkout apparatus, where you must hurl your coins down a chute, just as though you were tossing pound coins into a pint glass in the kind of grubby public house I have never been in.

This coin orifice, it should be noted, lights up and flashes, as does the notes slot on the opposite side, like the embellished extremities of a brassiere at the Moulin Rouge.

I imagine.

In the interests of raising awareness of this grim spectacle, I have attempted to photograph it:

I have had to improvise with Photoshop to demonstrate the full effect, as the lights don't flash in synchronisation.

The Marks & Spencer of legend would have been slightly embarrassed about asking for your money, automatedly (yes, I'm totally sure this is definitely a word). The Marks & Spencer that would sooner have closed its doors for ever than allow a box of Kellogg's or a can of Coke into the stockroom would merely encourage the sober placing of cash in a brown envelope (provided) and the opening and closing of a hatch. Or better, the recorded voice of Stephen Fry (Nigel Havers if Fry's busy making a documentary about words somewhere warm and exotic) apologising profusely whenever an unexpected item finds its way into the bagging area. 'Oh, I know this is a terrible bind, but would you be a brick and pop that little soldier through the scanner again. Everything shipshape now? Oh, good show!'

Not this clattering of coins from a great height. Not this vulgar neon beckoning.


Alison Cross said...

The day they allowed kids clothes to be branded with TV cartoon tat was the day they died.

Ali x

Nicky said...

Love it. I want the Stephen Fry admonishment/encouragement recording to become standard in M&S - I'd go there every day if it was.

Mima said...

"Would you mind awfully telling us how many plastic bags you might need, old bean? I know it's terribly bourgeois but one must think of the planet these days, mustn't one!"

Anonymous said...

I remember walking through the 'Per Una' area on a shopping trip with my mother more than ten years ago, and to my disgust found 'pop music' blaring out over the speaker system.

I remarked at the time "Marks & Spencer shouldn't play pop music, Marks & Spencer shouldn't know what pop music is!!" They are an easy classical, or at a push light jazz sort of company. At least, they were.