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Challenge Rejected

Challenge Rejected

01 October 2014 | Lloyd Hughes

Sainsbury’s was left red-faced earlier this week as an eagle-eyed shopper noticed that some of the retailer’s store signage was a little out of place.

Rather than raising it with store staff, the punter, one Chris Dodd, took to Twitter to highlight his scruples with the sign’s positioning.

He tweeted to the Sainsbury’s official Twitter account, sending them an image, whilst saying, “Not sure this is supposed to be in your window.”

The response from the person managing the Sainsbury’s Twitter account was a rather casual, “Yeah, I don’t think so either. Which store was this? I’ll give them a call. Ross.”

Ross’s laidback response elicited the reply, “Oh I’m not sure about that Ross…I kinda like that they’re giving folks a heads up!” from Chris.

Ross, with apparently more alarm, then retorted “Understood. I’d really appreciate you letting me know though. Ross.”

By this point, however, the damage was done, Chris’s several thousand Twitter followers and the wider Twitterverse had seized upon the initial tweet, broadcasting it to the social masses. News outlets swiftly followed, highlighting the issue to an even larger audience. At this stage I can only assume that poor old Ross would’ve really, really, REALLY appreciated it if the tweeter had just let him know where the store was. Stratford, East London, apparently.

The poster in question was emblazoned with the words “Fifty pence challenge”, followed by the line, “Let’s encourage every customer to spend an additional 50p during each shopping trip between now and the year-end.”

Not a horrendous blooper perhaps considering the amount of upselling that goes on elsewhere, and it was something clearly meant for staff areas only, however the sentiment of the sign went firmly against Sainsbury’s ‘Live Well for Less’ motto, which is probably why it was seized upon with such glee. The tone of ‘Ross’ probably didn’t help either.

Next time you’re at the till, be sure to watch out for a sly scan of a granary loaf or a discreet granola bar added to your basket. Sainsbury’s sound like right sneaky scoundrels.

The poor poster positioning has just added to the retailer’s current woe, as it’s announced a fall in sales for the third quarter in a row, demonstrating how much of a struggle it is to compete in the increasingly fierce supermarket price wars. The chain has got much bigger fires to fight it seems, but social media mockery, whilst not exactly an accelerant, certainly isn’t a relieving bucket of water either.

I don’t imagine 50p, even multiplied thousands of times over, would make a huge difference to the Sainsbury’s coffers in the grand scheme of things, but as its rival Tesco says, ‘Every Little Helps’.