I’ve never been one to criticise corporate strategy but I think that I may have just spotted a fairly significant blind-spot in the thinking of a certain major supermarket leviathan. In order to thank you for helping to make them a multi-billion pound business, exterminating the high street with their concrete monstrosities and huge swathes of extra-urban car-parking, every few pounds spent is rewarded with vouchers: firstly for own-brand petrol (because it is essential that these overblown grocers eventually assimilate all other forms of trade into themselves until nothing else remains) and then two other
coupons: the first to get a 70% discount on a set of professional knives and the second to purchase new equipment for schools.
Now, generally I don’t give anything shopping-related too much thought, because my brain starts to shut down very quickly once I am exposed to the strobe-lighted, soul-sucking monotony of these open-plan circles of hell – in a hypnotic state, I move both entranced and disenchanted for immeasurable periods of un-time punctuated only by the holiday-camp style announcements of “Hello Shoppers! Oh, you lucky people, do we have a special offer for you today!” – but, once outside, with the sound of my pounding pulse softly fading from my ears, I started to consider the mind-set that would even contemplate bundling knife coupons with school coupons.
Obviously, I can see the natural association that one might draw between our territorially biased education system and the increasing instances of teenagers stabbing each other, but I’m not entirely sure that I would have chosen to highlight that pairing (or paring, for that matter) at the checkout from the weekly family shop. Still, I suppose that both offers do, at least, help to arm our children for their journeys through life and, after all – to coin a once common phrase which is now no more than a nauseating marketing slogan – every little helps.