February 8: Tesco and French syntax

More worrying trends at Tesco. On top of all the other problems that Tesco is facing these days comes the issue, which I unearthed this morning, of its clubcards not conforming to models of French grammatical syntactic constructional forms. When you are puting your clubcard voucher in to get your miserly gift (this time it was a paltry £2) and you free points vouchers for, say, a Tesco lemon-flavour washing-up liquid, the question that was preying on my mind and which I had never resolved was: do I deposit these vouchers before or after beeping my clubcard through? It turns out you do it after! I am, to say the least, shocked and dismayed by this turn of events. My only guide to what should have been the corect procedure comes from French grammar. Consider the construction: je ne le lui ai pas dit (I have not told him that). Here all the what I might call addenda (him/ that / the negative element) are enfolded within the warm embrace of the basic verbal clause (the je and the dit, I and told). So if the verb is the clubcard and the addenda (pronouns, negatives etc) the vouchers, it would make sense for vouchers to be posited before the beeping of the warm inclusive mother clubcard. But apparently not. Yet more incompetence from our premier store! Oh, I restrained myself from taking this up with the manager this time. After all, they seemed ignorant of Zola’s depiction of the regular shifting of goods through a store to keep customers confused that Tesco was still perpetrating almost 150 years after Zola’s big store novel Au Bonheur des Dames when I brought up this age-old malpractice. However, I don’t know how much longer this can go on.


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