Now, indulge me, please – you may not have realised, as you read this blog, but I am a lover of brevity and conciseness in language – at least where business is concerned. So a sign in Fraserburgh today reminded me of an old joke which is right on my wavelength.
A man started a new business as a fishmonger and put up a beautifully painted sign which read “FRESH FISH SOLD HERE TODAY”
His first customer arrived on Monday morning and bought a pound of cod, then said “What a ridiculous sign you have!”
“Why?” asked the fishmonger.
“Because, what is the point of saying ‘TODAY?’ – it doesn’t make sense – you can’t sell it yesterday and tomorrow never comes.”
“I see your point,” replied the fishmonger, and later that day he painted over the word ‘TODAY’ so that the sign now read “FRESH FISH SOLD HERE”
The following day the same customer returned, asked for two smoked mackerel and said “Your sign is still hopeless.”
“Why so?” asked the fishmonger.
“Because it says ‘FRESH FISH SOLD HERE’ – well, you’re not going to be selling it anywhere else, are you?”
The fishmonger saw the logic and later that day he painted over the word ‘HERE’ so that the sign now read “FRESH FISH SOLD”.
Next day the customer returned, to buy a pound of smoked haddock.
“I hope you like the sign now,” said the fishmonger.
“Indeed not,” replied the customer – “It says ‘FRESH FISH SOLD’ – as if you’re going to give it away!”
Point taken, the fishmonger painted over the word ‘SOLD’ and the following day the customer came back for half a pound of monkfish. “Happy with the sign now?” asked the fishmonger.
“It’s hopeless,” replied the customer – “FRESH FISH?” – would you ever consider selling fish that isn’t fresh?”
Of course not, thought the poor fishmonger, and later painted over the word ‘FRESH’. Now the sign read simply ‘FISH’.
When, next day, the customer returned for three-quarters of a pound of coalie, the exasperated fishmonger asked if the sign was finally acceptable.
“Complete waste of time,” said the customer. “You can smell this place a mile away!!”
And finally, let me know what you think of this sign encountered near Fraserburgh today:-