Why Did The Policeman Cross the Road?

By Stevyn Colgan

Not so much police intelligence as intelligent policing

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Today's 'how to fill my shed' solution

Solutions.

Oh how I hate that word.

Or, rather, what the word ‘solutions’ has become. It began worming its way into business jargon in the 1980s when companies started to append it to their business names and descriptions of services believing that they were sending a positive signal to the customer. Phrases like ‘Your Number One provider of recruitment solutions’, they believed, implied proven ability.

So far, no problem.

But then it started being tacked onto the end of perfectly adequate descriptions, giving us phrases like ‘First Aid Training Solutions’, which, frankly, means exactly the same thing as ‘First Aid Training’. It became such a ubiquitous practice that, in 2006, a UK-based media consultant called Melanie Surplice decided to scan the internet to see how many online business articles mentioned the term ‘solutions’ on a single day.

There were 109,470. And there are probably double that number today.

It’s now become, I would argue, a laughable cliché. British satirical magazine Private Eye certainly agrees with me. They started publishing a column called ‘Solutions’ in which they mock some of the sillier genuine examples that readers send in. These have included ‘Christmas ornament storage solutions’ (cardboard boxes), ‘flexible liquid transfer solutions’ (hosepipes) and ‘feline access solutions’ (catflaps).

Good grief.

Okay. Rant over.

 

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