Not only is November 11th Armistice day it is also my wife's birthday. A few days previously my wife said that on her birthday she would like to go to Central Milton Keynes shopping centre for some retail therapy, we also had a desire to observe, along with the rest of the nation, the two minutes silence in memory of all those that had made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
So, at about 10.30am we found ourselves in Marks and Spencer's department store in the CMK shopping centre, I saw prominently displayed signs announcing that " along with the rest of the nation Marks and Spencer would be observing the two minutes silence at 11am" so felt reassured that we would be able to pay our respects at the appointed hour. Perhaps I should have been a little concerned for the things to come when at about six minutes to eleven the 'house' music playing over the PA was faded out and who, from her voice, sounded like a young female very obviously started to read out in that matter of fact tone used to announce the latest buy one get on free offer that "as today was armitstiss (sic) day and along with the rest of the nation Marks and Spencer would be observing a two minute silence at eleven o'clock...the 'house music was then faded back in...mmm! At around three minutes to eleven the same message was repeated in the same manner only this time she managed to stutter and stumble over the mis pronunciation of armistice! What came next made me feel angry, disappointed and ashamed......a few seconds before 11 o'clock the house music was faded out and the same female announced that "it is now eleven o'clock and we will now be observing a two minute silence".....the house music was then faded back in!! . ...and for the next two minutes customers and staff stood in uneasy and silent disbelief listening to Dianna Ross belting out one of her hits until she was briefly faded out for a curt "thank you" message!
Along with a vast majority of customers and staff I felt angry that somebody in Marks and Spencer's management team had not ensured that things would run correctly and had not taken care to properly train the female in charge of the announcements (and to also make sure that she could pronounce armistice correctly!) I felt disappointed and angry because I had not been able to pay my respects in the silent and contemplative manner that I had intended to.
About ten minutes later I managed to talk to a much harassed manager and express my feelings!! He did, (just) manage to say sorry for the 'unfortunate occurrence' but seemed to be more worried about 'the poor girl concerned who was now upstairs in floods of tears' ! He did say that an apology was about to be broadcast on the PA, we were in the shop for about another thirty minutes but unfortunately never heard an apology.
Sorry for the rant. I just needed to get it out of my system!