On introduction to the world of retail I came to realise the importance of labels.
If you want to display a price you use a label.
Best Before, Use By or Date of Manufacture? Use a label.
Batch Number? Labels.
You see where I’m going here.
So a few months into my first retail job and after picking up hundreds of labels off the floor, I asked my manager why they fell off. The response? Unexpectedly defeatist.
Well they’re peelable labels so they keep peeling off.
I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony: You want adhesive labels to stick to something reliably, not fall off a short time later.
These labels should be called self-peeling – that’d be much more apt.
Picking up another dozen labels from the floor I decided that peelable labels were an oxymoron. Like a chocolate teapot or a waterproof teabag. Completely useless with a serious flaw in their design.
So why were they being used? – I asked.
The permanent labels leave behind glue and paper when they’re removed, which we have to scrape off when we change prices. Re-printing the labels is a lot faster than trying to scrape off that sticky gunk.
So continually printing and replacing “self-peeling” labels was the cheaper option in their eyes. I wasn’t happy that this was the best solution, though management seemed content with paying staff to spend hours every day re-printing labels that had fallen off.
Was there no better solution?
…and then I saw the light
It wasn’t until months later that I finally found the source of the problem.
When getting more label sheets from the stock room, I saw sunlight streaming in through the window onto the open carton.
Written on the box:
Store away from direct sunlight and heat
Guaranteed for one year
Date of purchase: [5 years ago]