Shhh! Listen….. (whispering) the Tower Road branch of Morrisons in Lowestoft, Suffolk (shhh!) has made the beeps at its checkouts quieter out of respect for the late Queen Elizabeth II.
OK, We Can Talk Normally Now
Her Royal Majesty, who famously only ever frequented two shops… Harrods of Knightsbridge – for tights, horse shampoo, and gold carriage polish, and Bejam – for frozen dog food, was keenly against the incessant beeping noise emitted by the infra-red scanners at supermarket checkouts.
A courtier, who’s job it was to escort the queen on her weekly grocery shop, told this reporter “She couldn’t bear the prospect of the checkout.
She said the beeping made her brain rattle. Sometimes she was so reluctant, she would cover her ears with her gloved hands and empty the shopping from her trolley with her elbows – it was the only way she could get through it.
“Giggling at the memory of the time the Queen and he were on a Bejam run, the courtier reminisced “One time she tried talking to me over the beeps, y’know, staggering her words to coincide with them as each item was scanned… ‘would… you… mind… being… a… ducky… and… going… back… to… get… one… another… bag… of… chum,… chum?’ ”
Somebody Shut Him Up
Now, in the wake of the queen’s timely passing, Morrisons has taken the bewildering step of turning down the volume of the checkout beep in all its stores across the UK as a mark of respect.
Although the news was welcomed by many of the shoppers we spoke to outside the Lowestoft branch, some weren’t so sure. Brian Goodridge, a keen amateur D.I.Y.-ist and electronics buff who had been in Morrisons shopping around (in vain) for handy electrical components now that Tandy and Maplin have disappeared from our high streets said “I think it’s a good idea but I’m not sure how they did it.
I myself am a keen amateur D.I.Y.-ist and electronics buff and I have many devices that emit an electronic beep. I have to say, it is not common for such devices to provide the functionality to turn down a beep.
Granted, some of the electronic LCD gaming products produced by successful manufacturers like the Japanese giant, Tomy, responsible for table-top classics Caveman and Astroblaster, and Tomytronic handhelds 3D Sky Attack and Thundering Turbos in the early 1980s, did have an on/off toggle switch for volume, but of course, this was an ‘all or nothing’ solution.
The inclusion of a potentiometer to control volume just wasn’t state of the art at that time, although, having said that, I do believe that there were some formative discussions amongst the technical staff at Tomy’s design subsidiary opened in the United Kingdom 1982 to introduce this functionality into its gaming range – moving forward.
” Brian went on… and on… and on… “but as far as a volume control on checkout scanner? Pfff. They use Magellan 9400i imagers in there to read 1D/2D barcodes and Digimarc Barcodes and I can tell you 100%, they do not have integrated volume control. If you ask me, I reckon they’re just muffling the speaker with some gaffer tape.”
We asked Morrisons to comment and a spokesman told this reporter “We haven’t turned down the beeps. It’s just one of those silly fake news stories being published in the name of satire. Why don’t those puerile journalists just grow up and get proper jobs? Nothing they write is funny.”