So it’s a stock photo, because the Co-op’s new goods lift assembly and installation is all shrouded in plywood hoardings, that you can only just see from the deli counter if you look down the steps.
I thought, ‘What’s that all about then?’ So I asked, being congenitally nosy and besides, I’m always ready for a newsy item for the diary. ‘Thursday’s the installation day,’ I heard back, ‘Monday’s for commissioning and staff training, and then for the grand opening ceremony on Saturday the 2nd of November, we’re going to have a purple tape to cut with fancy scissors, and someone will guide the first trolleys of goods up from the offloading platform level, and we’ll all cheer and have cake!’
I wasn’t quite sure who was kidding whom, by this point — you can never tell with the Co-op staff — but somehow I would like to drop into the shop late on Thursday afternoon and peer around the corner, just to see if the new goods lift is actually in place. Take a photo or two too.
This is the thing with Health & Safety: we all decry the constant vigilance, the attention to detail, but let us be the ones who strain our back shifting endless boxes of goods up those confounded cement stairs (I’ve bounded up and down them too many times myself, and I speak as both deliverer and customer!) . . . let us be the ones damaged, and we’ll be the first to complain, won’t we, if suitable attention hasn’t been paid to normal physical bodily constraints. Health & Safety considerations usually actually make a lot of sense.
I’m reminded of the construction of The Sage, in Gateshead, that wonderful concert venue, pride of the North-East, and how the levels from off-loading platform to stage were developed consciously all of a piece, no steps throughout. That was design quality, and architectural perspicacity, but it was, after all, new-build from the ground up. The Co-op has been developed over decades, if not centuries, and so accommodations have had to be made.
And the Co-op staff have been trundling goods that have been offloaded onto the reception platform, up those cement stairs. for decades at least. It’s certainly time to applaud the new goods lift, and to hope the new entry of goods trolleys into the shop, to help distribute the wares we love to buy, will be facilitated usefully at last.
Shelves well-stocked and efficiently too, and nobody carrying too many things up those stairs, anymore! Can’t wait to see it!