Saturday, March 1, 2008


The phrase "business as usual" is often invoked by those with vested interests who stand to lose a service, patronage or facility. The phrase is intended to calm the worries of those who see difficulties ahead. "Business as usual" is often a give away that it is anything but as usual. As well as being a give away the phrase is an unintentional antagonym - a phrase that means the opposite of what it says.

Here is the main entrance to a supermarket undergoing re-modelling. Each sign bears the slogan "Business as usual" to remind shoppers that they can still carry out shopping. Supermarkets are loathe to shut down for building alterations because they risk losing customers to other stores. Building alterations are anything but business as usual for the store managers but with careful planning it is often found that trading actually increases during alteration work.

Alterations in continuously occupied public spaces are also a major head-ache for builders who must take responsibility for the health & safety of members of the public. For builders this means managing work during night periods, erecting safety barriers and creating the endless paper-trails that demonstrate the processes put in place.

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