The spoof story on page seven in our last issue got a handful of you wanting to believe that Tesco had launched a symbol group for indies. Some of you really wanted to put the Tesco name over your door. Oh, and one outraged person complained about Tesco's purported move ("as if they haven't got enough outlets for heaven's sake").

For those of you who wanted in on the act, I have to point out the downside. Everyone else in the independent sector would hate you.

I am sure that those who fell for it must have done a quick headline-style read of the piece. I know for a fact that many of you skim-read the issue when it arrives and go back later to the points of interest. And since the piece mentioned a deadline of before noon on April 1st (the cover date of the magazine), it stood to reason that everybody rang at once. So I had a fine Friday morning disabusing all my callers of the notion.

On closer inspection of the piece there were numerous clues, such as Tesco's ambition to sign up 25,000 retailers in a morning. And those who can speak some French will have spotted that one of the clues was in the name of the new head of symbol: Avril Fou (which literally translates as mad April).

Anyway, don't feel bad. A lot of people believed the BBC's April Fool back in black & white 1957, in the early days of television. Panorama presenter Richard Dimbleby (Jonathan and David's father) announced that a very mild winter and the elimination of a type of tree beastie had allowed Swiss farmers to enjoy a bumper spaghetti crop.

The story showed footage of Swiss 'peasants' (I don't think that Switzerland has ever actually had peasants) pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees and laying them out in the sun to dry.

Mr Dimbleby explained that each strand of spaghetti always grew to the same length thanks to years of selective breeding by generations of growers.

Huge numbers of viewers were taken in and many called up the BBC, wanting to know just how they could grow their own spaghetti tree at home.

Apparently, the BBC diplomatically responded: "Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best." Of course, back then, spaghetti was still a novel food in the UK.

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