I do think that a lot of these regulations regarding the sale of tobacco must have been worked out, forgive me, on the back of a fag packet.
“My ‘niggle’ relates to the ‘going dark’ procedures we had to have in place for 6 April,” writes regular correspondent Iain Lyall, Glan Conwy General Stores, Glan Conwy.
“Price lists must be in Helvetica text and a maximum size. I have a one-year-old PC operating Windows 8.1 with Office 2013. This font is not among the hundreds available.”
He did a Google search and found that it appeared to be an Apple-licensed font, only available as a download if he agreed to other PC software alongside it.
When Iain tried to highlight his difficulty to Trading Standards he was given ‘helpful’ advice like being able to use PCs at public libraries.
“For producing lists every time I have a new price. Three sets already in the first week, as 95% of my stock is pricemarked! I have since been advised that if I produce my list in any style of text, highlight the whole document and type in ‘Helvetica’ in place of Arial etc this will convert it into this Helvetica text. How many of us knew that, even if we believe it?”
As I wrote back to Iain – being a journalist, married to a publisher who started out in the print trade – I know a thing or two about the subject. But I don’t see why retailers should be expected to know about ‘the print’ any more than I could be trusted to cash up a till.
I do think the choice of ‘Helvetica’ was stupid as most PCs don’t have it per se. What they should have decreed was a plain, neutral, sans serif font (like the packaging they plan to introduce). Arial, Verdana, any plain Jane font should do.
As my husband said: “Will the TSOs bring their ‘type catalogue’ with them to compare? Because if they can tell just by eyeballing it, they are in the wrong job!” (Print buying was always pretty lucrative.)
As I expect there are some who don’t know the difference between serif and sans serif fonts, I would point you to the story under the cartoon on this page. That is printed in a plain font or sans serif. The headline above it is in a serif typeface (ie it has wiggly bits, or ‘extensions’ as the pure definition goes).
Iain made quite a few other good points about the difficulties you all face… but I’m saving them for another time.