Bandwagonning

I was in the big Kennington Tesco the other day (Tesco being the UK’s biggest supermarket, international friends), and over the cabinet with the sandwiches, crisps and cans of Coke was a big old sign:

Snacking

What is snacking? It’s not something I’ve ever heard anyone say positively (‘ooh, I really fancy doing some snacking during my afternoon lull’). You do hear health campaigners talking about it, though (‘constant snacking is at the root of the obesity crisis’). Which makes that cabinet much less tempting.

But it’s part of a trend for businesses to –ing things into nouns in a way that feels distinctly unnatural to me. So our utilities talk about ‘billing’ (‘I’ll put you through to someone in billing’); I bought a shirt the other day that had a label in it that said ‘quality shirting’; and nigh-on all our clients talk about ‘messaging’.

It seems to me that the new versions shift the focus from the things you and me can touch or hear or eat (snacks, bills, shirts, messages) to the process that involves them. And because the process matters much more to the company (or maybe justifies the existence of a team within it) than to me, it feels weirdly corporate and remote.

But it looks like it’s on the rise. Tweet us @TheWriter if you spot more corporate –inging.

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