Things I notice in the UK 2

This follows on from an earlier posting on things I’m noticing on a short trip to the UK…
– I don’t know how graphic designers survive in Ivory Coast. In the UK, you are saturated by design. The main reason is that there are tens of thousands of products crying out for your attention. I get confused when I have to chose between two brands of sardines at the supermarket, though in most shops in Ivory Coast there is only one. Here there is a staggering array of products available – so much so that to sell their products, companies have to tell a story that links the product to an emotion, and paint the emotions through good design.
– I don’t think anyone I know in England has any house help/servants. In Ivory Coast even quite low income households will have a servant – someone who looks after the children, cooks and cleans. I think there’s an interesting question to ask – do you want to live in a country where the intellectuals, the rich and the powerful clean their own homes, drive their own cars and make their own dinners? There’s something to be said for both sides of the argument, and whatever side you come down on, you are obviously at the mercy of local cultural and economic realities as well. In Abidjan, it undoubtedly adds a certain luxury to life, gives me a lot more time, and I also enjoy having extra people living in the house.
– especially in towns and villages in England you see very few people outside. There’s no evening promenade, there’s little sitting on the front step of your house to chat with passers-by and neighbours, and I’ve even yet to see anyone playing outside, whether football or with a new toy. Of course, I’ve come during the coldest part of the year when the nights are long. But Abidjan’s streets are active places where you chat, shop, listen to music, eat and pass the time.
– English shopkeepers may have a reputation for being rather on the frosty side, but I’ve been impressed by the quality of service from the shops I’ve been in. Staff are professional, knowledgeable and everything is by the book, and designed to offer you the best service possible. Experiences in Abidjan in this regard can be frustrating and being helpful, professional and customer-focused doesn’t always seem to be the priority.

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