Feb 08 2014

An open letter to Sainsbury’s


I visited your Bramingham Store in Luton yesterday, in order to purchase my lunch.

Whilst there, I found myself perusing your wares in – what you call – your Technology Section: tellies, iPods, iPads, PVRs, etc.

And I couldn’t help noticing the display that you had put up to showcase your range of televisions. Attached is a picture to show what I mean. Can you see the deliberate mistake?

Apparently, your televisions, as well as being digital (which is good) and HD Ready (erm, OK) and having Freeview (which is handy), also boast ‘NICAM Stereo’.

No. They. Don’t.

NICAM stands for Near Instantaneous Companding Audio Multiplex – as you well know – and was used to transmit stereo sound signals, embedded in an analogue TV signal.

You’ll have noticed that I said “was”- past tense. This is because, with the advent of the Digital Switchover, the analogue TV system is no more. It has ceased to be. In fact, it ran up the curtain and met the choir invisibule way back in October of 2012. And NICAM went with it.  So, your lovely display is nearly 18 months out of date, I’m afraid.

What’s worse though – and I’ll admit to not being 100% sure on this, but I’m fairly certain – this particular display went up less than 12 months ago.

Also, as NICAM is an acronym, you should really have capitalised each letter, not just the first one.

Yours sincerely (and somewhat pedantically)


Mr Masher

(aged 51½)


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  1. Toffeeapple

    What a brilliant, pedantic letter Masher, I wonder if you will get a response? Fingers crossed.

  2. Brennig

    Send it. Email a link to their customer service department. I could tweet their customer service department. It’s brilliant!

  3. Abbo

    I thought it stood for:
    Never Intended to Carry Any Music!

  4. Masher

    Oh contraire, Abbo.
    In fact, NICAM is still used within the broadcast industry today, but only as a transport medium for bringing in radio channels to the transmitter sites.

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