Lost in the comms supermarket

Joe Strummer sculpture (Mike Goldwater / Alamy Stock Photo)
A sculpture in memory of Joe Strummer at Glastonbury Festival (Mike Goldwater / Alamy Stock Photo)

"Lost in the Supermarket" is a 1979 song by the Clash. Written by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones and produced by Guy Stevens, it was released on their third studio album London Calling. The song's lyrics describe someone struggling to deal with an increasingly commercialised world and rampant consumerism. It has been adapted here to refer to comms ‘supermarket like’ superficiality and simplistic ideas about turning employees into ‘trusted advocates’.

Lost in the comms supermarket

By Kevin Ruck

I'm all lost in the supermarket,
I can no longer trust happily,
I came in here for a special offer,
Guaranteed authenticity. 

As an employee nobody seemed to notice me,
We had a comms wall in our organisation,
Over which I could never be,
I heard managers on the top floor
Screaming most angrily,
That noise made me feel
I just had to do more,
But no-one bothered to talk to me. 

I'm all tuned in, I read all the emails,
I get a cake on my birthday,
I've got my 'values' mug and employee TV,
I'm off to the team awayday, 
With slides and 'high fives',
Now he's asking for my views,
But not with his eyes,

And the silence makes me lonely.

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About the author

Kevin Ruck

Kevin is a co-founder of PR Academy and is the author of Exploring Internal Communication published by Routledge.

Kevin leads the PR Academy CIPR Internal Communication Diploma.

“I think you tend to always get what you’ve always got if you always do what you’ve always done. So teaching and learning is about thinking differently in ways that can be applied to better practice. I also put a lot of emphasis on research, insights, measurement and evaluation. That’s why I did a PhD. It enabled me to understand how to do robust research that makes a difference to practice."


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