A sign telling staff of a Bay of Plenty supermarket that “only English is to be spoken” at work has caused a stir online.

A photo of the sign, put up by management, left people outraged when it was shared on a Papamoa social media page, according to?SunLive.

The sign warned staff that the Foodstuffs owned supermarket was an “English only zone” and that “only English language is to be spoken” in the staffroom, storeroom and on the shop floor.



Foodstuffs North Island general manager of retail Doug Cochrane said like many organisations, the company now “have a huge diversity and cultural mix in our stores”.

“Sometimes this can lead to communication issues.

“A sign was put up in an attempt to ask staff to communicate in a common language that everyone understands. Unfortunately the wording on the sign did not convey the true intention or sentiment and was removed immediately.

“The store team is working through better ways to deal with these sorts of issues.”

Foodstuffs brands include New World, Pak’nSave and Four Square. It is not known which supermarket put up the notice.

Oh, boo-hoo – the perpetually offended are outraged.? Well, diddums – get over it!

And management – grow a pair: The sign “was removed immediately”.? Why do companies cave in to the perpetually offended?

“The sign did not convey the true intention”? Really?? The intention was to for “staff to communicate in a common language that everyone understands”.? Seems clear to me.? Other than English, what are the contenders for a common language that everyone in NZ understands?

Last I checked, the lingua-franca of NZ was English and if the staff and customers come from a range of other language speaking backgrounds then using a common language to communicate seems a singularly practical solution.

Talk about first-world-problems!? Surely there are much better things to get exercised and outraged about than a sign requesting that English be spoken?

Perhaps they should try this wording?

-NZ Herald