Following on from happy things, a funny thing happened to me today. And it was just unexpected serendipity, the kind of thing you least expect on a rainy grey London morning.
I was walking to work and I saw that there was a brand new M&S Food on the way in. Now, to non-Brits I have to tell you this: M&S is an institution. M&S is the great in Great Britain! What’s funny is that I walk past it every day and I hadn’t noticed it. It’s like it just sprung up overnight.
They are known for their soft p*rn type food ads where they show close ups of glistening, succulent, delicious looking food being constructed / deconstructed in slow motion whilst a breathless seductive voiceover exhorts the viewer to pop out and buy a ready meal / reasonably priced bottle of wine / some nice chocolates / a sinful looking dessert. Google them and you’ll see what I mean. They’re like the food retailer version of Nigella. (Google Nigella if you don’t know who she is. She basically replaced food with s*x and I’m not quite sure even she can tell the difference.)
*NB I am not overly prudish and in real life I’m an utter potty mouth, but I kinda don’t want to attract the wrong people to my blog only to disappoint them with the boring minutae of my life, hence the asterisks.
Anyway, I was naturally overjoyed to see that there was a new M&S Food there at the end of my street, because this means I can go and get delicious lunch stuff without leaving the comfort of my street.
I tried to have a look in and they were turning people away and giving them vouchers to come back tomorrow, but for some reason they let me in. (I like to think it was because of my smiley demeanour but more likely they just weren’t manning the door attentively enough.)
Once inside, there were lots of people milling around and someone taking pictures and stuff. They were all welcoming to me and explained it was the “soft launch, by invitation only” – to which I obviously didn’t have an invitation. I expected to be ejected but instead they steered me over to the food cabinet, telling me to pick my breakfast from an array of delicious looking options. (I picked the bacon roll because bacon, but there were also croque monsieur and so on.) I don’t know why they let me through without a pass, but it was possibly because I am M&S’ biggest fan, and made that rather clear.
It kind of went like this:
“Go ahead and take what you want – it’s all free.”
Err, sorry? What?!
“Today’s our soft launch so everything is free.”
“Go to the till and order a drink, too!”
I stumble to the till, barely believing my luck (to me bacon is like the best thing ever and the main reason I can’t be vegetarian / vegan) and the smilest guy in the world asks me what drink I want. Hot chocolate, natch!
His coworker insists I take a pastry. Well, it would be rude not to.
I tell the assembled PR people that this is amazing.
“Do you work in one of the offices round here?”
I tell them yes, I work just up the street, and all my coworkers would be thrilled to hear about M&S opening up. (To be honest, everyone knows who M&S are, and it seems faintly ludicrous that they’re trying to give away free stuff to get people interested, because it’s a bit like McDonalds trying to introduce themselves – we’re already old friends.)
“How many people work where you work?”
I tell them loads.
“Do they like food?”
Do they ever.
“Would you like to take one of our sandwich platters for them?”
Is the pope a Catholic?
“Actually, have two.”
I tell the PR people that this is possibly the best day of my life. They can quote me on that. (Bacon does that to me.)
I head on out of the door carrying a bag full of my breakfast, a hot chocolate and two big platters of sandwiches.
You really couldn’t make it up. I was an office legend for a day.