Thursday, March 04, 2010

"I'm a scrummy sausage bap. But I've got no sauce on me. I'm naked! *blushes* Please kill me now.

After seeing two irritants coming together this morning in the shape of James Corden 'guest-editing' Shortlist - i.e., have your picture taken with the team and get paid for it (any excuse to big up the team in Shortlist), I decided to sooth my shattered nerves at Pret A Manger.

Of course that's a mistake because the minute you walk in you're bomarded by childishness. I know I've probably blogged about this before - I can't believe I haven't - but it doesn't get any better. In fact, it may have got worse.

Everything has some matey little aside attached to it, like we're pals. You're a shop. You are not my friend.

'You may have noticed we have a big, fancy baker's oven in every Pret shop!', trills the notice at you like you have learning disabilities. I half expect the next sentence to be 'Do you know what that is, children?'. This, according to the sandwich bag, is a 'passion fact'. In fact it's passion fact No.11. Because they must ram down our throats at every opportunity how they live for food. Judging by the motley crew of servers and cooks at my local one I think it's simply a means to an end that involves foreign students heating up ready cooked rolls, stuffing bitter lettuce between two slices of bread and overdoing it with the sauces. Let's throw in not having a clue what you're talking about while we at it. Hardly the line-up at the River Cafe. More like the back row in Glee club.

And of course it's owned by McDonalds, so as much as it yearns to be seen to be taking food - healthy food - serioulsy, it won't be. Everything's over-salted and over-buttered and over-mayoed. Plus its policy of babytalk doesn't help. I have to say I'm fast going off the ham and cheese croissants, once my savoury morning snack of choice. But they're always the other side of tepid by the time I get to my desk, and I've noticed lately they're also a little doughy and undercooked too.

At the counter I inwardly most cross when you plonk your juice on the counter and ask for your croissant leaving a few beats before the dimbulb behind the counter asks 'do you want any coffee?'. If I'd wanted a coffee I'd have asked for it. I don't need prompting like I'm mentally subnormal.

But the whole ethos tells you you are. To wit on a napkin: 'If Pret staff get all serviette-ish and hand you huge bunches of napkins (which you don't need or want) please give them the evil eye. Waste not want not'. Who's doing the voice over? Joyce Grenfell?

It's absurd. Treating inanimate objects like they can think for themselves is my pet hate. The back of Ocado vans which say 'I'm a veggie van. I drink biodiesel' like it's Thomas the bloody Tank Engine or something. It's just further proof of the infantilisation fo Britain. You many not think for yourself anymore and must be treated like a child. Statement of fact about VAT and the like have to have 'nightmare!', at the end of the sentence as if to tell us they share our pain. I'm not buying it.

I blame Innocence smoothies, surely the worst offenders. Those drinks that say 'I'm made from lots and lots of lovely berries and if I'm not you can tell my mum' may just as well say 'I'm a cunt'.

It's time to grow up.

Enjoy your day.


Chris Hughes said...

I think it's the ready-to-drink bottles of Ribena which have "pop me in the fridge and drink me within three days" or something similar on the side. Do fuck off.

This is surely the worst example, though...

Five-Centres said...

Oh God, that's jam-packed with stupidity. Definitely the worst offender.

Matthew Rudd said...

Heh, you're really on form today.

Clair said...

As a legal point, Pret ARE cunts, but no longer ones in whom McDonalds have an interest. (
I know this as I recently wrote an article about sandwiches.

Anyhoo, do complain to them if your food is crap. I had two experiences, one of which I got a money-off voucher for, one of which I had no response at all for, when my smoothie exploded all over me (stop laughing).

And 'Cheerfully contains peanuts and nuts'? WTF???

Dan Worth said...

Spot on, but judging by the headline you've got a talent for this.

Five-Centres said...

Yes Dan, any fool could do it

Mondo said...

Have you tried Oi Bagels? They're shockers for this silly-business sloganeering - you can almost hear every piece of puffery being read in the oil-slick tone of Richard Allinson.
On a similar theme corporate hippiedom grates on me. Shops/supermarkets bleating on about carbon footprints, locally sourced 'insert here' , fair trade whatever- written like Neil from Young Ones is the CEO. Shaddup!
PS - here's the album I mentioned yesterday

Five-Centres said...

Mondo that's fabulous, thanks. I've bought it.

I blame Ben & Jerry's for the whole corporate hippy thing. Don't even start me on Whole Foods.

Chris Hughes said...

That reminds me of the hugely irritating chain of Puccinos coffee shops at railway stations, with their hilarious 'you don't have to have coffee breath to work here, but it helps' signs (but you're meant to be serving the stuff, not drinking it) and 'free crying wooden freakazoid with every millionth purchase' posters.

And their 'closed' sign says 'shut happens'.

Five-Centres said...

Oh Chris that sounds truly ghastly. I'm going on the internet now to track them down. And then kill them.

Helen said...

It's kind of related in a 'things that get on my nerves' way ... I went to The Body Shop this morning to buy something specific and was positively hounded by the sales assistant, she just wouldn't leave me alone. Starting with 'got the day off today, have we?' - I nearly walked!

Ishouldbeworking said...

It's a ghastly phenomenon. Cutesy packaging slogans are bad enough, but I sometimes feel sorry for shop staff who are forced to spout additonal drivel. A young woman I was talking to a few months ago got sacked from her Saturday job because she refused to say "Hey, look at these fantastic tea towels, why not bag a few to along with that duvet cover?" to customers making a purchase. It insults both customer and staff.

Five-Centres said...

I had my hair cut today and the girl who washed it asked me if I had the day off. It didn't occur to her that might have popped in in my lunch hour. I made it plain I wasn't for striking up a conversation with.

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