Friday, 2 March 2012
This Isn't Just…Or Just Isn't
So onto one of life's small annoyances for me. Think of this as an early Saturday morning, more irrelevant than usual, blog. Today's Target? Marks and Sparks.
I probably use the motorway M&S shops more than their other larger stores. One can pick up some lovely lunchable snacks; sumptuous sandwiches, meaty chicken legs, spicy chilli prawns, healthy edamame salads or pretty little bowls of sun dried tomatoes with mozzarella. You know the stuff - delightful snacks that make you want to eat your daily calorie intake in a series of '2 for £5' tid bits. These are the trademark of these M&S stop and shops. It's not just a scotch egg from the Esso service station's fridge, next to the porn and the motor oil. No, this is a Marks and Spencer scotch egg.
There are too small buckets of flap jacks or chocolate muffins, or some deliciously lazy pre-prepared, stick-it-in-the-oven-for-25 minutes, gourmet meals for 2. All these things are very good. I get why M&S suggests you should defer to their version of them all over any other brand on the market. Similarly, I suppose, Waitrose do some excellent own brand stuff. You'd always prefer an M&S or Waitrose pre-prepared evening meal for two over Birdseye's effort. You'd probably prefer an M&S sausage roll to a Ginsters one.
But their coke is shit. Total shit.
I get the 'everything in here is Marks & Spencer' thing, but it only works as long as what you produce is better than what is available elsewhere on the market. The Coca Cola Company have been perfecting Coke (to use the vernacular) for over 125 years. They're good. I mean really good. Though recently their market share has slipped (to about 53%), they still kick the crap out of Pepsi which is the only brand that has ever got close to it. In short, they know what they are doing.
Sainsbury don't. Tesco don't. Virgin didn't. That's why their versions of coke all tasted like crap. But it is a lesson M&S refuse to learn. They sacrifice offering the complete, one-stop-shop on the altar of "this is Marks & Spencer-dom". It's not just coke. They won't sell you Evian either, just some own brand water. Now this stuff may actually be better but it doesn't make me feel like a better person like water imported from France filtered through the knickers of a dozen French maids does (that may not be the exact process Evian use, but a man can dream). Or Haribo which is much better than their stupid Porky Pig things. But Coke is the one that really pisses me off.
And so after filling up on almost anything I could want to consume from M&S, I am still consigned to visiting WHSmith as well at each service station for a proper can of coke. This isn't just brand-loyal stubbornness, this is Marks & Spencer brand-loyal stubbornness...