Scott Bryan is pondering the delicate question of lunch at the office. Obviously it’s impossible to over-think this issue.
Pret - When you start your first full-time job you’ll become VERY familiar with Pret. In fact you go there every day for approximately the first 183 days. Why? Well of course you have made it in life. You are now a small fry in the big city, earning the most you have ever earned in your entire life, experiencing this painful but obligatory and rewarding scheme called tax, with an ego so high you decide to reward yourself by spending 37 minutes every lunch, passively enjoying free wifi and double-barrelled sandwiches in an environment that somehow reminds you of the homely and personal yet vague childhood experience.
But after the 184th day, you stop. Why? You spent more on sandwiches last week than you did rent. You’ve realised that you have eaten everything so many times that one look at a ‘Chicken and Avocado Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing’ causes your stomach to turn. And you think that those people serving you coffee are so enthusiastic they are probably dying inside.
The biggest reason however? There are more than 45,000 Pret A Mangers within 35 feet of your office front door. You end up making this incredibly overindulgent political point in the office about how multinational corporations are taking over the local identity and culture of our surroundings. So you bravely, put aside your 99p Takeaway White Americano with a Slightly Annoying Tearaway Coffee Lid and head to…
Tesco - which between the hours of 12-2pm looks like the last day of Glastonbury Festival. Or a zoo inconveniently located in the middle of Spaghetti Junction. It’s carnage in there. “Excuse me!” / “Sorry” / “Errr… dhfhjfvggf” as you’re pushed to the side as someone lunges for some weird ‘cous cous chicken with a bit of a green thing to the side served in a frustratingly hard-to-open cardboard box’ salad. You end up looking at some sandwiches with a filling that looks exactly the same colour as the bread surrounding it for about 15 minutes, and resort to eating an eclectic mix of ‘any old crap’ because it fits the £3.50 MEAL DEAL.
You hate it. You hate the queues. You hate the “select cash, or touch pay with card”. You hate the “unidentified item in bagging area. Please remove before continuing.” You hate the slightly odd guilty feeling when you open your meal in front of all of your other colleagues. You eat here for approximately the next 16 months.
That is until you go to…
Waitrose – Well la dee dah. LA DEE DAHHH. Would you like a ‘Community Matters’ green token with your sesame bun and prawn filling sir or madam? Surely this should be the place where some middle class parents and children head to on a Saturday afternoon, not where someone who likes spending their weekend throwing their face onto the lips of whichever bloke/girl/bloke and girl is nearest in a nightclub before later throwing up outside a closed branch of Chicken Cottage buys some lunch?
You go there three times. Then you feel slightly weirded out, so you decide to head to…
Subway - If Louis “pommel horse/Saturday night teatime waltz/arms like tanks” Smith gets his lunch at Subway then surely this is the right place for you. Yes?
Kinda. You enjoy it for two days and then you hate yourself because you’ve got that sticky fat oily feeling round your mouth whenever you eat there. I’m not saying that Subway is unhealthy, the issue is that whenever the man behind the counter asks you what you want on your Chicken Tikka 6 inch on hearty Italian you just keep shouting “EVERYTHING”.
The attendant then tries to skilfully roll your highly unstable World War II-ending bomb into a wrap, which you stuff into your face in about 17 seconds in the corner.
You hate yourself, so you join a gym and then…
BRING YOUR OWN LUNCH IN – You’ll either do one thing or the other with this. You might somehow realise that you’re actually properly good at cooking so you manage to pull off a delicious and exquisite tasting lunch that you’ll make every day forever and ever…
… or your meal might somehow open itself in your bag, giving you the fear that someone will see it, think it’s the remains of a dead animal, and call the RSPCA.
So you head back to Pret.