Friday, 17 October 2008

There's no such thing as a free lunch

The lovely Huw Stephens has made the new This Town Needs Guns record his album of the week on his Radio One show. Very nice of him indeed. Listen back online (it's just after the one hour mark) and rejoice in/cringe at the 'guess the animals on TTNG's album' game! I can see that one catching on.

Yesterday I was minutes from an absolute steal. On my way into London in the morning I found a copy of The Independent on the seat next to me. Not only do I run an independent label, I read a paper called The Independent. The Gods are clearly smiling upon me today. Upon flicking through my eyes are diverted to the lovely "Free lunch" promotion. Always one to defy popular, skeptical sayings I was delighted to discover that it really was free, all I needed to do was rip the voucher out and run (this wasn't specified in the terms and conditions, it just makes the matter sound more urgent when I tell the tale) to the nearest Upper Crust at any London train or service station. Tricky for some, ideal for me, there's one located within Victoria which is where I'll later be catching my bus home. This has the potential to be the best day of my life.

7 hours, one KFC, four orange juices - one with bits - and three back to back to back meetings later I'm all about my free baguette. Skipping through the crowded underground station I head up the stairs as fast as my hollow, sandwich-ready legs will take me, mind racing as I consider the options. BLT or smoked ham? Or maybe tuna? What am I thinking?! I don't even like tuna! This free business has sent me over the edge. Upper Crust is in my sight, my palms are sweaty and grey from clutching the dirty newspaper print too hard, oh how I love free stuff! But then there's a problem. I look at the time, it's 19.18. My bus leaves at 19.20. What to do, what to do? If I miss that I'll have to pay £12 to get home. £12 would buy me three and a half sandwiches, is a free one really worth it? I spend a minute trying to decide. People are bumping into me and giving angry stares. To be fair, I am standing at the top of a busy staircase outside of a huge train station, nobody is my friend right now. It's now 19.19, I've spent too long thinking about this. Almost in tears I turn away and begin my walk to the bus stop. It should be slow and downbeat, head hung low, but I have about 20 seconds to spare so dramatics go out the window. This is a race against time. A hungry one at that.

I spend the whole trip home feeling as though I've just lost something. Why is this? The whole experience didn't cost anything. Nothing has changed. I'm on my bus, I have food at home and my wallet is still as empty as it ever was. The only thing which has changed is this voucher which moments ago meant so much is now absolutely worthless. Am I the only person who in these situations feels hard done by? Is this a human genetic failing or just my own? Did anyone actually get a free baguette yesterday and was it good enough for me to continue beating myself up over? So many questions, so few sandwiches.

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