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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A sandwich short of a picnic?

Setting forth from Bracknell Towers on Thursday to collect her monthly selection of pills and medicaments from her friendly pharmacist, Lady Bracknell was astonished to note that her local Chinese Takeaway shop had been transformed - apparently overnight - into one of those now ubiquitous Subway outlets.

The global behemoth which is Subway operates on a franchise basis which means that persons who are unlearned in the ways of commerce may be tempted into (ahem) "biting off rather more than they can chew". (Is it any wonder, really, that Lady Bracknell's wit is legendary?)

Quite apart from her pique at learning that she will no longer be able to pick up a Mushroom Foo Yung on her way home on a cold, wet winter's evening when she is too weary to produce something nourishing herself from the contents of her own store cupboard, Lady Bracknell is far from convinced that this particular Subway outlet has any prospect of longevity.

A successful sandwich shop is one which is situated handily for the customers for whom its goods have been designed. Ideal locations would therefore include a public transport terminus; the middle of a busy shopping centre; the fringes of a university campus; or in the vicinity of large offices. Anywhere, indeed, where the passing trade is constituted of busy people who have neither the time nor the opportunity to return to their own homes to partake of a lengthy and civilised luncheon.

Lady Bracknell's local Subway has flown in the face of the standard customer demographics by opening in a wholly residential area only yards from two supermarkets which themselves offer pre-packed sandwiches for sale. There is but one parking space outside the shop, and it is unlikely that passers by on the opposite side of the dual carriageway will suddenly be hit by a desire for a sandwich which is so overwhelming that they are prepared to go the considerable trouble of crossing both carriageways twice in order to purchase one.

Any persons walking past on the Subway side of the street will, in the main, be heading either for the supermarkets or towards an omnibus stop.

A sandwich (even a toasted one) does not a warming supper make, so it seems unlikely to Lady Bracknell that the Subway outlet will inherit the late Chinese Takeaway's loyal customer base.

Lady Bracknell makes no claim to expertise in economics. But if even she can immediately see the commercial pitfalls of opening a sandwich shop in such a location, she fears that the franchisees in question must be parlously inexperienced and at great risk of losing the money they have invested in this venture.

Of course, should the shop flourish and thrive, Lady Bracknell will gladly eat both humble pie and her magnificent hat. (Although perhaps not a sandwich.)


Blogger Wilf said...

I think I would cross the road to buy a sandwich there - if my mum would let me - but then we only have a post office in our village. It sells sausage rolls and cornish pasties and they will even heat them up for you. Mum says they need to superheat them or people may die. So I think you are quite lucky really.
P.S. I am always nice to my mother

3:08 pm  
Blogger Lady Bracknell said...

Lady Bracknell hopes that the people who run Wilf's Post Office are aware of the VAT implications of heating up his sausage rolls for him...

3:19 pm  
Blogger Charlesdawson said...

Travelling around the small towns in this County on my errands, it has never ceased to amaze me that the shopkeeping class never seem to do any research before embarking on such enterprises. No sooner does a specialist shop, such as lighting fixtures only, or sports goods only, fail in a given location, due usually to the lack of passing trade, than another one opens up on the same spot or nearby within months.

I feel sorry, very, for the blasted hopes involved, but also fel that there is much truth in the old sayings about a fool and his money and there's one born every minute.

9:19 am  
Blogger The Goldfish said...

Whitby is a town which remains free of chain eateries of any description - although there are regular rumours about a certain Scottish clan of offal merchants setting up shop here.

The Goldfish enjoys the privileges of living in very close proximity to an excellent Fish'n'Chip establishment - although some of the lower sort of clientele do insist on parking on the pavement and leaving loud hippety-hoppety music playing from their automobile gramophones. Occasionally they have been seen to simply dump their chip papers on the road.

Fortunately, it is always this type of person who is attacked by seagulls. ;-)

12:05 pm  
Blogger marmiteboy said...

The Ladyship may be heartened to hear that the Subway in her nephews local town has recently been closed. It says on the sign that it is 'closed for refurbishment' but not a sandwich nor 'sub' has been through its doors for about 4 months now. Me thinks it migt be gone for good.

Maybe Lady B's local Chinese can move in. I now it doesn't solve her Mushroom Foo Young problem it being 250 miles from Bracknell Towers but its the thought that counts.

7:44 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

What, I wonder, do they think people who don't eat wheat will make of their "esteemed outlet"?
Frankly, it strikes me that the human species runs on overdoses of bread and more bread - and then they wonder why they bloat!

1:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Subway, particularly the foot-long meatball marinara on toasted Italian herb & cheese bread with double cheese and chilli sauce.
Now that there is an outlet so close to Bracknell Towers, I'm sure I shall be glad of the opportunity to pop in for one (wearing my "off duty" string vest and leather hot pants of course) after a hard day's chauffeuring .

And yes I had a loverly holiday, thank you for asking. Although I am looking forward to once more donning my peaked cap in prefernce to the knotted hanky which is still much in vogue amongst the working classes who holiday on the Kentish Riviera.


12:31 am  

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