Meal “Deals”

I used to work in Soho. No, not doing THAT kind of work (although I was propositioned once in my 6 years there, and when asked if I wanted a good time I said, “Yes – go away.”) But, being in the heart of the UK film and creative industries also put me in the middle of some of the highest shop rental prices in the UK.

Even so, I paid a reasonable sum (~£3.50) for a good lunch that was always made fresh. I never needed to buy a drink, however, as we got free soda (and beer – on a Friday) whenever we liked. But eventually the place I used to regularly buy lunch from closed – I imagine because of the soaring rent increases. The shop (which had been visited by Dustin Hoffman once) was replaced by Agent Provocateur. Feel free to make up your own jokes.

If I were working a late shift (up until 10pm), the runners would bring us something from one of the local eateries. So that saved me a bit of money. I used to always enjoy a Bento box from Satsuma, which was a little further along Wardour Street.

Some 16 years later, I’m paying £6 for a meal deal at M&S located next door to Guildford station. Last week it used to be £5.50. That’s a price increase of nearly 10%. £30/week. For this, you get to choose from an extremely limited range of sandwiches and/or pasta/light meals, a limited selection of drinks, and a snack. I’d like a Pepsi Max, but nope – that’s not part of the meal deal. Coke Zero, however, is. If you’re going to charge £6/meal, I’d be bloody grateful if you could extend the range as to what I can have.

Everything is so expensive these days, even with inflation cooling slightly. I recently had a Dominos pizza which used to cost £15 including a drink and a side, but these days it’s a least an extra £10. Papa John’s is even more expensive.

Train prices have risen, and with that increased strike action and increasingly more signal failures. This leads to fewer people in the office, and me having to take an expensive Uber in to ensure somebody is around.

Life is free, but living is most certainly not.

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