7 Reasons That I Hate the M&S Dine in for £10 Deal
Marks and Spencer have a Dine in for £10 meal deal in which you select a main course, a side-dish, a dessert course and a bottle of wine and pay only ten pounds for them. Other supermarkets have similar deals but I don’t shop at them, so I’m only qualified to write about my abject hatred of the M&S meal deal, which seems to be aimed solely at people who dine together in even numbers. Anyway, here are 7 Reasons that I loathe it. With every fibre of my being.
1. They’ve Got It Surrounded. It’s the weekend and there they all are. The throng. A grey horde of people aged over fifty-five standing four-deep, apparently transfixed, around the Dine in for £10 (But Only If There Are Precisely 2.0 Of You And Absolutely No Singletons Or Children Welcome) display. Some of them are actually viewing the food, picking it up and inspecting it, but many are not. A lot of these people seem not to have any involvement in the decision over what to eat at all, but there they stand, in the way of anyone else who might conceivably want to see the food. My wife, for example, will want to see the food. As will other customers so, if you’re not actively looking at the food, why not step away from the food? Hello! Hello! We want to see the food! Actually, I can already see the food – as all people over the age of fifty-five are tiny – but I can never get within nine feet of it for fear of damaging the doddering Lilliputians as I lumber through the waist-high mass of grey to get to the growers choice salad bag. Get out of the way! Other people want to see the food!
2. It’s A Compromise. Putting together a meal from the Dine in for £10 menu is a study in the art of compromise. And compromise is an abomination. Did Churchill compromise? Rarely. Did Neville Chamberlain compromise? Yes. Ergo, compromise is abominable and speaks with a Birmingham accent. So when my wife and I put together a meal from the Dine in for £10 menu it becomes a power-struggle that even the UN would back away interceding in (we don’t have any oil, for one thing). I approach the menu searching for the most interesting and tasty thing there, and my wife approaches it searching for the most insipidly dull and bland thing that they have which, in turn, causes me to become angry and refuse to compromise further on any of the other courses or the wine (just imagine Hitler food-shopping or, if you shop at the same branch of M&S as me, look for the angry giant bellowing “Who the hell has fish and chips with a side dish of rosemary new potatoes?!”). So in the end, neither of us get the meal we want. I can’t really blame M&S for this, it’s my own fault. If I wanted to eat nice, tasty, well balanced meals I should have followed Simon Cowell’s example and married myself.
3. It’s Discriminatory. I’m not a single person but, between bouts of not being single, I have been. I remember it well; a time when I would always find things exactly where I left them and had much more space in bed. But single people today need that extra space in bed because they are required to eat twice as much as people in couples to take advantage of the Dine in for £10 offer which will, ironically, increase their chances of remaining single. Or perhaps I’m being fanciful there. No one (in Europe) is actually going to eat twice as much to take advantage of a special offer, so the offer discriminates against single people. But M&S don’t care. They seem perfectly happy to condemn the single to evenings of dining – on full price non-special food – alone while viewing whatever television programme they fancy without interruption and in their pants. But surely being single is tough enough without being excluded from special offers? What if you were unfortunate enough to be a widower? What if, after the two of you have enjoyed a Saturday night ritual of dining in for £10 for a few years, your tiny grey husband dies (possibly crushed to death by a giant food-Nazi next to the ultimate potato mash)? There’d be no more Dine in for £10 menu for you. How iniquitous.
4. It Forces Extreme Measures. Many of the best ideas are borne out of adversity and, much in the noble tradition of Barnes Wallis inventing the bouncing bomb or Soviet cosmonauts using pencils in space, I have formulated a plan; a method by which single people might take full advantage of the Dine in for £10 offer and stick it to the man by enjoying a spinach and beef roulade followed by a raspberry panna cotta at the cheaper price. Single people need to find a food-buddy. They can do it by placing a personal ad like this:
Fiscally frugal food-lover (Male, early thirties, GSOH, NS, NK) with a penchant for rosemary and lemon crusted seabass and the green pea, bean and vegetable layer seeks similar to take advantage of the M&S Dine in for £10 offer. Must be willing to consume a lesser share of the profiteroles. All applications welcome but please, no time-wasters or merlot-drinkers.
By getting organised, single people can take advantage of the Dine in for £10 offer. But should single people have to resort to their guile, cunning and organisational adroitness to take advantage of the same offers that are unconditionally granted to couples?*
5. It’s Being Discriminatory Again. My wife and I qualify for the meal deal now, but what if we were to have a child one day? It’s not inconceivable (and nor are children, hopefully). Or three children? We’d be disqualified from the offer. Cruelly cast asunder by Marks and Spencer. Because you can’t feed three or five (or any other odd number, I won’t list them all) people from the M&S Dine in for £10 menu. In fact, only one person has ever successfully accomplished a similar feat: His name was Jesus and what he did with the wrong quantity of food for a gathering of people is spoken of as a miracle (which is a biblical word meaning fiction). So – miracles aside – families that contain an odd number of members are excluded from the deal too. The father, the son and the holy ghost can’t take advantage of the Dine in for £10 deal but Hitler and Eva Braun can.
6. Paying For The Thing. Okay, so – after about an hour of pushing tiny grey people around and bickering with your partner about broccoli – you’ve carefully assembled all of the components of the meal and you take them to the checkout. But when you get there they don’t ask you for ten pounds. They ask you for seventeen. “I thought that it was all a part of the Dine in for £10 offer”, you will state. And then they’ll press the Total button and say, “Oh yes, I hadn’t pressed the Total button”. This happens every time. Just press the Total button! We know we’re saving money, we don’t need you to remind us of that every time we buy the meal deal – that’s why we’re buying the bloody meal deal in the first place. All you’re accomplishing by reminding us of the money we’ve saved is to make the widow in the queue behind us cry.
7. The Third Pie. Marks and Spencer does something further to confound us all. As a part of their 2 for £10 menu Marks and Spencer offer a key lime pie. Which comes in three portions. Why three? We’ve already established that there’s only room for two people in this meal, what do they want us to do, fight over it? Go outside and scour the streets for a total stranger to hand it to as a random act of kindness? Perhaps they think we’re so abominably cruel that we’ll invite a dinner-guest – a single dinner-guest – round to watch us consume the rest of the menu before we reward them with a tiny dessert? I know this for certain; cats will not eat key lime pie, no matter how much cat food you mix in with it, so what’s with the third pie, Marks and Spencer? The third pie is sinister, frustrating and baffling. As is the rest of the Dine in for £10 deal.
*No. (But your conscience will surely have told you that already).