Notes from West London

The price of things: Coca-Cola at £15 a pint

Last month, through a family connection, my son and I were invited to a “Strictly Come Dancing” Live show at the O2 Arena. We were in a corporate box usually reserved for client entertainment, but for various reasons there were no clients being entertained at this particular weekend matinee. The other attendees in the box were our hosts, other staff at the firm and their friends and family. It was a fun afternoon. We were glad to be there.

Apart from unlimited quantities of filtered water and ice there was no complimentary food or drink on offer. That’s reserved for when clients are present. In the area just outside the corporate box there was a bar selling draft Budweiser (£7 a pint, in plastic glasses), soft drinks and snacks. Grab bags of fruit pastilles and Rowntree Randoms, which you can get for £1 a pop at the Pound Shop, were £4 each. My son wanted a Coca-Cola, which was priced at £4 a can. But it was the smallest can of anything I have ever seen, containing a mere 150ml of The Real Thing. The cans they sell on aeroplanes are bigger. Three pints of Bud, two packets of sweets, a Coke: most transactions like this could be paid for with a tap of a Contactless card, but this one came to over £30, so I had to insert the card and enter my PIN.

I recalled a scene from one of the shows my daughter used to watch on CBBC, something like “Jamie Johnson” or “Hank Zipser”. One of the grown-up characters was trying to get fit, and was dressed in a vest and running gear. His wife squeezed one of the muscles in his upper arm and said, “Hmm, It’s like bicep, only smaller”. I picked up the 150ml can of Coke and said, “Hmm, it’s like a can of Coke, only much, much smaller”. Standard cans of soft drinks are 330ml, so for another £4 I could have bought another one of these bijou Cokes and still not had the equivalent of a regular can. And it would have cost me £8.

The show began, the audience was introduced to the judges and to Kelvin and Oti, Emma (partnered by Graziano rather than Anton), Karim and Amy and other performers from the 2019 series. They were all doing their stuff a bit further away than I thought they would be. And I was temporarily distracted, trying to work out just how much a pint (or 568ml) of Coke would cost at those rates. It’s £15, or £15.15 rounded up to the nearest penny.

 

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