So today marks our four-year anniversary in London and to most of you it doesn’t matter, but to me its a bit of a big deal. It’s a whole year longer than we lived in Toronto (which felt like ages) and equally long as I spent in University which also felt like a giant (and important) part of my life it is nice to think that London will be as big a part of my memories as both of those things (although, the amount of hours/days I have experienced drinking related memory loss might mean I have to stay here 5 years to make it equal 4 years anywhere else but that is just a technicality)
Anyhoo instead of pointing out the things I find weird (I will do that anyway in other posts) I will write about something revolutionary in British culture that happened today (okay it might not have happened exactly today but I only noticed it today)…..Marks and Spencer started carrying brand name products. For those of you who think this isn’t a big deal let me explain. Marks and Spencer has built it’s institution on only offering products that were made by (or on behalf of) Marks and Spencer. If you wanted Coca-Cola you bought Marks and Spencer cola, you want Smirnoff Vodka you get M&S vodka and so on all the way down from ketchup to loo roll.
This worked because as a consumer you just knew this, you knew that if you wanted to buy Marks and Spencer pizza that you needed to go to another shop to buy Coca-Cola to go with it or if you bought cottage pie you would have to buy your Heinz ketchup to smother on the potato cheezy topping elsewhere ….now you don’t have to. And whilst I do appreciate the convenience of such a move, I do feel slightly like M&S has given up trying to make us realise there is life outside big brands and that if we wanted them that badly we would have to make the extra effort to get them. Now they are just shoving aside their own brands for the likes of Kraft/Heinz/Coke.
It sort of feels like Canada changing their name to America because everyone thinks we are American anyway….come on, what changed? what made them disallow the fancy big name products from their shelves before now? What changed? Okay I know that one, it must have been motivated by money – It’s the same reason Shania Twain is now a resident of Switzerland and Pamela Anderson is now an American citizen….I guess everyone eventually jumps on the bandwagon for one reason or another (she says whilst researching how much longer she has to wait to get a British Passport).