Most fun at CiF

Writer complains about having paid off all her debts by winning literary prize. Why oh why are such prizes funded by large corporates? And why will Costa Coffee open in Totnes when 75% of those polled said no to Costa Coffee?

CiF regulars ask:

1) So you\’re handing back your prize money in protest are you?

2) If no one wants Costa in Totnes then Costa in Totnes will go bust. Markets being this democracy thing, one pound one vote.

17 comments on “Most fun at CiF

  1. What none of these people seem to be able to grasp is that the value of chains to itinerant visitors: I can walk into a Pizza Hut or JD Wetherspoons with a couple of hungry kids and know that there’s something they’re going to like, the food is at least going to be edible, and that the price and service are going to be OK.

    I know I’m going to miss out on that charming little pub that is better, but I also know that I’m not going to miss out on somewhere that isn’t up to the job.

    The rules are different for local dining because you keep going back to the local pubs. Making some mistakes is worth it.

  2. I thought this was an excellent comment (from Samvara):

    Costa remind me of that terrible Medici family. Plutocrats who expanded until they completely dominated the banking industry, and took over dozens of smaller quirky little enterprises. They imposed their uniform systems – stuff like double-entry book-keeping and standardised ledgers – until all banking just looked the same. Then they had the temerity to start offering money to artists. Absolutely disgusting, and no self-respecting creative type should have had anything to do with them…

  3. 2) If no one wants Costa in Totnes then Costa in Totnes will go bust. Markets being this democracy thing, one pound one vote.

    There’s classic example of this in the saga of Hooters in Bristol. The feminists were going nuts at the thought of waitresses in skimpy clothes serving beer and chicken wings and demanded that the council block it from opening. Well it opened, the food was expensive and shit, bad reviews all round, nobody went there, and it shut down not even a year and a half later. The market decided, not some misandric, hairy legged vegan.

  4. WGCF (F stands for flap, C stands for concerned upstanding national treasure*)

    * Shamelessly stolen from another thread.

  5. Everyone is correct, obviously.

    I’m a bit of a dick about coffee, and living in the place outside Italy with the best coffee has not tamed this impulse.

    Costa is one of the very few places in the UK, outside the bits of big cities where Italians live, that does coffee that isn’t a bloody disgrace.

    Anyone who wants that removed, so that people in provincial towns have to drink fucking drainwater because it’s poured by Mrs Withington and not an evil chain, can get tae fuck.

    BB: I love that some daft Yank twat thought Bristol Hooters would be a winning call. Like you can’t get to see a West Country girl’s tits by buying her a cider or two anyway.

  6. Its like how many people say they prefer independent bookshops – but shop at amazon. Or say they prefer small independent shops and slam tesco. But shop at tesco.

    Why should some locals in an area decide they don’t want a new coffee shop in a town that apparently has 40+ coffee shops already. If I was in charge of placement at Costa I’d say that would be an ideal town to open a place in. You know people there like coffee shops!
    Someone on CiF pointed out that the retail area had other people wanting it – hey look, they didn’t put the money up to get it.
    And as has been pointed out, if there isn’t enough trade to support the place it won’t remain open anyway.

  7. I’ve seen a certain former Mayor of London supping his coffee in a Costa despite an independent place half a minute up the road.

  8. I say no to 99% of the local shops (chain or otherwise) by not spending in them but they’re there anyway because other idiots (people not like me) use them. I should get on the council and get every shop catering to less than 50% of the population closed. Surely the >50% know what is best for everyone else.

    [/irony, in case anyone was wondering.]

  9. John, while I broadly agree with you about Costa being actually drinkable, Totnes does actually have some places that do a passablly decent coffee, and the cakes tend to be nicer than Costa, so there’s a balance.

    But, y’know, next time I visit family I’ll have the choice of not going into Costa as well.

    But yeah, the line Julia highlighted was what really got to me, what do these blithering morons think the name on the prixe is for? The only one that they had a vague excuse of not knowing was The Booker, and Booker aren’t trading anymore anyway.

  10. Yup, Booker is doing well. But they are no longer paying the Prize, it is now the MAN Booker prize, backed by the hedge fund guys. Who have a bit of a raw deal since everyone still calls the prize the Booker.

  11. OK, they had a branch near me, it was shut I somehow thought they’d gone bust.

    So basically they’re still getting the benefits of sponsoring the prize without putting up any money. Cunning.

  12. I’m not sure Booker ever got that much commercial benefit from sponsoring a literary prize. I can’t see the average literary novel reader suddenly deciding they want to buy catering packs of ketchup, or industrial quantities of washing powder. Or that your average corner shop owner might decide to visit Bookers rather than another cash’n’carry just because he’d read Midnight’s Children after it won the Booker prize.

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