Tom’s Laundry Service

Just leaving this here…

PS – if you’re based abroad, you might need someone in the UK to help you.

Defender Of The French

The other day, I decided to treat myself to a French, pastry-based breakfast.

In the last year or two I’ve been trying to cut down a bit, and live a slightly healthier lifestyle (lost six stone, thanks for asking). However, every now and again it’s nice to be able to treat yourself after a day of particular achievement, or a hard week at work.

So, I popped into Waitrose and headed straight for the pain au chocolat section.

But, when I went to pay I, was horrified to learn that according to the self-service checkout, pains au chocolat are classified as croissants and/or scones.

Taking Direct Action

I immediately contacted a verified French person, who confirmed my suspicions: This classification was wholly incorrect.

And so, as someone who is unafraid to stand up for injustices wherever I see them, I contacted Waitrose and demanded immediate action:

Tweet in which I ask Waitrose to change the classification of the pain au chocolat to 'pastries'

Of course, in reality I had very low expectations.

I’m not 100% sure how the categorisation of items on a self-service checkout works; but I’m fairly certain that if it was my job, and someone came to me with a request of this nature, it would be far more trouble than it’s worth.

However, I was surprised, almost to the point of astonishment, when Waitrose tweeted back:

Tweet on behalf of the French people reads: 'Hi Tom! I will pass this on to the head office team for them to review!'

And then even more surprised and astonished when Waitrose tweeted back again:

Tweet on behalf of the French people reads: 'Hi Tom, I have raised this at Head Office, who have assured me they are aware of the issue and are looking to update it all in the next coming months!'

A Victory for the French

Finally, when I went back to Waitrose for breakfast a few weeks later, the checkouts had been changed.

The pain au chocolat was in its rightful place, amongst other such middle class fancies as the danish lemon sultana, and pastel de nata – whatever one of those is.

My French friends, of course, were enormously grateful. Not since 1066 had they scored such a mighty victory on British soil.

It just goes to show what a little direct action and determination can do.

But more than that, if I had been sticking religiously to my diet, I wouldn’t have been able to stand up against a corporate supermarket on behalf of 68 million people.

So it also goes to show that eating healthy is not always good for you. And I think that’s a lesson we can all get behind.

Fantasy General Election

In hugely exciting news for fans of politics-themed fantasy football games, I am thrilled to be able to confirm that General Fantasy Election Football (or Fantasy General Election, as we’re now calling it) will return in 2024.

(Or if everything falls apart and there’s a vote in 2023, it’ll be then – obviously).

Even more excitingly, this time we’ve been joined by an actual web designer (called Sam) to work on the UI, and she’s done an incredible job!

What’s Actually Going On?

Two of my favourite things are politics (I did a degree in it) and silly games, which I did not do a degree in, but probably would have done were such a qualification available at the time.

Before the last general election, I was trying to think of ways to bring these two passions together, and that’s when FGE was born.

The team selection page for Fantasy Election 2024. On the right is an in-development list of seats and candidates, and on the left is a football pitch which political party-themed football shirts in formation
A sneak preview of what we’re working on for 2024 – or whenever it’s going to be

The idea is really simple: Players pick a team of 11 Westminster parliamentary candidates, and score points based on how they do at the ballot box.

You’ll score points if their majority goes up, lose points if it goes down, and if your candidate manages to unseat an incumbent MP – you’ve hit the jackpot.

Fantasy General Election Football 2019

With just a few weeks to go until the 2019 general election, I brought together a couple of my nerdiest political mates to help plan the site.

It was all a bit last minute, but we managed to put something together and launch it on Twitter – with over 1,300 people signing up to play.

We were pretty pleased with this, considering how little time we had to make it; but we’re determined to go much bigger next time around.

We’ve got time to plan, I’m much better and building websites, we’ve all made friends with a few more journalists and, thanks to our professional web designer, the site looks incredible.

If you’re interested in helping out, or you’d like to find out a bit more about Fantasy General Election 2024, please feel free to get in touch on Twitter.