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:

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:

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

a victory for all of france

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.