Eating while travelling inevitably creates competition. There are times when one’s schedule, often in tweaking-mode, can give some challenging moments of decision-making. Mixed with this scenario is the incredible mark-up on food anywhere within proximity of a major train station or airport. Thus finding the balance between being wise without becoming a spendthrift is greatly helped by some thoughtful customer-friendly product marketing and support services.
The Simply Food chain of travel-venue stores, operated by M&S, is an excellent example of this. A carefully chosen variety of products is available and often packaged with the busy – ” on the run” traveller in mind. Thus you can, for about £2.50, have a reasonable and healthy snack – with minimum time consumption or finanace overdrafting!! A very thoughtful innovation is the rack of plastic knives, forks and spoons along with napkins strategically placed at the exit with the compliments of M&S.
If time permits, doing some research in the locality near to the Railway Station or Airport can reveal more economic options. In general, Public House Restaurants give a good deal. It is worth stopping to eat at a town or village just prior to the Station or Airport. This helps the pocket as well as the parking-meter thirstiness. Requesting just a glass of water with a meal can be another way of saving. One can find excellent starters that are quite adequate for such mobile meals. Usually these are very well cooked. One of my research gauges is the starter-meal. If small meals are done well, one can usually be sure that the main course will be excellent too.
Having a budget in mind, really has assisted me over the years. Being involved with an NGO-non-profit, one constantly is thoughtful of the generous folk who have contributed to the project and thus one seeks to make the donated pound/ dollar/euro do a good job before finally disappearing. My budget of £2.50 for a meal on the run may be slightly ambitious these days but in general it has worked throughout 2011.
On one occasion, I was in discusion with the sales person in a supermarket restaurant about creative options for my £2.00 creative budget. Just then the Chef came along. He enquired about our humorous discussion. He then asked me what I would have if my budget restriction was lifted. Without hesitation, I said the fish and chip meal (£3.98) – £1.98 over budget!! He then said maybe he could help. A piece of fish he was cooking had somehow disintegrated and he wondered if I would mind having it in its fragmented state. Well, it was going to be in pieces when I ate it so why not have it pre-disected. Soon a creative plate of fish and chips plus veggies arrived. Then things became even more amazing. When I presented the payment to the cashier, he cheerfully replied that my wife had paid for it. I told him my wife was not with me….”Oh!!” he said “I thought the lady you were talking to in the queue was your wife so I put the meal on her account”. Of course, profuse apologies were in order and everyone had a good laugh.
Humour at the food counter can bring some interesting dividends…..