THINGS THAT HAVE BUT ONE FUNCTION AND FAIL AT THAT ONE FUNCTION. Such is the snappy title behind the Intellectual Hooligan's latest campaign (don't worry, the previous noble cause hasn't been abandoned: we have exclusive dirty, dirty panini shots coming in from Edinburgh – our censorship team is currently working on making them safe for www browser perusal).
Meanwhile, though, let's have a look, shall we, at Exhibit A? The oven ready meal.
This is already a mildly tawdry thing, I'll admit. But, hell, I got out of work after 9 o'friggin' clock this evening, so it was always going to be a Tesco-lasagne-and-bottle-of-should've-known-better-rosé night, wasn't it?
(HELL, I MADE A SALAD, ALRIGHT?)
It's a simple enough object, this ready-meal lasagne. A plastic carton, o'ermantled by a cellophane sheet, snugly ensconced in a cardboard sleeve upon which the delicious contents are artfully depicted.
The instructions could scarcely be simpler. Preheat oven. Remove cardboard sleeve. Peel off cellophane lid. Put in oven. Wait. Remove from oven. Eat. (Burn mouth.)
It's at step three that we encounter THING THAT HAS BUT ONE FUNCTION AND FAILS AT THAT ONE FUNCTION.
From the perspective of the customer – the consumer – my single interaction with the cellophane lid of my lasagne is (or, rather, should be) as follows:
- Ripping the bastard right off.
All that cellophane sheet has to do to make mine the perfect (yes, perfect) cellophane-removal experience is this:
- Fucking detach.
As the manufacturers of yoghurt cartons the world o'er have shown us, peelability is a quality that does not elude the grasp of modern technology.
Why is it, then, o Tesco, that your cellophane is WEAKER THAN THE GLUE YOU USE TO STICK IT TO THE CARTON?
... Meaning that, when one employs the peeling motion, one is presented with a miniscule strip of static-charged cellophane, clinging pathetically to one's finger – and a tantalisingly lasagne-crammed receptacle still resolutely cellophane covered, yet now missing the small tab of unglued material via which to tug it from its adhesive foundations.
Now, perhaps the Intellectual Hooligan is, you know, a little bit – well – odd. And perhaps his delectations are not those of the everyday human.
(FUCK OFF, EVERYDAY HUMAN.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE YOU STOP?
YOU MAKE THIS WORLD LOUSY.)
Perhaps the Intellectual Hooligan is not normal. But the Intellectual Hooligan nevertheless maintains (with a vigour that defies his mild exterior) that the process of peeling may – in the right circumstances – afford no small amount of pleasure.
Yes. A good peel, this Hooligan asserts, may be a supremely satisfying thing.
That's not a euphemism.
So, o Tesco. Your omniscient computer tracking tells you that the citizens of North Oxford are prepared to pay £1.11 for a carton of cream and £1.50 for a pack of rocket salad. And it tells you that, if you stay open after 9pm, you'll rake in a substantial amount of business from those who might otherwise have frequented the cellophane nirvana of M&S.
But why the HELL doesn't it tell you NEVER TO DENY YOUR DISCERNING CUSTOMERS A GOOD PEEL?