On a blindingly sunny Sunday afternoon, the population of Canterbury is still struggling to come to terms with a devastating state of affairs: the KFC at St George’s remains shut.
Noooooo! Apparently, some cock-up involving delivery of chicken and chips means that we are being horribly deprived our choice culinary narcotic.
And it hurts. Two lads who rocked up to the restaurant by the Clocktower to find it pitched in gloom and looked stunned.
They stopped short and then scurried over to read the A4 sign on the front door which informed them of a “few hiccups” with the delivery and a promise that normal service would be restored as soon as possible.
The chicken addicts will just have to wait.
Episodes like this and all the chatter on social media about KFC demonstrate just how much we have come to depend on the reliability of businesses to meet our needs – and the effect it has on us when they don’t.
Those two lads would have planned a visit to KFC completely unaware of the delivery farrago and felt thoroughly let down by their discovery. It’s the same if you visit a pub only to be told “we’re not doing food today” or “we’ve closed the kitchen early”. For some that’s enough to turn them off for life.
Consumer research has shown that people like to know exactly when particular business are open or offering certain services even if we have no immediate plans to patronise them. It’s not rocket science to understand that randomness or unforeseen circumstances are an irritation.
Equally, consumers are very fond of stores which are open 24 hours a day even if they’re safely ensconced in the duvet between the hours of 10pm and 6am.
But what it provides is the knowledge that should some sudden crisis arise – “Janine, we’re out of bloody bogroll” – there is a way to solve it.
America, the greatest market economy in the world, wised up to the potential of the 24-hour economy decades before we got in on the act.
As the new working week begins, there’s little doubt that Colonel Sanders will work his magic just like he did all those years ago when he devised his secret and we’ll soon be back to eating crispy poulet out of a bucket.
In the meantime, if only there was somewhere else in Canterbury city centre to get some grub…