I am just back from lunch with my friend Peter at the Oriental City in North West London. "All Asia under one roof", they say, and the whole place is in the style of shopping malls you see in the Far East. The Food Court has food stalls selling Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Malaysian and Indian food. Most of the customers are London-based folk from these countries.
There is a Japanese pound-shop type place with a whole wall of food storage containers, which Peter points out to me with an eyebrow raised, saying "The competition!". I ignore him and add a stack of Tupperware catalogues to the mall's free newspaper area, but I don't leave one in the pound shop, that would be cheeky. I think the catalogues were the only thing in English. You never know, I may have to recruit some people to run bilingual Tupperware parties for me.
Next month New Piccadilly cafe in the West End of London closes its doors for the last time. This place is a museum of 1950s cafe style, with a menu to match ("tunny fish"), and it has been threatened with closure for as long as I have lived in London, which is nearly 20 years. I go to the New Piccadilly this week for one last time with my friend Paul, and leave a few catalogues by a pot plant, under a Sound of Music poster.
The British do seem curiously resistant to taking Tupperware back into their hearts, and it's orders from ex-pats that are keeping me in business at the moment, especially Antipodeans. Steph's Mum is visiting from Australia and orders her some key Tupperware pieces for her London flat. I deliver them to an intriguing Mayfair mansion block round the back of Park Lane. I am dying to see what it's like inside, but sadly I don't get past the doorman because Steph has taken the baby for a walk, and is not home to take delivery.
Another hostess, Michelle, is a Kiwi who works right next to St Paul's Cathedral, and since all her guests were colleagues, I can deliver all the orders straight to the office. It's a lovely London day, and now St Paul's has had a facelift, it's a magnificent setting for a delivery. Another regular customer, Ivana, who is originally from the Czech Republic, has ordered a couple of items that I hand-deliver to her new office in Holborn rather that post to her as usual, so I get to meet her in person for the first time. Finally, this weekend I will also need to drop off a few items to the Shell Centre on London's South Bank, where Collette works. She misses her Quick Shakes from back home in South Africa.
I offer the organiser of the 2007 British Cheese Awards a CheeseSmart so she can see how good they are. She says yes she would love one. A few days later I pack it in a box with the contents of my shredder to protect it, and give her a quick call to confirm its on its way. The person I speak with puts me straight through, but the organiser herself then tells me off for bothering her when I could have spoken to her PA. She is so shirty with me that I unpack the CheeseSmart and decide she can whistle for it. Politeness costs nothing, but rudeness has cost her a CheeseSmart.
Still no parties in the diary, but at least I am not the only one having a lean time. White trash diva Dixie Longate (say it out loud) posted this message on her MySpace page:
"Hey Hookers, it’s Me, Dixie Longate. I’m in a mess of a pickle. As many of you know, I have been doing my show, “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” off-Broadway. It has been great, but the New Yorkers don’t seem to be buying the Tupperware like they should, so I have fallen from my position as #1 Personal Seller of Tupperware in the U.S.A. With the end of the fiscal year for Tupperware being this Friday, July 29th, I need your help desperately. If everyone I know just buys one piece of Tupperware, then I may be able to wrap this thing up. I am currently $17,288 behind the #1 Seller. Well, that is only 910 BBQ Specials or 494 FridgeSmart Specials! So, go to my site and place your orders now. Tell your friends; and make sure they tell their friends! Please help a sister out. You know I would do it for you. And I probably have! XOXO Dixie."
And what is it with drag queen Tupperware ladies? Pam Teflon is now snapping at Dixie's (high) heels: