Karoline (with a K) is slumped on her office desk and sobbing when I enter, two near-empty bottles of Campari on the floor. We have lost our German meat snack client and she seems to have taken it to heart. Admittedly ‘Bingo Wings’, a “frozen toastable reformed chicken experience”, may have been a bit of a long shot for the UK, but as Klaus said: “Ze British vimmin like der bingo, so it cannot fail, ja?”
I’m not sure whether Karoline is mourning the loss of the business, the departure of the muscular sharp-suited German from our roster, or something more fundamental, but she’s in a maudlin mood. “Titty, Titty, Titty darling. The whole world has gone mad,” she slurs, catching sight of me trying to creep away. “All the brand managers are about 12 years old and think PR is tweeting smutty jokes to their friends. Our sporting superstars suddenly seem to have bits missing. I’ve spent 30 years and thousands, actually millions because most of it was at Waitrose, on a diet of organic food and today’s papers say it doesn’t make any difference.
“One in seven shops has closed. One in three in Nottingham. God, I hate Nottingham. Got to brush our teeth in coconut oil. Rosie Huntington-Whatknot’s launched some knickers. With a name like that she should work in PR. And now they say Curtis Mayfield is running John Lewis.”
At this point, and even more alarmingly, she breaks into song. “Move On Up… to gentleman’s outfitting, hahahahaha,” she cackles. But she’s lost me by now. I tiptoe out of the office. I have never before seen an iota of doubt dent Karoline (with a K)’s iron-clad self-belief. But even more worryingly, who drinks Campari these days?