The queue of expectant customers snaked out of the shop, along the pavement and right round the corner. The occasion was the opening of The Hummingbird Bakery’s fifth London shop and they were giving free cupcakes to the first 1,000 customers to visit. News had spread fast via Twitter and Facebook and the mood was very party-like for a chilly Friday morning in January.
I had a meeting near Angel tube station so I jumped at the chance to line up in the sunshine and get my brilliantly named red velvet cupcake (plus buy three more for everyone at home – they’d be furious if I’d arrived back empty-handed).
When I reached the front of the queue the staff were charm personified – and impressively smiley considering they’d been handing out cakes at the rate of knots. A couple of hours later the shop posted the following message on Facebook: “Islington, you managed to munch your way through 1,000 cupcakes in just over two hours! That’s some incredible cupcake love.”
Judging by the turnout, I’m not the only one partial to a freebie, especially in these bleak economic times. Actually, I’ve been really lucky this week. First my local cinema, the Phoenix Picturehouse, offered members the chance to see a free preview of Carnage, the new film starring Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet. Then my daughter, now a Friend of the Royal Academy (a great birthday present from my sister) sweetly took me to see the fabulous David Hockney exhibition as her guest.
Like everyone I know, my wallet is stuffed full of bits of paper offering discounts and bargains. I’ve got a coupon from Marks & Spencer offering £5 off if I spend £25 by Tuesday and a £2.50 one from Tesco. The only voucher I’m mystified by is the Sainsbury’s Brand Match one promising me the princely sum of 7p off my next shop. Still, as the Tesco’s saying goes, every little helps…
The Hummingbird Bakery, 405 St John Street, London EC1V 4AB