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15 December 2013

The O2, confectionery and tube signage

I went to the O2 on Thursday to take some things in preparation for my stall at Handmade Christmas. I am still there today.
Amelia, not Amilia!
I hadn't entered the venue since October 2000 when it was called the Millennium Dome and packed full of fantastic and interesting things that, for some reason, the press panned. I loved it on the day I went there and I wish I'd gone back again for a 2nd and 3rd visit to be able to see all the zones I hadn't managed to get into on that exhausting but enjoyable day. 
Anyway, it's now called the O2 because a phone company owns it and it has been refitted as a live events arena and exhibition space. But, of course, you knew that.
So I was surprised that on entering the building this week that my immediate reaction was favourable. I liked the way they'd used the space. But I didn't really study what was on offer in the shops to my left and right cos I was in a hurry to dump off my stuff. Let's just say it was better than Westfield Stratford.
On the way back I carefully scanned to shops because with all that exertion I was in need of a Picnic, my chocolate bar of choice.
But, I'd walked past what turned out to be the only convenience store and, with just one exception (a South American place I didn't recognise), I could only see big brand chain restaurants all the way along the street from the market area to the exit that leads to Greenwich North tube station. No shops selling useful everyday stuff; just sit down food places and bars. (Yesterday, I was amazed to see there a long queue outside the Harvester. Go figure!)
I asked a security man near the exit where I might buy a bottle of water, some fags, a choc bar, some safety pins and a key ring (I didn't really need all of that, but I was making a point!). He obviously didn't know about the shop inside because he suggested I go to the nearby Tesco's outside the venue. Aaargh!
I gave up and went into the tube station where I found a WHS. Hurrah, I thought; this is the kind of shop I was looking for, and much closer than Tesco's. But I found that a Picnic, usually 69p everywhere else (and I should know, cos I eat enough of the things) was 89p. Eighty-nine pence!!! That's 20p over RRP; a mark up of approx 30 per cent. Who is to blame here? WHS, the O2 or LRT? (I have since discoverd that the convenience store also sells them at this price, though if you buy two it's cheaper.)
I got onto the tube and had to change from Jubilee Line to Northern Line at London Bridge but, having not made this connection in this direction before, I got in a tizzy because I couldn't work out which way to turn. Getting off the train I couldn't see the directional on the wall in front of me because it was blocked by all the other 'customers' so I joined the flow of up a flight of stairs.
At the top of the landing is a backlit BLUE sign that reads "Northern Line". But it's in Piccadilly blue not Northern black. Along the connecting tunnel the signs are on-brand with black lines, so it's not like LRT hadn't half-thought about this. Then, at the end of the tunnel there is a T-junction... Is there a sign ahead to say whether to turn left or right? Nah! But there are lots of people stopping and bumping into each other with other regular commuters who know where they are going, tutting and harrumphing. I chose to turn right and it was correct.
Ah the joys of underground travel. I now fully understand when out-of-towners say hate the tube and find it confusing.
That'll enough!!
I am off back to the O2 now... hope to see you there later.. Find my stall at 292 by turning right as you enter the market – I am on the end of the third row to the right ahead of you. Wrap up warm cos it's an inside/outside space and bring lots of cash!!!

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Thanks, Jane