Surprise! Of The Wrong Kind
I blame the childhood game Pass the Parcel for my love of unwrapping presents. Still today, if anyone mentions the word “parcel”, my mind goes back to happy afternoons, sitting in a circle, surrounded by giggling, wriggling, party-dress-clad friends, as a string-entwined parcel was passed, to the accompaniment of jolly music.
The fun of the game was the anticipation: not knowing, when the music stopped, whether you were going to get just another layer of paper – or the gift. Everyone tried to hold on to it just a little bit longer than they should, in the hope that the music might just stop at that moment.
Today, still, when the postman arrives with a parcel, there’s always a little flutter in my heart. Who’s sent it? Where’s it come from? And what on earth is inside?
Last week a great big box arrived – and for once I was at home, to the postman’s obvious delight – and surprise.
It was pretty heavy, so I hauled it gingerly into my home office and opened the box, then the brown paper parcel inside, and then like the seasoned Pass the Parceller I am, the final gift wrap, and ribbon. Then, sensing I was near the end, I put the gift on the table so I could enjoy the finale.
And there, inside, was the glossiest book I’ve ever seen. It was a giant A3 size and thick. The paper was thick and expensive-looking; some of the pages even folded out into enormous posters.
And what was it about? A spa.
Inside, there were fold-out pictures of saunas. Treatment rooms. A pool. The stone wall beside the steamroom (if you have to fill a book, you need to take shots of everything, right?) And then, near the end, close-up shots of the products they use.
It was, officially, the most pointless book I have ever seen. Not useful. Not interesting. Not even inspirational.
Considering the expense they’ve obviously thrown at the project, there are so many other things they could have done. For instance, created the most beautiful website, and film footage, in which they could have showed off the architecture and site of the spa.
Hired out hotel suites in cities around the world, and made them into pop-up spas, in which travelling therapists could treat journalists and spa specialists.
Sent a box of mini-products to spa editors and travel journalists – with a small glossy brochure explaining the concept.
Let us smell the place, feel it, see it, please. Big glossy photos just don’t cut it.