Its fair to say that people in London can be pretty frosty. The most fleeting moment of eye contact is invariably met with visible discomfort of both parties to the point one might even move elsewhere. It was only when I offered a massive bag of crisps I couldn’t finish around a tube carriage one evening that I realised there could be the makings of a fun experiment. Can you win new friends with food and if so, what type is most effective. I’ve included two categories here — fast food vs healthy food.
The former in this instance was represented by the chicken nugget, a classic among the Happy Meal generation. When it comes to your nugs, you can’t be fucking around with Captain Birdseye, we’re trying to win friends here. With that in mind I opted for 20 of Ronald’s finest nuggets. Acting as the ambassador for healthy food was the avocado. Admittedly this was in part a vetting process as I do question the character of person that would choose an avocado over a nugget. If Instagram’s taught me one thing, it’s that people are really into avocados, so it seemed a worthy contender.
Predictably on account of stranger danger, people were a bit reluctant to take food from me which put a bit of a dampener on the experiment. Alex, who politely declined my friendship, summed this up quite neatly: “I want to take the nuggets, because they’re delicious; but from an overbearing Yorkshireman dressed all in black? Too risky”, an attitude echoed by almost everyone that night. After about 20 minutes I’d eaten most of the nuggets and it was then I met Jamie. When I told him he was the only person to take any he quite rightly pointed out that he regularly takes food from strangers but pays them for it.
It’s arguable that you rarely get a feeling that your food might be poisoned if you pay for it which might explain the lack of engagement. At this point, given the dwindling chicken situation and my short attention span I decided to call it a night and gave Jamie the rest of the nuggets and the avocados. I should point out that Jamie is a mate I bumped into while doing this and nobody in their right mind goes rummaging their fingers around in a stranger’s greasy chicken box. Accepting avocados from a guy in the street seems even weirder, such an unnatural transaction. Don’t take food from strangers and if someone does offer it to you, scream “I don’t want your McDruggets”, knock the box from their hand and run away. I’m sure you can win friends with food but this is absolutely not the way to do it.