Penny for your thoughts

Do we spend enough time thinking? Do we spend enough – as a marketing community – on rewarding thinking? Do we actually value thinking and give it the respect it deserves? Or have we become a click and move on society, obsessed by action, and careless of planning and using our brains to think through problems and create opportunities?

We certainly value ideas, and the companies who come up with them. Today I was lucky enough to be the lunch guest of two of these clever people in a delightful pub in Richmond, and benefited from their lateral thinking. I should mention for the benefit of the Hercule Poirots amongst you, that we were three, sitting at a table for four.

I’m a steak kind of guy, but not a chip chap. The fries went out of the window along with the beer in my last vain attempt to become svelte. ‘Can I have a rare steak please’, I asked the attentive waiter, ‘but with mash instead of chips’. I had spotted that the exotic sausage option came with mash. He said he had to ask the chef and rushed off. Soon he was back, but with a discouraging message. ‘No’, he said, ‘only chips today’. ‘But some of the other dishes come with mash’, I pleaded. ‘I have no power over HIM’, the waiter said in a fair imitation of Manuel talking about Terry, ‘would you like green beans instead?’

And there it probably would have stayed if my companions the quality thinkers hadn’t thought out of the box. ‘We’ll also have the sausages and mash’, said my host. ‘Who for?’ asked the waiter, ‘our colleague’, said my friend, pointing to the spare place setting, ‘he’ll be here soon’. So it came to pass that I was able to add a capital portion of mash to my succulent steak, thanks to the house rule that mash is OK with bangers, but verboten with steak. How good it tasted. Almost like the first white truffles of the season.

That’s the power of thinking for you.