It’s time someone said it, Greggs is average and only loved by southerners
It’s fetishised by soft southerners regardless of its shortcomings
In what often feels like a world of endless excitement, a world where an egg gets 28 million Instagram likes, some things in life are neither here nor there. They exist, but don't excite; serve a purpose, but don't speed up pulses. One of these things is Greggs.
Now, I am aware that just typing those words will anger many of Greggs' varied customer base. From Gaz, 55, who wants his pastries almost as hard as his Brexit, to vegan students, newly converted by the latest offering from Britain's most popular bakery.
But I've never been sold on it. More than that, I think Greggs is actually quite overrated. However, I am a man of reason, so I took one final trip to Greggs, happy to be proven wrong. But I wasn't.
Take the time to consider my arguments and, if you hate the article that much, the best way to demonstrate this is to buy me a Greggs, but I can't promise it will change my mind.
Southerners love it, but the rest of us know there’s better options
Like Prosecco and fox hunting, Greggs is fetishised by southerners regardless of its shortcomings. If you’re from the north or even the Midlands, and know a good baked good, you'll know there are far superior options to Greggs. These include Poundbakery, which literally does what it says on the shop front, and the East Midlands’ finest, Birds. Have a Birds sausage cob and tell me that anything at Greggs is better. Go on, the whole of Notts and Derby dare you.
Steak bakes do not deserve their reputation
It's just bits of steak in pastry isn't it. Disappointing steak, and average pastry. While it may be a treat for the easily impressed, the humble steak bake is just underwhelming bits of steak in pastry for the rest of us.
There's no atmosphere and basically no chance of a seat
Literally none. No music playing, no conversation among those who were lucky enough to get one of the four seats. While it may be very 21st century, what with no one talking to each other and all that, it doesn't do the whole Greggs experience any favours.
On my last trip to Greggs, there were four seats in the whole place. Four. All taken up. So much for sitting down and taking the time to try and enjoy the baked goods on offer. You would have thought Greggs would expand the seating arrangements. One of my attempted trips there was abandoned altogether due to lack of seating, with only Costa providing some respite.
The pizza is the definition of mediocre
If I was to compare the slice of "pizza" I had at Greggs to something, it would be your least favourite ITV game show Tipping Point.
No one actually likes Tipping Point. Not even anyone involved in Tipping Point even and especially host Ben Shepherd. The whole thing serves a purpose for a short while, then life goes on. As if it never happened. The same can be said of Greggs' pizza, which tastes like existential dread.
Just as Tipping Point pales compared to actual game shows, the pizza at Greggs pales compared to actual pizza. The thing tastes like it's been in a fridge for ages. I bet it's made by the same people who put the milk in first when they make a cup of tea. Avoid, especially if – like me – you're more used to Michelin-starred, specialist Italian food outlets, such as Pizza Hut.
Greggs can't deliver on the social media hype
These days, you can't log on to any social media channel without someone praising the recently announced vegan sausage roll. Apparently it's here to save 2019, and anything which leads to an extended Piers Morgan tantrum on Twitter can only be a good thing.
I went to Greggs at just before two o'clock and you'd think after the lunchtime rush things might be restocked, or they would have ordered in plenty of a popular product. Alas, not a vegan sausage roll in sight, just the less ethical, and oh-so-last-year, meaty bois.
It's a simple case of supply and demand, lads. Did GCSE Business Studies teach you nothing? (In fairness, my GCSE Business lessons mostly involved watching The Office, back when Ricky Gervais could be tolerated for more than a second).
I was buzzing to feel like a morally good person with my vegan sausage roll and test out the hype. But no dice.
The only silver lining is the sausage roll
With no vegan sausage rolls on offer I accepted defeat and bought myself a meat sausage roll. Who knows which parts of an animal go into them. I don't, nor am I sure I want to.
That said, the sausage roll was the best of the items I tried during my ill-fated trip to Greggs.
It was a bit flaky, and the pastry a little too thin, but all things considered it was a decent sausage roll. Nothing special, much like Greggs itself, but decent.
Perhaps the continued popularity of Greggs shows we have all stopped striving for anything special. Maybe it's a sign we have subconsciously given up, lowered our standards, resigned ourselves to the mediocre.
Or maybe they just sell a decent sausage roll and that's it.