Magazine article The Spectator

Broken Trust

Magazine article The Spectator

Broken Trust

Article excerpt

'You can't get better than a KwikFit fitter. We're the boys to trust!'

I remember the TV advert well.

When I was a child, the sight of the dancing men in blue overalls made me look forward to being old enough to drive a car so I could go to the cheerful cockney geezers to get my flat tyres seen to. A sequence featuring a boy in blue twirling a young girl around the depot floor particularly convinced me of the essential goodness of this organisation. The lyrics were stirring stuff (I'm not so sad that I remember them; I looked up the advert on YouTube): 'Every Kwik-Fit fitter has to go to school, we teach them all they need to know, each little golden rule . . . So drive on down to Kwik-Fit, we'll weigh in just for you, every product's guaranteed, you'll love their prices too! You can't get better than a KwikFit fitter . . . ' And so on, with much 'Knees Up Mother Brown' dancing. It warms the heart and makes you proud to be British.

Oh, I know that adverts put a gloss on things, but there was something especially romantic about the Kwik-Fit spiel. The idea that in every town and city in this gloomy and unreliable world there were cheerful, dependable blokes straining at the leash to change the flat tyres of the little Fiats and Peugeots of shy girls in A-line skirts was very seductive. I wanted to believe it when I was young and I still wanted to believe it as I pulled into Kwik-Fit a few days ago with a flat.

I was a bit crestfallen when I was greeted at reception by a monosyllabic grunt from a man who, while wearing blue overalls, seemed not to possess the power of speech, never mind the verve to do a line dance.

'I've got a flat tyre, ' I said. 'Uh?' he said.

'Flat tyre, ' I said slowly. Nothing. But then a cheerful cockney geezer standing at the till piped up sarcastically, 'You know, mate - tyres, it's what we do.' And he chuckled.

This was more like it. 'Exactly!' I chuckled back. 'I've come to Kwik-Fit because it's the place for tyres.' I actually said those words, jauntily, which gives you some idea of how in thrall I was to the whole 'can't get better' concept.

Before not too long, three of my worn tyres were being replaced with a comforting amount of industry and speed while I sat reading 'The Kwik-Fit Code' on the wall. …

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