A while ago GO Outdoors in Milton Keynes had a small flammable problem and had to shut up shop for a while. They maintained a temporary residence over the road but it was only to buy them enough time to give the original site a top-to-toe DIY Big Build style make over. The manager Oliver and the team invited a few of us unelected guardians of the public zeitgeist (or bloggers if you want to get specific about it) over on opening week to have a nosy around, see what we thought and put a few tweets their way. But while I was getting round to answering the PR request to say yes, the kicker came in – would I also like 100 quid to buy anything I wanted from the store while I was there?! Umm, yes. Yes I would.
To put my cards on the table here, I already loved GO Outdoors and I’ve already bought loads of stuff from them before – I can’t seem to leave the shop without another head torch and my house (or more specifically, garage) is already bulging with their previous stock. So with my imagination swimming with the kind of torch I was going to get my hands on, I pulled in to the newly extended car park.
Stephanie and Oliver were on hand to take Mrs P and I through the changes and quite apart from the cosmetic differences; changes in the tills, more shelf space, better clothing and shoe selections etc, there were also more practical improvements. Anyone who had been to the old store knew that while you were up in the mezzanine, unless you were wearing shorts made of pure glacial wind, your own cave of discovery could get hot enough to cook a boil-in-the-bag chili and rice if you weren’t careful. But thankfully, due to some super new state of the art air conditioning technology, you’ll now remain as cool as the proverbial cucumber as you work your way around my favourite section: camping.
The selection in the new store is just as you would expect but just more so. More sleeping bags, more waterproof coats and even more specialist out door pursuits like finishing, riding and climbing. If you look at the camping department of my garage you’ll see that GO Outdoors stock some good value stuff and there isn’t too much they haven’t got. So I knew all of that but it’s the time I spent with the team when I was there that told me something I didn’t know; these guys really know what they’re talking about. The staff allocated to each section actually do the sport or hobby that they are talking about. The models in the brochures? Most of them are actual employees and their families.
And it was that community that handed me my choice of the best use of £100. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Cobb Pro BBQ. Apparently the GO Outdoors staff bulletin boards are awash with this thing and for a man for whom alfresco dining starts and ends with BBQ, there was no other choice.
Rest assured that there will be plenty of opportunity to use this bad boy and I feel a full outdoor cooking cook off coming on – you guys will be the first to know how that goes. If you’ve got a Cobb and love/hate it, or if you’ve got some tips and recipes for me then get in touch – if we use them, we’ll stick them on the blog.
Time to GO Outdoors
Going to work is rubbish and most of us use GO Outdoors to escape from that seeming never ending drudge, so the fact that these guys seem so genuinely enthusiastic is great and gives me permission to dream of running away from spreadsheets and Powerpoint hell that is my normal life. I salute you all.