It’s easier to have a burger in Warsaw than it is to make a phone call, a designer discovered.
According to Andrew Brian, managing director of Stevenage consultancy Level Six Design, there are only three public callboxes in the whole of the Polish capital. But there are five branches of McDonalds.
And he has this on good authority – from leaflets in Warsaw’s Intercontinental Victoria hotel, where he stayed on a recent business trip.
“I really wanted to phone my wife,” laments Brian. He eventually found one at the airport en route to home, which “didn’t look anything like a phone, it was more like a vending machine for chocolate with a weird green handle thing on the side”.
The instructions were no help. Brian failed to insert his zloty and went in frustration to the airport post office. “The woman behind the counter dialled for me. I wondered if she’d pass the phone under the barrier, but she put me through to one on the airport wall which was obviously reserved for officials. It was weird,” he says.
To ground himself, Brian sampled a pint of John Bull in a pub named The John Bull, which he was amazed to discover at the end of a twisting labyrinth of empty galleries. The beer unfortunately “tasted like piss”.