January 1989 was our most successful month ever: we had shut down our showroom network, virtually halved our sales force, and had record sales. We were all very happy, and 10 of us were on the way to Las Vegas a few weeks later.
We boarded the 747 to Las Vegas via Los Angeles, almost the whole plane was full of boxing fans on their way to support the sure to be murdered Frank Bruno. In those days, you could still smoke on planes but you had to use the last compartment of the aircraft. We were all smokers and all in that section, joined temporarily and periodically by all the other smokers on the plane sitting in the non-smoking sections, generally whilst queuing up for the loos in the rear of the plane. The amount of smokiness would be unimaginable today.
Sat next to me was a man from North London; he had never been to Vegas before and was well aware of the unlimited and unrestricted opportunity for engagement with ‘ladies of the night’, indeed the 24 hour ‘ladies’ available in the legal and regulated brothels of Nevada – you could even pay by credit card! He told me he had always been faithful and honest to his wife, but felt the need to tell her that whilst in Vegas he just had to visit the very famous ‘Chicken Shack’; before he could say more she replied: ‘I hope you enjoy it love but watch out for the salmonella!”. He had got his ‘pink ticket’.
INSIGHT 112:- Edwina Currie, Minister for Agriculture at the time, famously had to resign in 1988 for warning about salmonella in eggs and poultry; she very nearly shut down an entire industry, and everybody only cooked their eggs hard boiled or cremated their chicken.