22 August 2002 | Robin Parker
A job advertised as "the best in the world" has attracted more than 2,000 applications in a fortnight.
This may not be surprising, as it was a full-time position touring Europe to buy chocolate for one of London's poshest stores.
Fortnum & Mason received more than 100 applications a day for the £35,000 post after it was advertised in the national press.
A spokeswoman for the Piccadilly department store said she was "astonished" by the number of applicants.
People applying had included an eight-year-old child and a 78-year-old man. Vets, funeral directors, artists, engineers and accountants were also among the hopefuls.
"It seems that everyone loves chocolate," she said.
Whoever gets the job is likely to be very happy if history is anything to go by. The last chocolate buyer was in the role for nearly 14 years.
The successful applicant will travel throughout Europe to maintain and develop relationships with chocolate suppliers to source new ranges for the retailer's prestigious food hall.
They will also have full budgetary control of the department, which has a £3 million annual turnover.
In the advert, the job specification said a love of chocolate was as important as the ability to control stock levels, pinpoint best-sellers and deal with Fortnum & Mason's 39 suppliers, four of whom are exclusive to the company.