Please Don’t Make Me – Shopping Gauntlet
I think it’s fair to say that my wife Liz finds it difficult to understand why I absolutely hate going shopping, and judging by the comments of our female friends it appears they suffer the same lack of understanding if not bewilderment at the problem.
Well let me explain and help you to understand.
And please bear with me while I recall my experience from yesterday afternoon.
It started with one of those innocent “will you have time on the way back from your flu jab to call in to Weston Favell?”
For the curious amongst you yes I have reached that age where an annual flu jab, free on the NHS has now become a compulsory outing or as the Government now refers to it as ‘another bloody crinkly who has damn well survived the year.’
Anyway back to the shopping question.
For the uninformed who don’t know the area where we currently live the Weston Favell Centre is a multi-store shopping centre to the East of Northampton.
To those who have been in a relationship for a long time you’ll understand that it was one of those say “YES” or face the consequences of saying ‘NO’ to a question in which the decision was already a foregone conclusion.
So off I dutifully went with a list of what I was to buy and strict instructions not to deviate from the list, which incidentally comprised of the essentials that we had run out or were very close to running out of bread, butter, kitchen rolls, cat food, dog treats, poo bags and the warning don’t forget the gin and tonic.
OK so we like an ocean-going gin and tonic at the end of each day, so bring in the health police if you dare.
Now for me shopping is simple, you get a list, go to a shop, choose the items, pay for them and go home.
So my question is this,
“When did it turn into having to run a traders gauntlet?”
Let me explain.
The first thing I was confronted with before even entering the shop where I intended to buy my items was an approach from a smartly dressed man asking me if I had time to discuss whether I was interested in double glazing or even a conservatory.
Being British of course I politely declined.
The question is at what stage would anyone say “I think I’ll just pop out and buy some bread and butter” and then add, “Oh by the way while I’m there I might get a conservatory and double glazing.”
Who does that?
I accept it must work or why would companies do it, but for heavens’ sake, it wasn’t on the list, not even as an afterthought in the same way that ‘chocolate’ sometimes appears added to the bottom.
Of the list that is, not the bottom as in ….
Well you know what I mean.
Anyway having achieved the aim of the exercise in good time-honoured military fashion I then faced the problem of having to get to the car with my items.
The next trader who clearly thought I met the companies demographic profile was a young, it just so happens that everyone appears young nowadays, very attractive woman who opened her sales pitch with,
“Good afternoon Sir would you like help to give up smoking?”
Firstly, well done for the polite “Good afternoon Sir”, though every time anyone calls me Sir I’m reminded of the line in a film whose name I have forgotten “Don’t call me sir, I work for a living”
Only I don’t because I’m now retired
Secondly, I don’t smoke so it was a little presumptuous to say the least. Anyway the sales pitch was for e-cigarettes whatever they might be, so once again,
“No thank you” with the added rider “I don’t smoke”
I hope she felt suitably embarrassed but doubt it and anyway she has to earn a living so fair play.
And finally just when I thought I’d run the gauntlet I was asked if I would like to join the AA.
Now AA in this case is the Automobile Association and not Alcoholics Anonymous which given my mood at the time and the fact that I had a litre bottle of gin in my bags was looking very inviting.
Until that is I passed a Combat Stress table which for those who don’t know is a fantastic organisation that works with and provides support to ex-service personnel who are suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorders.
Perhaps even more importantly they also support the families of those suffering from PTSD.
Have you time to talk about ……..
Of course I have.
And so the shopping was over, I safely reached home and decided the only cure for Post Shopping Stress Trauma was a gin and tonic.
Now I know Liz likes to wander and browse through shops not necessarily to buy but just to see what’s out there.
I know her friends like to do the same, and together they enjoy it and partake of coffee and lunch at the same time, in fact it can be a whole day outing.
But please try to understand
I don’t mind going to buy something which I have already before leaving the house decided to buy, but shopping is a whole different beast and traumatized me because of the gauntlet of traders I face on the way to, in and from the shops.
If my women friends don’t understand it then it is because they aren’t me and if I have to go with you, please find a ‘man crèche’ to drop me off at and just collect me on the way home.
I promise to behave….
I’ll even pay for the coffee and lunch……