….and another thing.
Supermarkets. It has been slowly dawning on me lately that I am alone. I don’t mean lonely I just mean alone.
When faced with life’s daily absurdities I try to be a good citizen and complain about them. How else will things change?But far too often the staff are sulky and sullen and treat me with thinly disguised passive aggression. I try to elicit support from other customers. Nothing – I’m on my own again. I look at the surprised flat faces of those around me and all I hear is that old comedic refrain in my head, “OK – just me then”
Take supermarkets for example. Why do they continually shift their stock about so that you can never find stuff? I cannot be the only customer wanting to do a quick shop of the “usuals” only to be left stranded in the aisles muttering “Where the f**k have they put them now?” The Suits who run supermarkets have obviously just been on some sort of Course where they learn that to move the stuff around is not irritating at all but very good for business.
The Suits are rarely in store and so it’s the poor shelf stackers who cop it from customers “Oi! You’ve moved the bloody things? They’re usually here. Why do you do that? I mean why? WHY?”. The logic seems to be so that as we search frantically for what we actually want to buy, we will bump into rows of new and exciting products we have never have seen before and buy lots of them. They’re wrong of course because once I know I’m being manipulated my usual reaction is one of quiet fury and resistance. No I don’t buy their exciting and new products. I will shop somewhere else.
And another thing – Winter? When exactly is Winter for retailers? For High Street clothing stores it was clearly last Autumn. When it got very cold recently, in fact when it got freezing cold recently, I wanted a new big winter coat. Did the High Street have one? No they did not. In fact there was nothing for Winter on display at all and it was still January. Everywhere there were the bright Hawaiian colours and displays of summer. The huge hot air heaters were blasting full bore at the front doors but I was surrounded by gondolas of beach shirts and shorts and vests and bikinis and straw hats and thongs. Outside the Council was gritting the road but I had stepped into a Malibu advert.
And as the music of the South Seas wafted across the hum of the central heating, the young assistant was looking at me with complete disdain ““Thermal underwear in February sir? I don’t think so.”
Oh really? And why the hell not? It is Winter and you sell clothes, so sell me some Winter clothes. I asked if they had ever had any Winter clothing for sale. Apparently they did. The end of last Summer.
You go in during July to get stuff for your August holidays and the whole place is full of fleeces, jerseys and trekking boots. The only beach clothes available then were in a basket of remnants from the Summer Sale they had back in April. What the hell is going on here? Clearly the High Streets don’t observe the same seasons as the rest of us. I don’t see why. They come roughly in the same order every year despite the best efforts of global warming.
So I complain. I feel compelled to complain. But I am alone. The other customers sneer at me in bourgeois disgust. They peer at this dreadful man, shivering by the gondola of Hawaiian shirts, who foolishly did not do his winter shopping back in June last year when the shop was packed to the gills with Puffa Jackets and thermal socks.
“But it’s Winter now and I want Winter clothes now” The mob shakes it’s collective head and moves on to buy Flip Flops in February. I leave the store and stand by the council men shovelling snow. I am cold. I am cold and alone. Just me then?….
But I have just bought some sunglasses. They’ll come in handy for snow glare I suppose.