Saturday, 3 July 2010

Retail Therapist

Shopping. Sigh. It can be such an enjoyable past time if done correctly. I’m not talking about grocery shopping – I gave that up about 18 months ago and turned to the Internet. Normally I am satisfied with what is delivered to my door. Okay, so occasionally a pair of chicken breasts in a pack look like one has come from a pigeon and one from an ostrich, but usually they do a good job. Although this week the packers seemed to have been taking out England’s embarrassing retreat from South Africa on a carton of cranberry juice and a packet of jumbo snack-a-jacks. Hmm. I pray that this is a temporary blip in service and I do not feel forced to return to my local supermarket and face the Saturday morning mob in Morrison’s.
Today Him Indoors woke up with man flu, leaving our plans to go to the cinema and out for dinner postponed until he feels fit again. So, left in the lurch I decided to head down to Angel anyway for a spot of light shopping. After printing about 150 photos I had taken over the last three years and forgotten about, I needed a photo album. I also wanted to take advantage of the Body Shop’s sale and pop into Jessop’s to investigate digital cameras. So I jumped on the 43 bus with my book and headed over to N1.
However, even “leisure” shopping can be hazardous in this town. Even before you even get into a shop you have to negotiate the pedestrian traffic. The rise of the I phone, Blackberry and other such fandangled phones has created a real problem. In the same way that drivers are considered unsafe if they are playing with their gadgets whilst on the move, I truly believe pedestrians should be treated the same way. Okay, if you can walk and talk, that is fine. My problem is with those people who reduce the flow of traffic to a crawl as they block a pavement walking at a snails’ pace whilst they update their Facebook status. I like to think that if I need to concentrate on something to the point that I can no longer multi task that I will retreat to the hard shoulder of the path until I have my attention on the road once more. It’s quite obvious really – if you needed to read a map in your car you wouldn’t hang about in the fast lane of the M25 at 30 miles an hour, would you?
Then there’s the small issue of carrier bags. Wherever possible I carry cotton shoppers to place my purchases in. I don’t claim to be an eco warrior, but the sheer amount of plastic bags that you can go through on a shopping trip triggers my green guilt more than when Tesco have sold out of free range chicken and I end up opting for battery reared meat. I know, Jamie would be mortified.
Today I took a large shopper out with me to meet all my needs. However this did not stop shop keepers from shoving my purchases into a plastic version before I could protest. In Boots I bought dental floss and some flu tablets for Him Indoors. The assistant looked bemused when I took them out of the bag on the counter and dropped them into mine. Monsoon also seemed confused when I announced I didn’t feel the need for a separate bag for two hair bands. The assistant looked at me with concern. “Are you sure?”
Okay, so I’ll let Paperchase off. It was a large photo album. But no match for the sac on my shoulder. Full marks to the Body Shop for actually asking me if I wanted one for the single tub of body butter I had selected. However marks deducted for asking me a million questions before letting me pay for my goods. No I don’t need anything else or I would have brought something else over to the till. No I don’t have a loyalty card. No I don’t need one. Why? Because it will just be another piece of rubbish to carry around in my wallet that I will never use because I only buy stuff from your store when it’s in the sale. Now please can I pay for my body butter and go home?
But it could have been worse. I could have needed clothes, which usually means a trip to Oxford Street. The above times twenty plus a plethora of tourists does not make Shelly a happy shopper. And to think people come to London for the day specifically for the experience. Give me Nottingham city centre any day. Although I think even Up North they champion the plastic bag still. But at least they do it with a smile on their face.

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