Well I say Christmas shopping, it was more caught up in the madness of Christmas shopping. Because we are moving to Northamptonshire and buying a ‘new build’ my wife is under the impression that my pension is a disposable income for everything new ! New fridge freezer, new washing machine, black in colour to match the kitchen units – apparently black is the new silver which makes white ‘so last decade’ ! To a typical bloke so long as it washes your clothes and keeps things cold I don’t really care. Anyway to go with the new beds and appliances, all of which have been ordered and delivered you also must have new light pendants I was told. But of course was my reaction so last night and for about three hours Sue had her head buried in the laptop ordering these lights from Argos.
To my horror Sue informed me that she had managed to reserve from the Argos in ……………. Lakeside. When she kindly informed me my first reaction was “I’ve got to endure Lakeside at this time of year for some bloody lights” ! Sue reassuring me responded “It wont be busy if we go early and it’s only just through the tunnel” My reaction to that was “It’s Essex though”………
Anyway as is the norm Sue prevailed and off we set just after nine o’clock this morning – Monday 28th November with me trying to convince myself by thinking “Well it can’t be that busy, it’s only November” – famous last words and a forlorn hope, as I was to find out.
Now I am not a snob…………..well to be honest yes I am ! I think nearly twenty years of dealing predominantly with the lower echelons of life have made me that way. Having on numerous occasions entering someones house and thinking that someone has died there because the stench was so bad, only to find the occupiers had some trivial matter to report, generally only wanting a crime reference number for the council and then having finished with them and wiping my feet after I had left the house to rid myself of whatever had been deposited on their carpet over the years of non-vacuum cleaning have left an indelible mark on me.
Whenever I have to go to places like Lakeside or Bluewater I spend my time people watching, looking on aghast at people who clearly have never paid national insurance or what the rest of call income tax and probably never will. I have a kind of strange fixation watching young single mothers feeding McDonald’s to their one year old son or daughter. Or the classic which I saw the other day, a young child of about four running amok in a shop, shouting and screaming, almost climbing the walls of the shop and his father shouting at him “Levi why the f%$k you being like this, I’ve bought you some sweets”. Obviously my thoughts were “It’s because you gave him the sweets man, use your brain”
To add to the strange pleasure of watching these people is listening to what the vocabulary is. Words they use never cease to amuse me. Terminology such as “Alright boy” “Alright bro” “Know what I mean” – that is added onto the end of each sentence, “init”, “end of” and usually spoken in a strange dialect that is a cross between cockney and Jamaican.
So you can kind of see why I don’t like these places !
Anyway to get back to my shopping experience, we arrive at Lakeside at opening time having had no problems in getting through Dartf Tunnel and thinking this wont be too bad then, finding a paking space without a hitch and with enough room for me to struggle out of the passenger seat without other people staring. Then it started, with so many spaces to choose but yes you’ve guessed it a car parks one space away from us and out gets a lad wearing his best grey jogging bottoms and yellow trainers and would you believe ………….no not a coat in November but yes …a VEST ! To compound my bewilderment he was holding a Big Mac in one hand and in the other a large McDonalds bag containing even more food for him to scoff at nine thirty in the morning ! With a mouth full of food he then turns to a young female who had just got a eight or nine month old out from the back of their ‘G’ Reg Fiesta, with no sign of any child seat in it……and said to her “‘urry up girl, I dont wanna be ‘ere that long, know what I mean” ! The young ‘lady’ concerned – I don’t think we will call her his wife ……. responds with “I wanna f%$king look in Primark though Micky”
Trying not to a) enlightening him on the rather important subject of putting his young daughter in an appropriate fitting car seat and b) trying not to stare at him and c) trying not to laugh we watched these upstanding members of Essex society walk away towards Primark this time with the ‘gentleman’ holding a milkshake, but still arguing amongst themselves.
Not being able to put it off any longer we made our way into the shopping centre, my wife thinking that I was dragging my heels but actually it was not one of my better walking days – quite conveinient I was thinking until I got into the shopping centre itself. Once inside how I wished that I was the Chris of old, so I could do the ‘lets just get round quickly and go’ thing.
What I found was people walking infront of you and then stopping so they were directly infront of you without any ackowledgement that they may have caused you some inconveinience as I try to stop walking into the back of them. Wouldn’t it be nice if these people who are so wrapped up in their own world only knew the effort that you had had to make in not staggering into the back of them. But what do they care, they are doing what they want and to hell with the rest of us.
We then make it out of the first shop…….and into the main thoroughfare and into what seems a million people, all walking across your path or so close behing you that you can hear them tutting as you hold them up. As I constantly say to Sue these type of people must be so busy in life that they have to do everything at a hundred miles an hour….life really is too short.
After about ten minutes of slowly navigating my way through hoards of people we arrive at Argos where I find the sanctuary of a chair to sit down on !! whilst Sue puts the order through. We then sit and wait watching every other number other than 171 – ours getting the ‘ready to collect’ status. I asked Sue why our order wasn’t progressing and I was told “Well it’s because it is a big order” “How big” I said, “Thirteen items” was the reply followed by “I don’t know how we are going to get them back to the car” Bloody great I thought, we’re going to have to stop and make ‘base camp’ somewhere on the way back !!
My fingers are really hurting now so I’ll wrap this up quickly !! Anyway fighting our way through the crowds holding four carrier bags each and wishing I had a flag to hold up with the words OUT OF MY WAY I’VE GOT PARKINSONS on it we eventually reached our car. Nothing parked near to it, great I can ease myself into it without making a fool of myself I thought but to my utter bewilderment and to top the whole experiance off, next to our car and exactly where the red Fiesta had been was…………………..an empty McDonalds bag and a yellow stained used nappy on the ground and to top it all – the Fiesta had clearly driven over the nappy splitting it in half and depositing the inside of it across the car park !!!!
Now what do you think, am I a snob and are you !!!!!
See you next time