Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Little Mug Adventure

Yesterday Mrs. Andrew charged me with the difficult task of going into town to buy some new mugs to replenish our ailing collection. - Unsupervised! A simple task, you might think, but having never gone on a 'mug run' before, I was suitably terrified and failed to think of a single shop where I might buy an appropriate set of mugs - and by appropriate I mean not inscribed with the name of a band, film, computer game or novelty map of Norfolk.

After several short and productive hours of wandering round, eliminating HMV, Virgin Megastores, Game and the Hifi section of Dixons as potential stockists, I hit upon the answer - the department stores!

With some trepidation, I made my way through the nearest, Jarrolds, which as far as I can tell, is pan-dimensional. It has no end. Finding a mug in that place is like hunting the Blair Witch; similar-looking-department after similar-looking-department, if you were going round in circles, you wouldn't know it. You soon become aware that it's not really you in control at all and the feeling that something terrible is about to happen follows you everywhere. It just grows and grows... until it happens!
GRANNIES BUYING LINGERIE!!! ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGH!!!! I ran and ran, I don't know how long I'd been running, it could've minutes, hours, even days. I stopped for breath and found myself standing in front exactly what I needed; no, not the terrified pensioner pleadingly offering me her purse; it was the mug

I started looking through, most were hideously floral, designed to go with a Scottish terrier in a
tartan body warmer and those that were mildly agreeable I could envisage Mrs. Andrew telling me off for buying because they didn’t go with the kettle. All very stressful.
What’s worse is I couldn’t find one that cost less than five pounds. I don’t care how long I’d been in there, I'm not paying a fiver for a sodding mug, I'd sooner drink scolding hot tea from my cupped palms.

Debenhams and John Lewis followed to no avail, by the time I got to Marks and Spencer my patience and
optimism were waining, but fortunately I was, by then, a mug-hunting pro. Straight to the store directory, homewares – basement, straight down the stairs, deftly avoiding the leak-absorbent lingerie department.

My militant focus and efficiency and, who knows, possibly my age, caught the attention of a 70 year old shop assistant, suspicious of my activities. She followed me down to homewares.

When I was a student and I had long hair and scruffy attire, I accepted that I looked not unlike a bespeckled Fagin without the singing voice and I would probably have followed me round Morrisons too.
But these days, with my ill-chosen Next wardrobe, side-parted short hair and Pret a Manger coffee cup in hand, it’s a yuppie Richie Cunningham I see when I brush my teeth in the morning. Certainly not the sort of young nerd you’d expect to be lightening his fingers in M&S.
Doris (or possibly Enid) thought differently. As I perused the mug selection, she kept doing the old “I’m adjusting the position of items on the shelves near you, so please leave you dirty crook.” to which I’d become so accustomed years before. Very intimidating.

It’s no wonder Marks and Spencer are struggling, here they are, the latest craze sweeping their ever-faithful customer base – death – costing them dearly, you’d think the 20-35 year old young professional demographic would be just the sort of people they’d want to attract, but no, as far as they’re concerned, the young folk of today have no respect and are out to pocket whatever they can. If they come here, stare at them until they explode.

The worst thing is, I had to buy some mugs then, because otherwise Doris would assume that I was in fact a filthy shoplifter and she’d foiled my plot, perpetuating the stereotype that all people who look like characters from Happy Days are criminals.

Fortunately I found some plain ones for a pound each that Mrs. Andrew couldn’t tell me off for buying because they are plain, and thus inoffensive.

Ha! That showed the both of them.

I win.


At 9:20 pm, Anonymous Laura said...

That shows you. Nothing beats plainness.
You were obviously not plain enough.

Having said that, going naked the next time would be the ultimate in human plainness but somehow I don't think Enid (I prefer Enid) would agree.

You can't win...?

At 8:58 am, Blogger Babs said...

No K-mart there then, huh??

At 9:55 pm, Blogger Mr. Andrew said...

Oh yes, there's the out of town supermarkets, but as you can see from the post above, I can't drive to them.

At 6:44 pm, Blogger Trashbinder said...

I sympathise with you. What is it with these assistants? Whilst they are busily following upstanding (ahem) people such as yourself, the real thieves are making off with the merchandise.

I can recall one such assistant in Woolworths who was trying to make it obvious that she was 'onto my game', except that instead of shoplifting I was just being incredibly retarded at choosing Christmas gifts and kept picking things up and putting them back.

In the end I politely said to her 'I am glad I am giving you some vocational purpose here, but I really am not the thieving kind'

This didn't deter Gestapo Girl and she supervised me until I had a receipt in my hand. Bitch.

Have never bought anything from Woolworths again either. Which is a typical family trait, as we are all complaining bastards that never forgive retailers for making mistakes.

At 2:45 pm, Blogger Mr. Andrew said...

Damn straight.

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