Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A Shock in Store...

In the age old battle of the sexes there is one major difference, which for me, always stands out. That is the woman’s need, urge and desire to shop.

The word ‘shopping’ is one that is usually met with fear and dread for a man. It isn’t that men don’t like shopping; hell I don’t mind treating myself or others, it is the fact a man usually has a threshold of around 45 minutes of actual shopping pain.

For a man that is enough time to think about what it is you want, go in the direction of that item and pay for that item and be home in time for the afternoon football results. Bish, bash, bosh!

A woman on the other hand will not know what she wants, but know that she needs to go buy it. They set off to the shops, get lost, struggle to park, then spend hours, sometimes days, moving from store to store, trying on every item of clothing and still, occasionally (although rarely), come away having bought bugger all. Or gone for something specific, spent hours in the shops, not actually bought the item she was going for and come home with bags of other crap that wasn’t needed.

I try and do most of my shopping online now. It is simpler, easier and far less stressful. The whole experience of shopping just puts me right off. Especially at this time of year when Christmas is almost upon us and everyone is panic buying or descending all at the same time in the same place.

As you can imagine I have several bug bears when it comes to shopping. This ranges from the people who shop to the actual shop itself.

A few examples are Primark that looks like a jumble sale, everyman for him/her self… Marks and Spencer’s that is full of middle class old people with their food snobbery… Furniture shops that just employ nob head sales assistants who are constantly in your face all the time until you have bought a 3 piece suite that you didn’t need!

I don’t mind catalogue shops, like Argos and Littlewoods, for nostalgic reasons though. As a youngster I was impressed with these magical stores. They provided reams and reams of paper all containing a manner of things, things you didn’t even know existed or think you wanted, but you had to have it. Like an electronic office pitch and putt golf set.

I didn’t have an office, I didn’t play golf, but I had to have one as it returned the ball to you. The magic was there for all to see!

It was a unique experience thumbing through the catalogue as your Mum looked up the vacuum she was after. As a kid you found a catalogue on the counter, shoved your hand to the back and with every ounce of strength lifted the pages, the majority of the book, so that it landed on the back pages. Because as every kid knows the back pages are where the toys are!!

It was a good job the pages were laminated because as a kid you drooled over the latest He-Man figures or Ninja Turtle play sets! Must haves for any aspiring hero child growing up! Oh and just so you know when I played Ninja Turtles with my friends I was always Leonardo! He wore blue, had big fuck off swords and was the leader!

Stores like Argos entertained me as a kid as there was always something to look at, something to do and, in the case of the small pens, something to steal that really wouldn’t be missed!

Other stores do not hold that same love and affection for me though, especially as now I am all grown up… kind of, in actual years anyway, not mentally.

One particular store the very name strikes fear into me. The iconic logo that looks like it is shouting at you. The whole garish colour scheme… Welcome to Hell on Earth… Otherwise known as IKEA!

This is a store I imagine best represents purgatory. I mean any store that gives you a map when you first walk in has to be bad. And yet people flock to this Swedish house of horror for the day out. You walk through one set up after another from kitchens to living rooms to bedrooms and see something that takes your eye…

"I love that bedroom set…"
You muse as you note the numbers down and go see an assistant…

"You will find the bed in aisle 6, shelf 14, the mattress in aisle 56, shelf 12 and the springs in aisle 202,456,001 shelf 1… Please order here and then good luck with finding your way out as you are now doomed to spend eternity wandering from department to department… Muhahahahahaha!!!"

You are handed your print out and realise you were served by Ms. Lucy Fur… have a nice day now!

You wander for days and days, through doors that magically appear and take you to another part of this Narnia hell. These shops are like portals to another realm and exits and entrances disappear at will fucking with your fragile mind.

You see things that you would never be interested in before, but you are that delirious that suddenly it seems a good idea at that point. A knife rack that looks like a man is being stabbed – perfect for the kitchen you think… chocolate soup spoons… towels made out of donkey hair… plastic trays that attach to walls… lamps that look like a monkey’s arse along with the extra bulbs as normal UK bulbs do not work in Swedish house appliances. They all go in the trolley as you do not know if you will find your way back to it so it is best to collect it now…

You get to the warehouse and now have the pleasure of picking your own shit off the shelves – at least at Argos they get it for you! There’s a whole host of different colours and you have to make sure you match what is on your receipt. It is no good getting a brown wood chair and a black ash footstool… There is no turning back if you make this mistake, there is no returns policy as no one wants to go through that again once they get to the end so you make do with mismatched furniture.

By the time you get to the checkout, where you have to queue for a further two days, you have lost 3 stone, can barely stand and have more facial growth than your grandma…

That’s why the evil minds behind IKEA put a food outlet at the exit. They know you have been in the store for that many days and spent that much money on worthless crap that they can squeeze an additional fiver out of you for a hotdog. A hotdog that is full of bits that you wouldn’t feed a dog, but at that moment in time it looks like a gourmet meal!! Everyone comes out of the store thinking it is the best hotdog ever and will tell you so, but that is all part of the plan. The robbing Swedish bastards…

IKEA never leaves you, I mean when you get home you’ve got to build the stuff for a start, but the horrors are engrained in the mind. IKEA still haunts my dreams now and the last time I went was 2007!! I would rather go to Guantanamo Bay prison for a holiday with a t-shirt that says "I’ve shagged your Mum" and take my chances than go back to that store.

Some stores I do not mind at all like supermarkets for the food shop. However the problem with supermarkets is that other people exist. And it is other people that piss me off.

I think there should be some law that is introduced that specifies when people of certain age groups can go shopping – a kind of schedule.

My age group, we’ll call it the 25-35 range, know what they want, zip around the aisles and get the job done. And yes I still ride my trolley down the aisles and skid round corners. I love the wind in my hair and the reckless abandonment it gives me!

Then there’s families, who browse, not sure what they want and have their son/daughter slowly adding to the trolley as they go round to which the parental unit has to empty when he/she is not looking. And the vicious circle here continues and so the pace is much slower and god help you if you get caught behind them.

Finally there is the worst group of people. The OAP’s….

I do not have a problem with old people, but I do get slightly angry at old people in supermarkets. There are several reasons for this.

Firstly, there are tons of them, all shuffling around the planet at a pace slower than the evolution of man. They come out in their big thick coats no matter whether it is 100 degrees outside (I live in the UK, so it is never actually likely to reach that temperature!), their fabric shoes that look like slippers and a pull along shopping bag with a brolly attached (you never know when you may get hit by a sudden shower!).

They do not work during the day as they have served their time and are retired and so have a lot of time on their hands. So why, for the love of god, do they insist on going shopping on days when the actual working population have a day off??? Saturday’s usually, or Friday evenings… They have ALL week, during the day to shop and get whatever biscuits they happen to desire that particular week (Oh, there’s a sale on garibaldi’s).

This then moves into my second issue with OAP’s that shop… They stop! Dead! Right in front of you with no warning whatsoever!! They shuffle along and suddenly change direction and walk across you or stop to look at their watch or have a chat with someone with no consideration for anyone else. Before you know it you are up to your arse in Granny! They call the younger generation rude and inconsiderate, but they are the worst culprits!

I have very nearly clubbed grannies to death with my shopping bags because they have put the brakes on for no apparent reason. They usually stop in door ways too for some inexplicable reason!!

JUST GO SHOPPING ON A TUESDAY MORNING!!!!

It drives me completely insane…

So, whichever government makes it illegal for OAP’s to shop on Saturdays and Friday evenings will get my vote and commitment for life.

And if they do not abide by these rules then they get to spend time in a place far worse than prison or an old people’s home… They are sent to IKEA!