Friday, 14 December 2007
Ding Dong Merrily on High
At the risk of sounding a bit churlish, I'm going to say what I think;
Every town and city in the land is full of people desperately trying to plunge themselves further into a spiral of debt and despair, to buy unwanted and mostly unnecessary shite for people they don't see or even think about for 11/12ths of the year.
Before you can join the happy throng of miserable geriatrics and yowling screaming snotty fucking kids, you will need to brush up on the old reflexes for the fist fight you'll be having, to secure a parking space in a dimly lit impossible to get-into/out-of concrete communist style bunker called a "Car Park".
Having negotiated this subterranean labyrinth of yuledoom, you will emerge into the fluorescent glare of good will and christian celebration that is the average shopping centre.
The goods in the shop windows will trick you.They don't have these shiny things in the shop, they sold out weeks ago, but you fought your way in through the temporarily retarded shopping zombies at the door so you buy something, ANYTHING.
Grabbing an item either large/colourful or small/mind numbingly expensive, you head for the till.........."Oh shit", goes the flashing sign behind your eyes, (It's actually your brain stem trying to make you run, but you'll get all Homo Erectus and over-ride it),the queue awaits.
Although constructed of flimsy nylon strapping, the magical forces of the maze mean that it simultaneously lures, hypnotises and stupefies a veritable horde of human life.
It wanders so far round the shop, back and forth, up and down, that it's length is equal to a medieval pilgrimage, which is a good thing because it's a christian festival we are all celebrating. As you are sucked into the open end of this cattle run, you idly wonder why all the people nearest the till are old and have grey beards....even the women......Too late the answer pings into your thumping head; they have been here a long, long time.
Beep, beep, beep, go the tills. four of them........although there only ever three working.....some cash, mostly cards. Forgotten PIN's, faulty cards, sorry we don't take cheques. You know they are doing their best, but couldn't they use BOTH hands ? If the use of chewing gum, and the simultaneous use of brain matter is SO hard, couldn't we lose the gum ?
Are they bovvered ?.........NO.
I understand, I REALLY do, I well remember doing a stint of shelf stacking at a supermarket one Christmas.
On the last Saturday before the big day, I unwittingly entered a duel with the married women of the town in which the shop was located.
Stupidly I imagined I could re-stock the mince pies in Aisle 4, then move on to the rest of the store. I was in the shop for ten hours, I failed to fill those shelves with mince pies.
Thousands of both the own brand and Mr Kipling's finest went onto the shelves, but word had spread. They were burning tyres in the car park to send a signal to their sisters.
Not once could I honestly say that the shelves were 'full'.
I got over it, but I won't be doing retail at Christmas again, ever.
So you get to the till, you brave the blinding glint of the cheap jewelery on the ears of the assistant, your card works, the present goes in a bag, with fifty feet of paper till roll, you swerve and blunder out of the shop, tripping over a stultified married man rocking in the doorway. Solidarity is one thing, but sorry chap, you're on your own today.
Desperate for something to stop the shaking, you head for the coffee shop. Yes, yes, nothing would give you greater pleasure than the mulled-skinny-mincepie-lattechino, with a marzipan float. Just make it hot..........£4.60, lovely old job.
As the trembling subsides, you open the bag to savour your victory........a shiny label glints mocking you in the neck of the present..........SIZE 8 !......but the hangar said size 12, you know it did, you checked twice !