Happy to Help

At some point I’m going to have to do it. I can’t put it off for much longer. Everyone else is involved and I’ll get dragged along with the crowd sooner or later…

Christmas shopping.

Someone with superior organisational skills than my own would have saved all the hassle of actually going into real shops by harnessing the power of IT now that all our computers are so nicely joined up in the Digital Daisy Chain. Thanks to Amazon, eBay and so on, it’s easy. “Click and It Shall be Given Unto You”.
I have, however, left it too late yet again, so this means I’m going to have to go shopping. I really, really don’t like shopping.

I seem to attract the generally suspicious type of shop assistant, one that won’t leave me alone until I’ve either made a purchase or left the shop.

It is in shops selling expensive goods, like mobile phones, designer clothes or watches, that I tend to attract suspicion. I admit that it might have something to do with the fact that I’m a bit scruffy, and given the festive panic I will probably enter the shop quietly muttering dark sentiments that wouldn’t look out of place in a Dickens novel.
I enter the shop and Carol, or Tracy, will fix me with A Look. These people are in customer service, although it seems that “the customer is always right” could do with a footnote: “and remember, only human like you.”
A split-second judgement is all it takes. Of course I’m going to steal something, I’ve got two days’ worth of stubble. Goodbye Scotland Yard, hello H Samuel Hit Squad. I am followed over every square inch, pestered with pointless questions such as “What sort of style did you have in mind?” Heck, if I could answer that one, I’d be in and out of here like a shot. I don’t have a clue, and which is precisely why I’m wandering around aimlessly.
I try as politely as possible to hint that making a decision is that little bit more difficult when you can hear the “assistant” breathing through her nose. Coming from two feet away, Carol’s perfume makes my eyes water. Pick anything up for inspection, and the free audio commentary begins: “Those chocolates are twenty pounds. The gold box above you is a bit more, it’s ninety-nine ninety-nine.” Thanks for that. I’d have thought the absence of white stick and dog would be enough to reveal that I’m not, in fact, blind.

Eventually the pressure gets to much, I buy a Terry’s Chocolate Orange for the fifth year running and make a swift exit. It’s the thought that counts.