I’m sorry for the lack of posting yesterday, and the late post today. I usually post early on in the day when I haven’t posted the day before, but I haven’t had the opportunity today; I’m sure you survived. It’s kind of surreal to find that you guys are still commenting on and liking my last post – it feels like, for one minute, i’m popular – NEVER…
I had to visit a popular UK sports equipment outlet today, called Sports Direct. For those who don’t know, Sports Direct sells sports clothes, sports equipment, and other outdoorsy things, like coats and trainers. I had to pop in this evening to get a new pair of tracksuit bottoms; my sports team is filming a promotional video this weekend, and I’ve been asked to be involved all weekend. I wanted a new pair of tracksuit bottoms to look nice, because the old ones are falling to pieces.
I just wanted to mention a few things about my experience. First, the sixteen-year-old shop assistants. Come on, we all know the kind I’m talking about: earphones in, chewing gum being chewed [that phrase just sounds wrong], and talking really quickly in chav-speak to the similarly aged assistant next to them. You walk up to them, feeling slightly intimidated, and they do not turn to face you, welcoming smiles [not] plastered all over their faces; this makes things even more awkward. You cough, to try and get their attention, and one looks at you scawnfully, and then turns back to their fellow child – sorry, worker. Tapping them on the shoulder and mumbling “Excuse me, I’m looking for some, er, tracksuit bottoms?”, you dare speak.
“Dere ova dere luv, upstairs ‘n’ on de lef'”
“OK, thank you ever so much, smashing,” you come out with, and suddenly realise you’ve gone about 10 times posher than usual. Why does that happen?
When yu find the product in question, they invariably don’t have your size in stock; you know they don’t before you set foot in the store, let’s be honest. Because you’re trying not to have to re-approach the scary youths, you look for similar clothes in yur size, that will do for what you need them for. Sure enough, you find them just around the corner, at FOUR TIMES THE PRICE OF WHAT YOU WANTED IN THE FIRST PLACE! Sighing, you take the damned trousers, because what else can you do? Sure, there’s online delivery, but the tracksuit bottoms are needed before you reach your grave preferably.
Then, there’s the check-out. The teenage boy in front of you of a similar age to yourself is desperately clutching a rugby shirt, football shorts, a cricket bat, a tennis racket, a hockey stick, a paddle, cycling shorts, a golf club and a pair of squash trainers. as you shake your head at yourself and sigh, thinking that you really should think about taking up more sport, the boy signals to his mum, and rushes off to get a pair of hiking boots. It’s as if he’s read your mind, and is just rubbing it in that you really need to get back into sports full-time. Wiping the tears of despair from your eyes, you approach the cashier, who has a smile on her face. At first, it’s a warm smile, before yu realise what she’s actually thinking is “Thank bloody God; I’ll get my wages now I’ve made a sale”. Thrusting the single pair of tracksuit bottoms at her, she scans them under the super-annoying beepy scanner. who the hell thought that the “beep” was a good idea?
Ten minutes later, when the woman behind the check-out desk has figured out how to use the till [which is worrying considering the shop opened for business 10 hours before, she reads aloud the horrendously expensive price of the item in question. Inserting your credit card, you punch in your four-digit number, which is definitely not 1234, and press that green button. The fact that a stranger might be standing behind you, looking over your shoulder with a hammer over your head is an afterthought, but you check anyway, as if to reassure yourself.
“Please remove your card,” says the woman. Why, could someone tell me, do they say it as if it’s a scripted line? You may as well install a self-voicing card machine and be done with it. She sounds just as bored as those self-service checkouts, and just as inhuman.
Speaking of self-service checkouts, let’s just talk about them quickly. Who came up with that bloody voice on the supermarket ones? It’s like cheerful, and you get to the point where it’s so cheerful it makes you want to murder it, just because a robot is happier than a human. You scan through your shopping, still with the annoying beeps – haven’t we got rid of them yet either? Then, out of nowhere: “UNINENTIFIED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA! UNIDENTIFIED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA!”
ashamed, you peer around, frantically making “shhhhhh” signals at the machine. Then, you examine the bagging area, and realise the error: there must be an air molecule withing sixty metres of the scanner. “Well, I’m dreadfully sorry, machine – is air that much of a problem to you? Some of us need it to breathe, you know. Just because you’re a bloody robot, doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t need to breathe. Or are you going to say that that’s invalid, along with my two-for-one cabbages?” this is when you suddenly notice that you’ve been saying this out loud, increasing in volume with each word. You abandon the shopping – yes, even the cabbages – and hurry out of the shop, head bowed and shoulders hunched. As if mocking you, the self-service machine that you used times out, and announces “Thank you for shopping here today”.
And that, dearest friends, is my experience in a shop. I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope it made up for a missed post yesterday. I’m sure we all feel this way when shopping, right? it can’t just be me…