July 2011


Monday, 18th July - Hanley

pound1115 pound1116

A Voyage Round John Mortimer by Valerie Grove.

1 rock solar light.

2 250g boxes of multi purpose lawn seed.

1 Toy Story mug.



1 pack of 8 Sony AA batteries.

2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.


Rejected Item:

Windtalkers: The Making of the Film About the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II. This was a bloody big book about the 2002 John Woo film, which I might have picked up and had a look at if it wasn’t on the top shelf. I’d already knocked over a pile of plant pots with my umbrella in the Gardening section so I didn’t want to risk a similar accident in the Book section and be ejected from the shop.


1. Car in for a full service and MOT again, so, rather than wander round Hanley for six hours like I usually do, I thought I’d go home on the bus and wait till it was done. I haven’t been on a bus for years so it was quite an adventure. Strange how one gets used to being strapped into a car, so I did have a look round for the seatbelt, but I don’t think anyone noticed my faux pas. I had thought of bringing something to read on the journey, but then decided against it, in order to savour the full effect of the experience. However, as we left the gay metropolis which is Hanley and rolled down the hill to Bucknall we passed the blighted landscape (as featured in a recent edition of Newsnight) where once there stood that ultimate example of the hairdresser’s imagination, “Alias Quiff and Combs” - alas no more - and I turned my head away and shed a bitter tear and cursed the name of the digger-driver who had done the deed, and read all the little notices dotted round the bus telling me what I couldn’t do. I couldn’t smoke of course, but I knew that already, I’m not daft. I also couldn’t eat or play music. Which is fine, since I realised I was on a mode of transport and not in a cafe or a jazz club. I did notice the absence of one sign that used to be displayed back in the days when I was a regular rider of buses - “Spitting Prohibited”. However none of my fellow passengers took advantage of this new-found freedom, and I myself felt no desire to expectorate.

2. In hindsight I should have gone to Poundland in the morning but I didn’t want to endure the pitying glances of people on the bus. So I went in the afternoon before giving all my money to Mr. Kwikfit, and all the good stuff appeared to be gone. At
least, the only DVDs in the shop were those aimed at gypsy folk and fishermen. There did seem to be some new CDs, but there was a man mountain stood in front of them who refused to shift, so in the end I gave up and moved on.

3. I did find the book about John Mortimer though, which was good. I got the Rumpole of the Bailey boxset at Christmas and I really enjoyed watching those again - you never know with old TV series whether they’ll live up to the memories, or whether it’ll become a tedious chore to drag your way through them (turns out I don’t really need all 43 episodes of The Greatest American Hero). But Rumpole was good and they were all written by John Mortimer, so I thought a big book about him might be worth a pound. He always struck me as a nice chap.

4. Gardening Corner:

I bought some more grass seed to fill in the odd patches that I’d missed, or the giant pigeon had eaten. And, since I broke most of the solar lights in the garden when I was demolishing the shed, I thought I’d invest in a few more. I chose the rock light because I thought it might serve as a bit of a conversation piece.
     “I say, that’s an interesting rock you have there in your rockery. Is it mayhap an example of carboniferous calcite from the pre-Cambrian era?”
     “No, Vicar, I got it from Poundland. It is a solar powered light disguised as a rock.”
     “Yes. . . Did you know that spitting is no longer prohibited on omnibuses?”
Something along those lines. However, once out of its box (on the blurb of which it is referred to as a “solar animal”, which is a bit worrying), I was rather disappointed and I doubt very much that it would fool a man of the cloth. What do you think?


Can you spot the solar animal in the rockery?


October 2011


Wednesday, 5th October - Newcastle-under-Lyme

pound1117 pound1118

Transylvania 6-5000 DVD.

8 pairs of Lustro Shoe Laces.

Packet of 3 Walnut Whips.



2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.


Rejected Item:

There was a book, with a foreword by Clare Short, written by soldiers who refused to fight in Iraq. I thought of picking it up and having a look, then realised that their mistake was joining the army in the first place. Once you’ve taken the Queen’s shilling you can’t then expect to choose who you’re going to kill. So, silly buggers really. Or heroes as we’re all supposed to call them now.

There were a lot of copies of Sir Brian Blessed’s King Lear. We watched this the other day. It’s a bit strange. Made for telly with a budget of three and six. And the bit I was waiting for, the ‘blow winds and crack your cheeks’ speech, Sir Brian chooses to do in reflective mood as a voice-over in his head, which is a bit of a swizz. Also, it drags on a bit (three hours and twelve minutes) and I think somebody should point out that Shakespeare was writing for people who’d got nothing better to do all day than sit around watching plays or the occasional Catholic getting hung, drawn and quartered, so he tended to stretch things out a bit so people would get their groat’s worth. I’m not saying he was rubbish, heaven forfend, I just think we should be allowed to say he could be a bit boring at times.


1. It was that wonderful woman, Margaret Thatcher, who once opined that the real point of the Parable of the Good Samaritan was that the Samaritan had money, otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to help the man who fell among thieves. Presumably the other blokes who passed him by were members of the feckless underclass. It is a rather radical reading of the text but I found myself doing good samaritan work today, having to take a relative to hospital, and rather than wait while he had tubes inserted and run the risk of catching summat, I thought I might as well follow in the original’s footsteps and go and spend some money in Poundland. I should say that I didn’t abandon my charge, I went back later and picked him up after having a go on the little track they’ve set up in the hospital where they send you round all the car parks which are always full until you get dizzy and it’s time to go home. They’d changed it round this time so you get to see different bits of the hospital as you motor past. This time I spotted the mortuary where there’s a separate entrance for undertakers - not the sort of thing to inspire confidence in those who’ve come to have tubes inserted, but interesting for the likes of good samaritans like mesen.

2. I hadn’t been to Poundland for a while and so I suppose I was expecting to find a vast cornucopia of rubbish to buy. Instead I got a dvd, walnut whips, lighters and shoelaces. So the Fourth Rule still holds.

3. Transylvania 6-5000 I’ve never seen although it’s one of those titles that I’ve always been aware of. In fact I suspect that the title is probably the best thing about it.

4. I know that walnut whips are no longer the mighty confection of old, they are now minuscule and do not contain the secondary nut in the base. Still they retain that ancient hint of luxury. What larks’ tongues in aspic are to David Cameron, walnut whips are to me.

5. My shoelaces are too long. I don’t know where I found them. They did not come with the shoes, those broke and I replaced them with an old pair I found in a cupboard. These must have been from some mighty seven-league boots since I have to tie a double knot with big loops and even then the ends go dragging on the floor. So I bought some laces from Poundland working on the principle that the man in China will scrimp on his materials and they will be short. They say 60 cm. on the packet but I was brought up in England before the European Parliament changed the rulers so I don’t know what that means. On the other hand if it said so many inches I still wouldn’t be able to work out whether they were the right size once you’ve threaded them through the little holes and tied your knots. There are eight pairs in the packet, and I only have three pairs of shoes, so I’ve got five spares. I will not have to buy shoelaces for many years to come.

Monday, 10th October - Brighton

pound1119 pound1120

The Art of War and The Art of War II: Betrayal DVDs.

Raptor DVD. (“Fear will never be extinct.”)

The Second Front DVD.

Hellraiser DVD.

Children of the Corn DVD.

A 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle



A pack of 4 Halloween-themed refillable electronic lighters.


1. For once I was spoilt for choice in Poundland. No.2 son had told me of the Brighton Poundland’s superior stock of DVDs so, after luncheon I betook myself to that fine emporium to confirm his tale. I could have walked out with armfuls of DVDs but I exercised moderation and only chose those which would add lustre to the big pile on the piano. So, I forewent Hellraisers II and III, since I’m not that big a fan of Mr. Barker’s oeuvre, but I felt I should have a decent copy of the original episode since it is the best and especially since Mr. Pinhead is now mates with No. 1 son. I also forewent many curious items which, in normal circumstances, would have found their way into my basket. There was a film called Dear Wendy which looked intriguing, but when I spotted Lars von Trier’s name in the credits as writer, I put it back on the shelf. After suffering his Dancer in the Dark with Bjork bursting into song whilst being hung, I decided never again to bother with Lars von Trier and all his merry japes, despite being a fan of his earlier work, especially Europa and The Kingdom. Besides, Dear Wendy starred Billy Elliot and I’ve never been a fan. Then there was a Genevieve Bujold thriller which looked like it could be o.k. but could also be a distaff version of a ‘man in a shed’ film. And there was a moonbase film, which I might have given a go had it been in Newcastle Poundland, since I haven’t watched one of those for ages and I feel it’s important to keep up with developments in the rubbish film genres. And there were a couple of women kicking robots or zombies or summat films, but, again, I forewented. Finally there was Black Christmas, which I rejected on the grounds that it isn’t very good, but, on the other hand it would have been useful to have a copy for those occasions when the conversation turns to slasher flicks of the 1970s and someone says John Carpenter’s Halloween kicked off the craze, to which I would reply, “No, Vicar, I’m afraid you are mistaken, it was Bob Clark’s Black Christmas which inaugurated the genre,” whilst pointing to it on the shelf, or, more likely the big pile on the piano.
Still, I did not want to walk to the till with a basket chock-a-block with DVDs lest I give the impression of a man with too much time on his hands, whose only point in life is to fill his head with the imaginings of others. So I left them all, but on my return home, I found, when on my couch I lie, in vacant or in pensive mood, they flashed upon that inward eye which is the bliss of solitude, and then my heart ... I eat some peas ... and dances with the DVDs.

2. So what did I buy? Hellraiser, done that. The Art of War and its belated sequel in a nifty little packet. The Art of War is a really good film, directed by the underrated Christian Duguay (Live Wire, Screamers), whereas The Art of War II: Betrayal is not, since it was made after the taxman started hounding Wesley Snipes and he was forced to make a load of rubbish films. I don’t think it’s fair. It’s not as if he’s Al Capone and that was the only way they could get him for killing all those vampires in the Blade films. Not that it’s his fault they’ve now been fully integrated into the community and can walk round in the daylight getting miserable-looking women to fall in love with them, which you have to admit isn’t much of a profession and doesn’t help the failing economy, whereas the Red Indians when they underwent a similar reappraisal at least turned their hand from basket-weaving and scalping settlers to running casinos, thus creating much needed jobs for croupiers and the like. Hey, Mr. Taxman, if you want to go after somebody, how about Steven Seagal, who has no excuse for his career path.
     Children of the Corn I think I’ve seen and it isn’t much good, but I can’t remember anything about it, so maybe I haven’t, and besides there’s lots of extras on the DVD so, fair enough.
     There’s a picture of Ron Perlman on the cover of The Second Front dressed in Nazi uniform, looking wistfully into the distance, as though he wishes he was in a proper film like Hellboy and not doing a cameo in what, judging by the credits on the back, is some kind of Russian film. I just looked it up on imdb and it is an American/Russian
co-production. I made the mistake of looking at the user review which pops up on the main page. It begins: “Nobody involved in this rubbish should ever be allowed to work in the industry again!” Looking forward to this one then.
     And finally, Raptor, which I knew was rubbish when I bought it, so I don’t have to look it up. One giveaway is the names of Eric Roberts and Corbin Bernsen on the cover - you might as well just put ‘Straight to DVD’ and have done. But it is a ‘Roger Corman Production’, which doesn’t mean that much nowadays, but you have to keep some kind of faith. Judging by the pictures on the back it’s a ‘dinosaur in a shed’ film. I’m beginning to think I should have gone with the Genevieve Bujold.

3. The jigsaw was purchased for the good lady wife’s aged parent who is an
aficionado. Hopefully the picture of Queenstown, New Zealand will appeal; it was either that or a pair of lions. There is a nice variation from the water at the bottom through the greenery, then the mountains and only a thin bit of sky, so it shouldn’t be too difficult. Plus there’s a boat, so that once you’ve got all your side pieces sorted, it’ll be easy enough to find bits of that to get you started. My only concern is that for a jigsaw containing 1,000 pieces, the box is rather small, so I’m hoping the pieces themselves don’t correspond. I would open it up and have a look but it has been “Factory Sealed for Security”, presumably to stop agents of Al-Qaeda stuffing it full of explosives in order to blow up Poundland - the fiends. By the way, those shoelaces I bought from Newcastle Poundland turned out to be not fit for purpose. I was correct in my reasoning, the bloke in China would not make long shoelaces, but I did not follow it to its logical conclusion, that he would make laces fit only for the tiny shoes of homunculi. So now I possess 8 pairs of shoelaces which are too small and three pairs of shoelaces which are too big. It’s like that bit in Goldilocks and the Three Bears where she breaks her shoelace and looks for a new pair to nick then realises bears don’t wear shoes and so the writer cut it out.

4. I saw the packet of four ‘Halloween-themed’ refillable, electronic lighters when I was in Newcastle, but then I needed lighters and was thus not swayed by pretty pictures and false dreams of being able to refill them, so I went for the packs of six. However, after looking at all the Halloween merchandise in Brighton and deciding not to celebrate the season this year, I relented at the till and chucked these in my basket.
     Nearly forgot. While I was upstairs in the Halloween and Gardening department, perusing the horror films, a dead fly suddenly fell at my feet. I thought this a rather exciting interactive marketing technique. Although I’m not sure how far it can be extended beyond the season of the witch. Perhaps snowflakes could fall over the Christmas display, or some kind of infrared heatlamp could be turned on during the summer when someone stops to look at the beach balls, but beyond that I can’t see it catching on among the larger retailers like Mr. Morrison. I’m not sure how it worked. Presumably there was a sensor which triggered the mechanism above which then selected a fly and ejected it into the ether. The sensor would have to be on a pretty sophisticated timer for if it was set off every time someone just wandered past the DVD stand then the floor would be littered with dead flies, which it was not. So the fly would not descend until after the customer (i.e. me) had been standing looking at the DVDs for a fairly long period (which I had been). On the other hand, no scientific method might have been employed at all and it could have just been a Poundland employee in the loft chucking down a dead fly whenever he felt it opportune. A cheaper option, I’m sure. Either way, I thought I should draw attention to Poundland’s advances in the field of advanced customer involvement. I should also point out that all of their stores are now in 3D.

5. My shopping concluded, I thought it best to drop the Poundland bag off in the car since we had an appointment to take high tea with No. 3 son in The Grand Hotel, where he currently holds a position of some importance, and I did not want to be refused admittance. Besides, I already felt like Joe Gargery visiting Pip and I needed no props to aid my characterisation.

November 2011


Friday, 4th November - Hanley

pound112102 pound1122

Kounterfeit DVD.

Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years by Michael Palin.

Mighty Beanz.



2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.

That DVD of Transylvania
which I expected to be a cheap version turned out to be a proper Anchor Bay release complete with a commentary. It was rather good and fully deserves its cult status.


1. Let joy be unconfined and may the Archangel’s trump be heard throughout the land, for Hanley now has the biggest Poundland in the country. Or at least one of the biggest, the one in Norwich is pretty big and the Brighton one has an upstairs. Anyway, the new Poundland is in Market Square opposite the statue of Stanley Matthews in the old Woolworth’s. I am old enough to remember the dead old Woolworth’s which stood on the same site. Then the shop was done up and became light and airy. Then it closed down and we wept and prayed. Then T. J. Hughes took it over for a bit and when it closed down we wept and prayed (except we didn’t because we’d never been in there because we didn’t know what Mr. Hughes sold), but now, Mr. Poundland has stepped into the breach and we have the bigg...one of the biggest Poundlands in the country. So there, Mr. BBC4 TV producer who made a programme about Stoke the other week and gave the impression that there was nobody here now except for one bloke who was cutting the grass outside the abandoned Spode factory.
     The new Poundland in Hanley was due to be officially opened on Saturday the 5th of November (mayhap with fireworks) by ‘Samia Smith who plays “Maria Connor''’ (according to the Poundland website, although it doesn’t say at what) so since I’ve never heard of either of them and the good lady wife told me that it was already open - so why they’re having an official opening after it’s already open I don’t know, seems a bit daft, but she reckons it’s common practice - I went up Hanley on Friday to see the new store for myself.
     It is big. I reckon it must be one of the biggest, if not the biggest in the country, and it’s right here in St. Louis. However, as you will notice from the list of purchases above, I still came out with 2 packets of lighters, one DVD, one book and a toy. It strikes me that instead of them two women Mr. Poundland should have got that Professor Brian Cox to open his new shop. He seems like a cheery little chap and he could have explained why no matter what the size of the shop, you always come out with the same number of purchases. In fact the whole experience of walking round the shop is the same whatever its size. I think, rather than buggering off to Switzerland all the time, Mr. Professor Brian Cox would be better employed staying here in England and working out the spatial anomalies in Poundland. Bloody Europe! I’ve learned you have to put that in nowadays, it’s expected. There was a woman on Radio Stoke going on about the upcoming strike of public sector workers and pointing out in a very well-reasoned and cogent manner the reasons for the strike and why the public sector workers deserve their pensions and then the gobby bugger, what plays the three records Radio Stoke have got in their extensive library in between people ringing in, asks her what she would do to solve the problem and she says “Get out of Europe”, so all her credibility goes out the winder and she’s obviously been infected by whatever devious means Mr. Murdoch and the Daily Mail and all the rest, use to keep us scraping our knuckles on the ground. I mean, for a start, if we got out of Europe, then the farmers would be in a right mess and the price of tomatoes would go through the roof. Of course, in the interests of impartiality, I should point out, as Jeanette Winterson did in her memoir of the greengrocery trade, tomatoes are not the only fruit, in fact they’re more of a vegetable. Like, you can have a bacon, cheese and tomato piece, but you wouldn’t eat a bacon, cheese and orange piece, would you? Unless you were down in London at some fancy restaurant where they give you a bit of fruit with everything, to cover up the space on the plate.

2. The Michael Palin book is a gift for my friend Clive who retains an affection for comedy and national treasures like Mr. Palin. Plus it was a very big book and thus a bargain.

3. I’ve always been fascinated by Mexican jumping beans. I believe the original beans owed their jumping ability to little insects trapped within. Luckily these are plastic and so there’s no danger of tiny creatures escaping into one’s home. But they still retain their jumping ability, moving this way and that, apparently at random. I have no idea how they work. If Mr. Poundland had hired Professor Cox to open his new shop in Hanley then I could have asked him. I presume it has something to do with Weeble’s First Law of Motion, but I only got my Physics O Level on the second attempt and I failed chemistry completely, so I’m not the best person to ask. Although I should point out to them what think all we’re good for here in Stoke is making pots, that we have a proud history in the science department. Sir Oliver Lodge came from round here and he invented spark plugs and had something to do with radio. Before Sir Oliver came along all those cocky buggers who want the new gadgets straightaway had to hire a man with a red flag to pull their cars along the roads. And then he went and invented radios so they’d have summat listen to while they motored round the land.

4. I bought the DVD because it’s got Hilary Swank in it. I’m not a particular fan of Ms. Swank, but I am intrigued by the choices she makes in her professional career. On the one hand she has two Best Actress Oscars to her name, and yet she also appears in genre films like The Core and The Reaping and The Resident (first two good, last one rubbish). I think (The) Kounterfeit is from earlier in her career and I have no idea why it’s spelt with a K. The DVD was made in Germany and after listing the titles of the 6 Scene Selections, also lists under ‘Special Features’: ‘Interactive Menus’ and ‘6 Scene Selections’. This is the same as putting ‘None’ and just makes the German DVD makers look silly.

Friday, 4th November - Hanley

pound1123 pound112402

Life Beyond Measure: Letters to My Great-Grandaughter by Sidney Poitier, read by the author - 9 CD audiobook.

Anacaona: The Amazing Adventures of Cuba’s First All-Girl Dance Band by Alicia Castro.

Electronic Utility Lighter.

And a mystery item which I can’t mention because it’s a present.


1. Eh up! What’s this? Two entries for Hanley Poundland on the same day. What’s going on? Did I perhaps return to the big Poundland for a second visit, so taken with its size. No, I did not. I discovered that Mr. Poundland had not yet closed his other shop in the Potteries Shopping Centre and so after dropping off my first bag of purchases in the car, so as not to cause confusion, I had a quick look in the old shop.

2. I nearly ignored the Sidney Poitier audiobook since I’d already bought the one you had to read yourself and I thought it’s going to be a while till I get round to it since I’ve only just finished Colm Toibin’s The Master, which I bought from Poundland years
ago. But I picked it up to see if Mr. Poitier was reading it, and he was, and there were 9 CDs and should have been $35, so you think, that’s a bargain, so I bought it. Which was also the deciding factor with the other book, Anacaona: The Amazing Adventures of Cuba’s First All-Girl Dance Band. I stood looking at that for a while, wondering whether I wanted to find out all about Cuba’s First All-Girl Dance Band, then I looked at the flap and it said £19.99 and I thought, that’s a bargain, so I bought it.

3. Notice, the number of purchases, bar the lack of lighters since I’d already bought them, almost mimics exactly that from the much larger store. Again, where was Professor Cox when one needs him? If he’d come down on Saturday then he could have done a proper experiment, walking round each shop in turn and taking measurements. Over in Switzerland they’re just making stuff up. Pretending to measure the speed of quarks and things and then bragging about building time machines, whereas here in Stoke he could have done some real science using a slide-rule. Missed his chance there. As did Mr. Poundland who needs to think outside the box a bit and hire better celebrities to open his shops if he wants to get up there with Lord Sir Alan Sugar and that bloke what makes hoovers in the affections of the country.

December 2011


Friday, 2nd December - Stafford

pound1125 pound1126

Desperate Measures DVD.



1 box of 70 Paper CD covers.

1 pack of 8 Sony AA batteries.

2 packs of 6 disposable lighters.


1. Note the bulging bag of Poundland purchases, then see the meagre collection of items revealed. Note the discrepancy. Mayhap I was mugged and had to hobble through the streets of Stafford shouting “Stop thief!” and “Come back here with my Poundland purchases!”. But no, gentle reader, there is a simpler explanation and one fully in keeping with the season wherein we are encouraged to be jolly. The good lady wife was packing the basket with festive treats, whereas I was grumbling about the lack of interesting items. At one point I whispered to the good lady wife that I probably wouldn’t bother recording this visit since all I’d got were the batteries and the paper CD sleeves and the lighters, which she affected not to hear, which is a bit rich considering she’s got ears like them bats whereas I’ve only got one that works a bit, then when I repeat my statement, still sotto voce, she then shouts out at full volume, “Oh you won’t be able to do your Poundland site,” and I feel like a bit of a fool since although I do have a Poundland site, which you are now reading, I don’t like to be pointed at in the shop as a man whose life is so bereft of purpose that he is reduced to listing all his purchases from Poundland on a website for all the world to see. So, anyway, that’s why there’s a picture of a big bag full of stuff and another picture of a paltry selection of items, none of which are of interest, except the DVD of Desperate Measures, which is a neat thriller starring Andy Garcia and Michael Keaton and which I didn’t spot until, after returning to the DVD section to have another look at the, frankly, rubbish on display, the good lady wife shifted a copy of The Christmas Shoes and it was revealed beneath.

2. I could have put The Christmas Shoes in the Rejected Item slot if I’d rejected it, but I asked the good lady wife if she wanted it since she’d watched it once, but she said no. It’s one of those films you get on Channel Five in the afternoons in the run-up to Christmas which are all a bit rubbish. This one is about a man played by Rob Lowe who wants to buy some shoes for Christmas - I think - I only watched a bit. Presumably he gets his guardian angel to help him in his selection. Anyway, if that brief précis has whetted your appetite and you want to find out if Rob achieves his goal, then they’ve got loads of copies of it in Poundland.

3. Whereas if you go to P.C. World and attempt to buy a laptop you will be sorely disappointed. We’d tried this the day before. After spending two hours selecting our purchase on the Curry’s website and finding everything we clicked on was not available for home delivery or in stock at our local store, we switched to the P.C. World site since they’re owned by the same man and you think why don’t you just have one lot of shops then and not try to fool us into thinking we’ve got a choice in the matter. Digression: there was an item on The One Show, I think, but not the one where Jeremy Clarkson went mental and started shooting everybody - he’s a card inner he? - where they were talking about the grim old days when there was such a thing as resale price maintenance and everything cost the same whichever shop you went to. This was abolished in 1964 and everything ceased to be black and white and we got colour, meaning all these shops could open up selling different frocks, whereas before the housewife could only wear things that were varying shades of grey - all the same price though so she wouldn’t have to waste her time shopping around but could sit at home and watch Fabian of the Yard and Dragnet - at least if she waited till 7 o’clock when the telly started. So, with the arrival of competition we got many benefits, and now can spend two hours searching for laptops on the Curry’s site before being told you can’t buy any. So then you switch to P.C. World and we finally find one that we can collect from our local store, so we click on that, and ten minutes later we receive a phone call from our local store saying they haven’t got that one, but we can have this other one, which is the same price and which we had been looking at but the good lady wife had rejected since it was black and she wanted a pink one, although there were no pink ones available anywhere, so she’d settled for red (note to Mr. Intel - I wouldn’t bother, mate), so we finally gave up and said we’d have that one. Next day we went to collect it, but being a bit sneaky we adopted ninja stealth mode and wandered round the shop first to have a look at it. It was rubbish and you needed a big hammer to press down the left clicking key on the mouse pad thingy what laptops have instead of mice. So we rejected it in our minds, and then noticed that the original red one was also on display - two of them in fact (each a little bit different in the processor part which no one will explain why except it’s a result of the abolition of resale price maintenance which requires all manufacturers nowadays to turn out loads of slightly different items in order to comply with competition requirements). So we went over to a sales assistant and explained our quandary and asked if they had any of the red ones in stock. She said probably not. She said lots of people were ordering them on the website and were being told they’d got them in the shop, but they hadn’t. I opined that this did not sound good for the country’s main computer retailer where one would expect an efficiently maintained database. (Although not in such a succinct manner - I think I just said, ‘that’s a bit daft for a computer shop.’) So I then asked if she could tell us which laptops in our price range (low end, but I thought that would make it easier) were in stock. She said she couldn’t, but if we found one we liked she would then look it up. This sounded too much like a game and we were now in no mood to pander to her desire for entertainment. If she didn’t want to spend her life standing around in P.C. World pretending to sell non-existent computers then she shouldn’t have taken the job. So we left the store laptopless.


on to 2012


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