Andy and I both had a day off today (I know...and we've just had the weekend, too. We are SUCH part-timers when it comes to work. Of course, this might explain why we cannot afford to live in a massive house in the countryside...if only our ambitions were driven by hard work for financial gain...sigh...)
So, we decided to go to Canterbury as we've not been since, oh, at least four months ago. And as usual, we parted company on our arrival in order to divide and conquer our retail aims before meeting at our mutually agreeable shopping experience which is Lakeland Plastics. We rarely buy anything at Lakelands; we feel we ought to because everything looks so essential, but actually, when you look at what's in there you end up thinking, 'Do I really need a pink spatula and a garlic baker? No, I do not.' Our other mutually agreeable shopping experience is Waterstones (obviously!) and Canterbury has 2 branches, one of which has a lovely café upstairs where we have tea and cake. Which we did.
Anyway, today Canterbury rendered me invisible. It's true - in pretty much every shop I visited I got stampeded by old ladies. Stampeded or barged out of the way. The only shop I felt safe in was Fat Face where I knew visibility had returned because the smiley shop lady said, 'Hello! How are you today?' in a very cheery voice, and as I was the only person in the shop she must have been talking to me. But back in Marks and Spencers I got mowed down again, and at one point became trapped behind a rail of sludge-coloured jumpers, unable to negotiate my way onto the main concourse because of the mass of old ladies charging towards me refusing to give way a single inch. No eye contact either. Not a single word of thanks for me standing to one side to let them all pass. They were all sharp elbows and glint-eyed determination. Thin lipped, too, which is never a good look. I know I shall be an old lady one day, but I hope I might be a bit more cheerful and charming than the lot I encountered around Canterbury today. Ruthless, the whole lot of them.
Another thing I noticed today is something that seems to be growing in common parlance in 'shop assistant speak' these days. You stand in a queue, usually massive because, despite there being fifteen service tills, only two of them are open, and you gaze into middle distance, shuffling along a couple of inches every three minutes, clutching your purchases. And when you finally get called to 'Cashier Number 5, please!' the first thing the sales assistant says is, 'Thank you for waiting.'
Well! I don't have a lot of choice, do I, if I want to purchase the items I have specially selected for my personal consumption. I suppose I could chance it with the second option of just walking out of the shop, by-passing the tills altogether. Whilst it would be time-saving for all concerned, I am pretty certain my actions would be classed as shop-lifting, and having managed to live through nearly 50 years thus far without spending any of them in prison, I intend on maintaining my good citizen record.
I suppose there is a chance that one day I might actually be unable to 'wait' in a queue and I might just scatter the contents my basket and run screaming from the shop. It might happen. Panic attack sort of thing. Or my agoraphobia getting the better of me. I could make a really dramatic scene of it, couldn't I? Scream something like, 'I can bear this insufferable waiting no longer! Keep your shampoo for coloured hair, your five pack of American tan tights (M/L), your special offer false eyelashes! I am OUTTA here!!'
It feels quite exciting just talking about it...
Back home, happy with my purchases of a poncho and 5 pairs of woolly tights (all Primark - who'd have thought!? I've never bought anything from Primark before because, quite frankly, the one in Maidstone scares me witless. But Canterbury has a better class of Primark hence my discovery of bargain price woolly tights 'n' poncho) I settled down to give Tybalt some TLC and wonder if I had the energy to shove some jacket spuds in the oven for dinner. You know when nothing but a cheesy baked potato will do? It's one of those days.
Back to work tomorrow.