I think I need the Phone number of George Osbourne, I think I have found the solution to the downturn in retail sales on the high street.
This weekend we decided (or should I say Ann Decided) that we haven’t seen much of the grandkids recently and we should take them out for a treat into our local town centre on a shopping expedition, buying things they want rather than things they need.
So at Six Thirty on Saturday morning I was woken by my very excited grandson James (who for some unfathomable reason has been awarded the nickname of Jim Bob. I think its a Walton’s reference) who is six, on his mothers mobile asking what time we were due to pick him up and take him to buy, in his case a one eyed piece of plastic which cost Twenty Quid. I did what all good grandfathers do and immediately handed the phone to Ann who was the instigator of this day of blatant extravagance to make the necessary arrangements for the day ahead.
Arrangements were made and cutting a long story short, four hours later I am in the Town Centre with Ann, two teenagers of the female variety and JIm Bob, the nearest person I have as a male companion on this intrepid expedition.
It used to be in the past that whilst our women folk went clothes shopping us guys would go into guy type shops, perusing white goods and gadgets we could ill afford, but it gave us the opportunity to press buttons and check boy stuff out. without having to assist women in choosing whatever they decided to buy.
Since the advent of the internet and the fact that we guys are essentially lazy and can’t be bothered with shopping we have managed to shut down most of the guy type shops within a very short timeframe. The only solace that Jim Bob and myself found in the whole experience was in the Costa Coffee shop which offered us the chance to escape the clutches of women shopping.
Now there is only so long that you can sit in a coffee shop with a six year old, even though he was playing with his one eyed piece of plastic and was very well behaved. But when a woman who was berating a teenager in her charge by calling her Bonkers (a great word) he immediately wanted an explanation as to what it meant. I tried to explain in politically correct terms but was failing miserably but was rescued by our women folk arriving chattering about dresses and shoes and shops, with arms full of bags.
The only light in this very dim tunnel was when Ann asked James about his Skylander (the one eyed piece of plastic that cost twenty quid). His answer although very eloquent left Ann with an expression that said I know what you are saying but i don’t understand the words, are you sure its english? She got lost at the point of the relationship between the black dragon and the boy who became the King.
Poor Ann’s expression was pure defeat and immediately she did was most people do in that position, change the subject and turned back to the girls discussing dresses and such girly things that us men do not understand.
At this point it hadn’t been to bad, after all I was now full of caffeine and biscuits, so I was ready for anything, or so I thought. Primark is an experience I had not encountered before and I can tell you it will be some time and I will need a great deal of therapy before I do it again.
Three women wanting dresses for a party is a recipe for driving a man to the edge of insanity. After forty five minutes of looking at the choice of dresses we eventually arrived at the changing rooms. Now for women this is a normal experience, but for the poor bloke who is with them this becomes a nightmare.
If you are a bloke you are aware that most women’s changing rooms are situated in the ladies lingerie department and no matter were you stand, as a bloke on his own you feel like a fish out of water. So me and James stood dutifully whilst the ladies went to try stuff on. I was pretending to look at my phone to keep busy and not make eye contact with anyone in case I was mistaken for a stalker or something.
I was doing really well for the first ten minutes but then it started to go pear shaped. I noticed a young women who was shall we say a little on the large side looking at thongs. Whilst I was trying to work out what must she be thinking to even consider such a proposition, she noticed I was watching and she gave me a very black look.
She put the thong back on the rack she started walking towards me, I had visions of her shouting at the top of her voice “pervert”. As she arrived at where I was stood she said, “Isn’t your little boys hair a great colour”. Surprised at this I explained that he was my grandson and I was waiting for my wife. She left leaving me a shivering wreck.
For the next three hours of shopping for shoes handbags and accessories I kept my eyes under control and avoided eye contact with anyone and after three very stressful hours was relieved to be back in the car and on our way home.
So back to my cure for the High Street Mr Osbourne, fill all the empty shops with big boys toys and gadgets that us guys can play with whilst our women go and shop till they drop. It would take the strain out of shopping for every bloke and you never know we might even buy something we like without going to look at eBay first.