There is no doubt that shopping – especially around christmas, and more especially in electrical stores is like coming into contact with a pack of rabid dogs. I refer of course to the shop assistants who – fulled by commission – seem to behave as if they are acting out scenes from ‘Wall Street’.

“Oh you have an iPod, Sir?” said one particularly agressive specimin while I was looking at iPod Cases (Yes. I would hardly be looking at iPod cases if I didn’t have an iPod now would I?). “Yes – I have an 80GB classic”. In an instant he grabbed the case I had been looking at and started walking to the pay desk. “Well that one will be fine sir. Now if you’ll just follow me is it cash or debit card sir? Will there be anything else?” “Errr well, actually, I haven’t finished looking yet…” “Oh sorry sir – well just give me a call if you need any more assistance”.

I have now discovered that the way to keep them at bay is to just pick something up – anything – any walk around with it. It could be a packet of replacement vacume cleaner dust bags. It doesnt matter. What matters is that they see that you are going to buy something and then they leave you alone. More importantly you get spared the dangers of their “assistance”.

A classic example of this “assistance” came – amazingly – shortly afterwards in the same store. Another customer was looking at portable PC hard drives (actually a good christmas gift idea).”You might be better off looking at Trillobyte drives sir”..

Trillobyte drives??? Hummm.. (For the non-technical among you, well. Trillobyte drives don’t actually exist). Trillobytes (or more accurately, Trillobites) did exist of course, a while back. So presumably the assistant was talking about a disk drive where data isn’t stored on magnetic media but on fossilised arthropods from 540 million years ago (see for more..)… Terrabyte drives on the other hand are definately worth looking at.. They even have a USB port these days.

We have our Christmas party soon, so I did what I am forced to do for it every year – I bought a new shirt. It’s the least my colleagues deserve. When I went to pay, I saw a notice on the pay desk (in fact 4 notices) saying along the lines of “Product recall – Trousers”…. You expect Product Recalls in a Ford dealership or on dodgy washing machines, or of course – on Trillobyte drives. You don’t normally associate ‘Product Recalls’ in Next, though. Apparently certain types of trousers have unusally high levels of a particular type of dye which is toxic and dangerous to the skin.

So there you have it. An official recall on dangerous trousers. Just as well I only bought a shirt for the Christmas party or heaven knows what else might happen.

A couple of hours shopping – and with mobile phone shops (previous post refers), Trillobyte drives and dangerous trousers, it makes you realise the world is going mad.

Oh, and by the way. If you think you are getting away with it through the smug safety of shopping online, forget it. I think it was Polly Toynbee in the Guardian a while back that said along the lines of “You know the world is collapsing when you order Lemons and get Lemon-scented rubber gloves delivered instead”.

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