There are news reports this week that retail receipts in the High Street, especially in London’s West End, are poor for the Christmas season, and that once again we may not have to wait until the new year for the sales and price reductions to entice us into further spending.
I’m not a big shopper; I regard it as a chore rather than a leisure activity, and the sight of rows and rows of merchandise usually sends me straight back out of the door heading for a coffee. You’ll not be surprised to learn that I, along with many others I suspect, have been an enthusiastic user of the internet for unavoidable shopping. I left a few Christmas things a bit too late for delivery, so yesterday I hazarded a trip into the West End for a precision strike on a couple of shops.
After years of working in the area, I know most of the routes around, and from point to point, avoiding any need to walk along the hideousness of Oxford Street. First stop was Marks and Spencer.
There are some things which are guaranteed to annoy me, but which I seem generally to forget about in between times. This might sound like quite a good thing; but it also means that when I inadvertently put myself in the way of them, they aggravate me even more, because I forgot about the need to avoid them. The Marks and Spencer shoe department is one of those things. I wandered in there because I need some new slippers, as my old ones were soaked and beyond recovery after my recent domestic plumbing drama.
But as soon as I found the slippers, there it was, that thing that drives me mad. The shoes are arranged on shelving stands, the small shoes on the top shelf, where the short people with little feet have to stand on tippy toes to be able to see them, while the large shoes, generally worn by taller people, are on the bottom shelf, meaning that in order to see them I would have to get down on my hands and knees.
No sale there then, and I’ll continue to use my British Airways issue slip-ons until they completely disintegrate.
And so I went to have a few moments respite and a cup of tea, only to be confronted by another pet hate. The man sitting behind me slurped his way through a box of food, his face barely six inches from the table, his elbows splayed wide on the table.