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Present and Incorrect.

There are many things, dear reader, that I am rubbish at.

Drawing, most sports that involve hand eye co-ordination, most other sports,  making decisions (although I’m not so sure about that) and a whole host of other things spring to mind.

But the thing I’m worst at, and the thing I hate most, is shopping in general and buying presents in particular. It’s not a lack of generosity or anything, I’m just crap at choosing presents and coping with what’s involved in doing it. This has been thrown into sharp focus by Mothers Day . Actually I’m quite encouraged by clicking on that to see that the original modern concept of Mothers Day came out of a pacifist movement in the USA. However it has become the construct of card manufacturers, florists, choclatiers and many others since.

Like Christmas it’s another completely unnecessary marking of a day by superfluous consumerism.

However rather than try to reason with either my wife or mother about that (the old saying about discretion and valour comes to mind), I along with millions of other clueless sons, husbands and fathers set about trying to choose some gifts for this occasion yesterday. I’ve excluded daughters here. There may be exceptions but women in general have the ability, nay the knack of buying the right thing for the right person. Unfortunately my daughters delegated the task to me. Och! they’re still young.

I did go seeking out cards with them last week. Any card which gave the merest impression of being in any way “soppy” was greeted by my elder daughter with the exclamation “barf bag please dad!”.

I had intended getting something from one of my fellow small shops but I was working yesterday (typically I had left it late) and didn’t manage to get out before closing time at 5:30. So I was basically left with the choice of my two least favourite shops out of all shops.

Argos and Asda.

I detest Argos. It’s not even a proper shop – it’s a catalogue with a warehouse. Every corner cut and every competitor undercut. I did go in and have a look but it was a token gesture. I flicked aimlessly, cluelessly and without a scintilla of inspiration, through the pages for a few minutes and that was it.

So, Asda it was. The bastard son of Wal Mart. They actually employ a wee guy to stand at the door and smile and wave and say hello to people.

“Hello there!” said Tommy (for it was he) smiling and waving as I walked in. I’m caught on such occasions between sympathy and respect for someone doing a pretty difficult job and the uncontrollable urge to shout “Aw just go and take a good run and fuck to yourself!” and perhaps accompany it with some gratuitous assault or other.

The foyer area was jam packed full of flowers and plants in various stages of decay. Many of them were dyed in gaudy colours. All the bouquets might as well have had a big label on saying “Bought at supermarket/filling station on way home (delete where applicable) on them. Some of the orchids were actually quite nice but looked very delicate.

Up to the CD aisle it was, on the way picking up a wee filter coffee maker for a fiver. I’m the only one who drinks coffee in the house so a smaller coffee maker seemed a good idea. I looked at the CDs. Piles of rubbish especially produced or at least grouped together for the occasion. Compilations with pink covers called things like “Thank you mum!” “Hits for mums” “Twenty love ballads” and other horseshit.

Then, talking of horseshit, I spotted Rod Stewart’s new album. It’s a collection of Motown songs. Mrs Bigrab has liked Rod since his Faces days (ie when he was pretty good – before he met Britt Ekland about 35 years ago) and whilst I wondered if she’d appreciate this, it was getting to the desperate stage. Down to the books and I picked up one I thought she’d like, then a wee box of chocs and a wee plant display thing for my own mum.

Down to the front to pay in one of these self serve kiosks. “Excuse me sir there’s a queue!” said a young lad who seemed to be employed with the specific purpose of telling people there’s a queue. He wasn’t kidding. Just to get the opportunity to pay there was a queue of about twelve folk.

Eventually I got to the kiosk. An automaton guided me through the process. The coffee maker wouldn’t scan. The Rod Stewart CD, which I was trying to hide in case anyone thought it was for myself wouldn’t scan.

An assistant helped.

The machine wouldn’t accept my money.

An assistant helped.

Meanwhile in Wal Mart’s HQ they’re probably devising more reliable bar code readers and money grabbers so that they can do away with assistants completely.

I hope as the kids and I offer the pathetic baubles later that Mrs B might for a minute reflect on the horror that had to be endured to get them.

She’ll probably just smile, say thanks and think “What a pile of shit!”

I wonder if I should say “Like Christmas it’s another completely unnecessary marking of a day by superfluous consumerism.”

Do you think it’d work?


6 Responses

  1. Quite a cynical post for you BigRab, although, every word of it true. I hate the bullshit of Mothers, Fathers, Grandparents, Valentines etc etc day and like you, I am the worlds worst and most impatient shopper.

    I’ve tried those self serve things at the supermarket myself and have come to the conclusion that there is a formula to using them. If you have more than 2 items, go to a normal checkout. If you have anything that requires weighed or is an unusual shape go to a normal checkout. If you have any clothes go to a normal checkout. If you have any alcohol go to a normal checkout as you’ll need to wait on an assistant checking you out anyway. The long and the short of it is that those ladies (and guys now) who work the checkouts are professionals and are efficient at their job, so long as they don’t know somebody in the queue in front of you and want to chat for 15 minutes while scanning their shopping. So for the most part you’re far quicker just going to a normal checkout, of course while obeying the till queue selection criteria. (no old people in front of you etc.)

    I went for the supermarket flowers and put up a curtain rail for my own Mum while Mrs Jaggy was on the receiving end of chocolates, a small teddy and a watch from Jnr, all of which he shopped for and bought himself. Good lad.

    I’m pretty sure when fathers day comes around you’ll be posting about how much you deserve to be recognised for all your paternal efforts etc etc, or not.

  2. Jaggy you’re right I’m not a natural cynic. I try to see the best in folk and situations – can’t help it.

    This wasn’t so much cynicism as scenarios which just piss me off big time.

    Cheers for the advice on the checkouts but my forays into Asdaland are rare!

    Father’s Day? Gawd!! when’s that again?

    • Father’s Day – 9 months before Mother’s Day allegedly – I’m not actually going to check the calendar

  3. Big difference from Mother’s Day, which is basically American, to Mothering Sunday, which the Church is responsible for! Obviously I prefer the latter!

  4. A wee burd tells me you were out evangelising in the pubs giving daffodils to mothers enjoying a lunchtime libation.Good on ye Kenny!

    Sorry I didn’t reply sooner I was pasting some Stop Worrying and Start Living posters on to the Blairdardie bus 8)

  5. Actually that didn’t happen…..I was in Cumbernauld watching the Sons win 2-0 v Clyde at the Frigidome.

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