Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Shopping’s not my thing, really. Apart from charity shops, of course – because there’s an element of chance, the fun of the chase: I’m trying to collect the full set of The Music of Time sequence, and all of the Arden Shakespeares, and I might get lucky any time I go into a charity shop. You never know. And there’s the whole rationale of charity shops: redistributing stuff, and hopefully doing a bit of good.

But dealing with consumer capitalism face to face… Well, that’s a wholly other game of cluedo. Best to avoid it where possible. And if it’s inescapable, regard it as a commando raid: gather intelligence, go into the shop, complete the transaction, get out again… You see, it’s a commercial transaction, not a form of worship.

Fiona, whilst not exactly a slave to consumerism – far from it, in fact, - likes to take a bit more time. Ah well. We got the cake from Marks and Sparks, two tiers, complete with little pillars. The fun started when I tried to buy a shoehorn – I’ve got riders for the wedding, and they’re always a nuisance to get on when they’re new. We went into a shoe shop, they didn’t have any. “The only way you’ll get a shoehorn is, when you buy some boots, you get a free one in the box.” Now this got me thinking: in shops, when they don’t have what you want, they invariably give you some daft blether. They never just say “Sorry, no,” do they?

(Like, one day a year or so ago, I was becoming curious about digital radio, and just wanted to find out a bit more. So I went into an electrical shop in Saltcoats, and the woman said they didn’t have any, because there was no digital signal in this area. So far so good, but she had to spoil it by going on to say that they did have one once, and a man bought it, but he brought it back because it didn’t work, because there was no signal. All right. But he decided to keep it anyway because he like it so much.)

So, to pass the time, I thought I’d see what people said to us in shops. (We got the shoe horn at the next shoe shop, by the way). Next on the list were presents for the mothers – we’d decided on turquoise earrings. We went into several jewellers. “There’s no call for them”; “You can’t get them anywhere.” One bright lad said cheerfully, “You’ll be lucky!” We got them in the next shop.

So that was our day in Kilmarnock.

Now everything’s done, bought, ordered. Roll on Friday.