I had one of those mornings on Saturday that are normally the reserve of the young. I retired at a sensible time and had no need to set an alarm and was awaken by the hour chime from my wristwatch. I was very surprised to look at my watch and realise that it was 10 am! I never sleep that late but clearly, as mothers everywhere would say, I must have needed it. The odd thing is that as you get older you lose the ability to recover lost sleep so I feel as exhausted today as I did on Friday, go figure.
I have now decided to withdraw any grocery shopping from Asda following another disastrous delivery. In fairness this weeks delivery lad was clearly some way short of the full ticket, rather than use a trolley he carried 3 plastic trays up to my second floor flat. Whilst the choice of trolley is his alone I was gobsmacked when he said “there is one more, I will go and get it” looking out of the window I saw that he had left his truck with the doors open! On the return journey he got lost in the elevator, this is some achievement given that there are only four floors. He explained that we had substitutions and I asked if this was a weekend thing, presuming more people shopped in store at the weekend “oh no there are always loads of substitutions”.
He seemed generally surprised that I didn’t want the substitutions, see I do learn, but set about offloading items. As he scanned each item he remarked on the price and concluded with “wow you have saved £37” excuse me? I have lost nearly half of my shopping how is that a saving? bloody idiot. One item that was an issue was the duvet set and sheet that I had purchased, a nice cream with print. The duvet set had been substituted but not the sheet, this was either to minimise the substitutions or because the picker was colour blind but the result did not match. “you can have that sheer back as well fella” was not the right thing to say the sheet, you see, had not been substituted it was what I had ordered. Having explained the concept of matching bed linen a number of times I gave up, I may as well have tried to explain the theory of relativity “I don’t want it”.
Having reluctantly agreed to take the sheet back the delivery guy had 8 items plus the sheet, not too difficult one would hope. After three recounts he accepted that all was well but still looked at me as if I was a street magician who had just tricked him out of a can of soup. I looked to Google for advice and was told that Asda have by far the worst reputation for home deliveries but rather more worryingly I found stories from people who entrusted their Christmas shop to home delivery. These are people who are really into Christmas but think that they have discovered a sneaky way around the queues in stores. They book a delivery slot early and then are distraught that some of their goods are unavailable, despite their advanced planning. If any of these people are reading this then allow me to explain, you book the delivery and not the goods. The goods that you will receive are the result of a combination of the list that you provide and some spotty youth picking them. This is as far from the high-end ‘personal shopper’ as one can get.
Have you seen UK grocery stores in the run up to Christmas? you take your life in your hands just entering. Does anybody seriously think that a disinterested youth on minimum wage will fight the general population to get the items on your list? £6.50 per hour to go head to head with Mrs Smith over that last packet of sage and onion, not a hope. If you want to indulge in the festive insanity then you must do so in person or suffer the consequences of shopping by proxy.
Whilst on the subject of the festive season I would like to point out that, despite contrary opinion, it is optional. I choose not to indulge in the insanity of the season in any way, shape or form and that is a choice that I am eminently comfortable with. I spoke to a friend in the pub recently who will be at home for Christmas for the first time this year, having worked at Christmas previously. Unfortunately I was too late to give him the advice he needed and he has now been collared into the season, albeit unwillingly. An invitation to spend Christmas with his daughter and her family at Christmas seemed innocent and was accepted only then did the plot reveal itself. Christmas will be spent with the cast of a small budget movie, there will be extended family from both sides and other friends who ‘have nowhere to go’, he is trapped into an event that he doesn’t want to attend.
I have explained to him that at Christmas people are overcome by a desire to share what they believe the season is about. Normally nice people become deceitful, plotting and scheming nefarious plans to entrap the naïve. We accept that some people don’t eat meat, some don’t drink and some smoke but at Christmas we turn into Nazis! Just because there is no tree in my house it doesn’t mean that I spend the day darning socks and warming myself over a bloody candle, that was a Disney movie! I personally detest the season and all that comes with it, from October to January I tolerate the silliness but it does nothing for me. Please don’t worry about me, I have never had visits from the ghosts of Christmas past that was Disney as well. Can I ask that this year when we “think about those that will be alone at Christmas”, as we are always asked to do, we accept that some people like that.