Mrs and Mizz P like shopping. They like shopping a lot. When on a Sunday they announce that they are off to Stockport, you know that’s the last you’ll see of them for at least three hours minimum.
I’d always put this down to the fact that women tend to shop differently than men. When we blokes go off to the shops, it’s usually for something specific, we head for the shop that sells it, buy it and go home again. We might occasionally have a wander round a book or computer game shop in passing, but only if it’s quiet.
Mrs and Mizz P on the other hand generally don’t know what they are shopping for. There may be a general plan as in, “We’re looking to find a pair of shoes to match these jeans,” or “There was this really nice jacket we saw two weeks ago,” but this is usually an excuse to drift from shop to shop before going back to the first one they visited to buy whatever it was they saw there, plus picking up various other things spotted en route, and generally wasting most of the day of rest.
But I was wrong and today had my introduction from the distaff side of the Polly household to the fine art of shopping. I woke up this morning to the question, “Shall we go to Stockport and look at some beds?” I should explain that we made the mistake a few years ago of buying a cheap bed. This would have suited us fine in our younger days, but for some time we have been waking with the creaking joints that only a false economy, low-end sprung mattress can inflict, with Mrs P suffering more than me.
So at about 11am we hopped into the car with what was on the face of it a male shopping mission — to find a specific, albeit expensive, item, order it and then come home. Nuh-nuh! What we were after was one of those ‘memory foam’ beds and Mrs P had several stores in mind. Note the male approach here — go to first shop; have they got what you want; buy it. Nope, what they had was umpteen varieties of aforementioned bed and Mrs P spent the best part of 45 minutes lying on each one to test them out, while I and Master P (who’d joined us for his own reasons that I’ll explain later) homed in on the one that had a comfort rating of *****Plus and made our minds up.
The next stage of the Mrs P shopping technique is to so bamboozle herself with the choices on offer that she has to have a break. We waved the weary salesman a fond goodbye (well he was almost a part of the family by now) with the promise that we would return, minds made up. We dashed in the rain to computer game shop so Master P could buy the expansion to his Warhammer game, the real reason he had joined us. I got sidetracked deciding that I might try the Call of Cthulhu game and wondering which other I might buy to get “Two for £25!”
Since game shops, in my experience, don’t have hangers and rails Mrs P was looking decidedly uncomfortable. “A fish out of water,” in her own words. “I’ll be in the shoe section at M+S,” she announced while I mulled over what else to buy, ending up choosing just CoC which I’ve still to try since Master P has been hogging the PC with his Warhammer expansion game.
We were finally reunited in St Michael’s footwear department, Mrs P trying on a pair of open-toed summery number with a new pair of shorts by her side, and while she paid for those, me and Master P headed for the café for lattes and iced chocolate and other goodies. Checking my watch, I pointed out that we only had 35 minutes of our two hour pay and display time left and that we’d better get a move on to order the bed, so we left. To be sidetracked again by the shirts in the sale, of which I bought one and then spent some time searching out a matching tie.
By this time we had totally overshot our parking allocation and, knowing how hot the attendants of Stockport precinct can be, I was despatched to feed another 50p into the slot, arriving back at the bed shop to agree to the purchase of the bed that I wanted to buy more than two hours earlier,
Had I passed my ‘Shop Like a Pro’ test? Nope, fell at the first fence in only going to one bed shop with no hunting around every other store. No-one’s perfect, eh, least of all me.