Retail Hell

Rare as hen's teethI had never understood the phrase ‘retail therapy’. It seems that there are those amongst us who actually enjoy shopping, being immersed in a throng of like-minded people, all hell bent on spending their hard earned wonga on things they don’t really need, all in the pursuit of a short-term dose of euphoria. Not me.

Having subjected ourselves to hours of fruitless searching for various items, including a granary bloomer, we had to accept that we had failed abysmally on virtually all counts. The sad truth was however, that there were some items, curtain rails and lamp shades, amongst others, that were deemed to be necessities.

So it was, that we found ourselves in IKEA at 7:00pm on a Saturday evening, a joyless experience to say the least. Tired, hungry and completely devoid of any enthusiasm for the task in hand, it would have been easy to give up and go home, but still we pressed on.

The IKEA experience is a retail nightmare. One is forced, by store layout, to walk miles and miles, past thousands of items, none of which hold the faintest interest, before you even get a glimpse of the thing you went in there to buy. But suddenly there it was !!!

The perfect stainless steel rail, designed as a high-tech utensil rail, but doubling unwittingly as a utility room curtain pole. The design was perfect, the brackets were reversible, the length of 1200mm ideal, everything just right. So a purchase was agreed and the search for a boxed item began. Nothing. Lots of 800mm rails, lots of other designs, but not one 1200mm boxed item was to be found.

So we approached customer services, to see when the next batch would be delivered. Shock and horror !!! The item has been discontinued. Maybe too many people in the Bristol area had spotted the alternative usefulness of the rail and had caused a glut of bespoke curtain rails in the soft furnishing department. Who knows, but it was typical of our fruitless day.

Then a ray of hope !!! Apparently, and only because it was discontinued rather than simply out-of-stock, it became possible to purchase the very item that was screwed so alluringly to the display. But only if the Kitchen department would sanction such an action. So off to customer services (Kitchen department) we marched, determined to secure the last existing rail this side of the galaxy.

Obviously the guy had no idea of the rarity, and hence huge worth of his prized asset. Not only did he whip out his personal electric screwdriver to remove said item, but he also gave us a chit to take to Bargain Corner so we might acquire it at a discount. What a result !!! We raced down to the Corner of many delights, clutching our chit, fearful that an announcement, reversing the decision, might boom out over the Tannoy at any moment.

No such announcement was issued, so with our discount barcode zip-tied to our wholly unique curtain/utility rail we raced through the self service checkout, into the near empty car park and sped off into the Bristol night air. Success !!! The perfect curtain rail, and at a bargain price too !!! Now I know why they call it retail therapy, the buzz is almost better than sex. Or maybe not, but at least it did illustrate the Ten Worlds and Ichinen Sanzen rather nicely.

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