A good tale from my neighbour. Let's call him Ken1. Ken is a good-hearted man; he bought his lovely daughter a top from AberCrombie and Fitch which was the wrong size. No problem; planning a trip to London anyway, he offered to change it for her.
Accessorising that perfect top
Accessorising that perfect top
We live and learn.
Upon arrival he is surprised to find a queue snaking out of the shop and round the corner. A queue for a shop? Is the queen visiting? Or David Beckham? Apparently not. There's always a queue at A&F. Ken joins the line to find himself surrounded by eager teenies. And when Ken sensibly takes the opportunity to eat his cheese and pickle sandwiches with curly-wurly and diet Fanta, they all noisily disrespect him.
So Ken feels a little out of place by the time he reaches the door. But upon entry he is concerned to discover they have a power cut, or a fire. How come they're still letting people in? It's completely dark, and sirens are going off.
But as his eyes adjust to the gloom, he realises this is how it is all the time. And the sirens are in fact loud and trendy music. Has he accidentally lined up for a nightclub? How embarrassing.
But no; he puts his hands in front of him and advances gingerly until he bumps into what feels like a clothes rail. It is the shop.
Now call me old-fashioned but I quite like to see clothes when I'm buying them. Ken's in the same camp. Wishing he'd brought his head-torch, he manfully squints at tops for a while. No help is available; the A&F employees are busy dancing, half-naked, on a dimly-lit balcony far above. Ken shakes his fist at them, but they mistake it for a dance move of yesteryear, and kindly shake their fists back.
Ken is now quite cross, but he's come this far and he is made of steel. He finds the right top and gropes his way to the tills.
There's another queue. This one takes half an hour. Ken is beset by suspicious glances from more teenies who obviously assume he is a pervert come to spy on their shopping. But at last he is at the front, by now grinding his teeth. The assistant, very fetching in a bikini and buffed up with what looks like margarine, asks did he want the pink top? The old one's orange.
No he didn't. He just couldn't see the difference. So she stands him to one side and fetches the orange one for him. But then it turns out the one Ken chose was indeed orange; it was just labelled wrong. It takes a manager in a thong and a bowtie with a shaven chest and more margarine to sort out the mess.
By the time Ken gets out, two hours have passed.
What sort of evil genius can conceive of a shop like this? Buy a job lot of clothes from a sweat shop in Cambodia, put BIG LABELS on them, and then hang them in the dark. And hey presto! The kids are converging from miles around. No matter what you charge, because they all have vast cash reserves.
Ken, here's to you mate; you're a better man than I. Next time I buy pants and socks from M&S I'm going to keep my eyes closed the whole time in solidarity. Maybe I'll end up with a nice shade of pink. Or orange.
1 - Because that's his name