Annabelle gets ten quid a week allowance.
Well, she calls it allowance, I call it extortion (obviously not in earshot otherwise she’ll make me take her Parenting Class again).
Anyway, Annabelle enjoys spending her booty in charity shops. She also enjoys me trailing around behind her as she picks up an item, peers at it, replaces it and then picks up it’s neighbour and lather-rinse-repeat until she has exhausted every tempting treat on every dusty shelf the emporium has to offer.
My wake-trailing has afforded me many opportunities to be offended slash molested by the self-styled Ghandi-ish creatures that carry out the Herculean responsibility of not knowing how to work the till because they’re not trained in pressing buttons, and aren’t being paid but are volunteering their time (they really should wear badges to that effect so they didn’t need to keep announcing it).
I was once accosted by a rather nasal bird who attempted to wrestle a Costa cinnamon latte out of my hand, I say attempted because I was, at that point, midway through a Bahaman beach fantasy and understandably enough, mistook her for a coconut vendor who was trying to grope my travellers cheques.
I didn’t intend to heimlich her but nevertheless, my lightening quick reactions seemed to satisfy her that I was, in fact, capable of both standing still whilst simultaneously holding a paper cup without spazzing out and hurling coffee all over her wares.
On another memorable occasion I became so bored that I actually started ‘looking at stuff’ and discovered a battered, crappy old picture of some poppies that I thought might look alright in my dining room. I was then treated to a used car style sales pitch justifying the £25 price tag.
My mistake; I was under the impression that I was in a jumble shop when all the while I was standing in the boutique of a purveyor of fine art, and clearly I don’t know as much about the true value of second hand crap as I thought I did.
So yesterday afternoon (Saturday is Extortion-Day in our house) Annabelle made a beeline for her very favourite emporium of crap, Age UK. I know it’s her favourite because she sometimes pops in there on a daily basis and she definitely spends all the money she has there, which, in the big scheme of things, isn’t a whole lot but it’s 100% of what she has so I guess it’s all relative.
Plus she enjoys the idea that she’s helping those less fortunate than her own self.
I was standing in the midst of some old shoes wondering how bad my life would have to be before I ever considered sticking my feet into someone else’s dried foot-sweat when Annabelle, tears in her eyes, pushed past me and scurried out onto the street.
It turns out that she had found a couple of bits and pieces that didn’t have price tags on them and had asked the rotund, hairy little being behind the counter if she could take the two of them for a pound.
“No my dear, we don’t ‘haggle’ in here”.
At which point the, let’s call her a woman to demonstrate that I, unlike herself, do understand the word charity, snatched Annabelle’s bits out of her hands and indicated that Annabelle should leave.
Now, I’m all for the fact that Wombles have expanded their operation from simply rummaging through bins on Wimbledon Common and I sure am mighty pleased that they are still making good use of things the everyday folks leave behind.
I think that looking for litter to trundle away is almost admirable and it is definitely positive that they have vacated their underground/ overground burrow in favour of living amongst the human people, but publicly humiliating thirteen year olds isn’t very charitable is it?
And for future reference, be advised, if your customers wanted Harrods prices and Rodeo Drive standard arrogance they wouldn’t be shopping in Wombles-R-Us in the first place.
Now would they?