Sunday, 22 July 2012

Pushy shop keepers

What a difference a bit of sunshine makes! It's like I've suddenly come to life. I went running at lunchtime. I've been singing in the street. I met Nathan for lunch and he described me as shiny-eyed.

July 22nd is the date when Cancer passes the buck to Leo, so I guess, on top of everything else, I'm now on home ground.

It's also rather lovely to have a weekend off for the first time in I've no idea how long. I've merely pottered - putting the London Requiem to the back of my mind - and focussed on silly things like buying pairs of trousers and wondering how speedily I can get myself fit again. I took myself down Oxford Street and wandered aimlessly into a few suit shops, in the vague hope something might jump out at me. What I wasn't expecting was the shop assistants to jump out at me instead;

"Hello, Sir, are you looking for suit?" (These people never use the definite article - and it was a silly question to ask someone who'd just walked into a suit shop.)

"I'm just browsing, thanks."

There was a pause whilst he hovered behind me like a copper spaniel waiting to be fed.

"You know the size you need?"

"Thank you, yes"

Another pause...

"42 chest?"
I ignored him
"100% pure wool, these suits..."
I stopped what I was doing, swung round and let rip...

"Please don't do this! Do you understand what you do to people when you hassle them like this? I'll ask if I need your help. I know where you are. You're right behind me, breathing down my neck..."
On too many occasions, I've found myself simply and politely exiting shops when the assistants become aggressively helpful, but this guy was so pushy that I felt the need to tell him why I was leaving in the hope that he might change his sales technique in the future. Surely this kind of behaviour only works in the bazaars of Morocco where people end up feeling so threatened they part with money simply to escape...

Unfortunately, every shop I subsequently visited told the same story. I'd walk in and a sales assistant would immediately pounce. The recession has either turned these people into beggars or a quiet sunny Sunday afternoon had made them all horribly bored.

I went up to Thaxted last night to spend time with the family; an early celebration of my father's birthday, which is on Wednesday. I am exactly 30 years and two weeks younger than him. There are a lot of Leos in my family...
350 years ago, Pepys had a terrible argument with his wife, because she’d lost her set of keys to their house. There was a panic, and a big search, which ended in success, so Pepys and Elizabeth were friends again.

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