because none of us is fucking up like we think we are, is what i'm trying to say

Sunday, 6 December 2009


I followed the grey-haired woman with my eyes as she weaved in and out of the Christmas section of the toyshop.

I watched as she smiled, undiscovered and unsuspected, at young children with cheeks rosy from the cold, and profiled her as she sidestepped my obvious glances of disgust. The British are very good at looking disgusted, I think. And tutting. I think I tutted. She repulsed me.

The greed of her excessive consumption brought bile to my throat. The image of the way she hid her sick secret underneath her ugly polyester coat without regard for anyone or anything will haunt me until the day I die.

This woman was attempting to buy too many Go-Go Hamsters.

She was blatantly disregarding the rule that no customer should dare THINK about trying to purchase more than two, let alone actually exceed limitations by placing said boxes into their cart.

Two was a generous allowance- last week it was strictly one per customer, and poor mums and dads (well, actually, let's be honest. It was mostly mums) queued up before the shop even opened to try and secure the only present that would satisfy Tiny Tot Jimmy and Lovely Little Lola. I'd really felt for them. I imagined that they probably looked the same back in '71, waiting in similar orderly lines for tickets to a Stones gig, but now they were minus the dodgy haircuts and there was no chance of giving Mick Jagger a blow job. It was heart-breaking, really.

I was at a loss at how to approach this sick, callous woman.

"Excuse me, miss, but don't you think you've had enough stuffed hamster toys for today?" I imagined saying, in a low and non-confrontational voice.

She'd look at me and grip onto her trolley-handle in anger.

"I'll tell you when I've had enough," she'd bark through gritted teeth. "Hit me again!" I bet she'd spit when she talked. "I SAID HIT ME AGAIN!"

And then in my imagination I actually do hit her- with a giant stuffed hamster- for having so little disregard for the limits on how many Go-Go Hamsters a single person is allowed to buy. Num-Nums and Mr Squiqqles would have been proud, I'm sure. My boss was.

"Great job foiling her operation there Williams," she said to me when I reported the incident. I failed to mention that in the end, I didn't actually say anything to her, and when I went on my lunch-break she went back to the shelf for the rest of the stock too. I just like being told I did a good job.

That's where the real-world fails a bit, really, isn't it? The real-world doesn't offer grades and gold stars or pats-on-the-back for boring day-to-day stuff, or even to reward over-hyphenation of words in sentences. Imagine a booming voice on a street loudspeaker, "Well done Jemimah, on catching the bus without falling over ONCE this week!" or, "Derek, marvellous job with the pansies. Keep up the good work". The real world would just be so much more pleasant.

It would make pulling a bit easier too. "Paul, superb use of cute-bottom-hugging bootcut jeans this evening. See the chubby blonde girl with the bad roots and penchant for blogging about her vagina at the bar behind you for your bonus points" etc etc.

So to be told I did a good job with the Hamster Raider, as she is known in my imagination, was quite the confidence boost for my like-me-love-me-tell-me-I-am-brilliant inner id. And thinking about it, said Hamster Raider could have benefitted from some loudspeak action too.


That would have made my day.
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