Fill her up with four star, a packet of crisps, a bottle of Bordeaux and a butt plug please

Why...

Does the content mix of goods on display in some stores surprise me? I was recently in a small hillside village in the South of France when I stopped at the local gas station just outside town. It was a small family run business, not part of a major chain. When I went inside to pay, whilst I stood in the queue, I idly looked at the stuff on display. Oil, antifreeze, air freshener, alcohol (it’s France) then came across dildos, a massive butt plug and handcuffs. Enterprising as this may be, I just don’t see if you popped in for a few litres of fuel, you might suddenly decide… “Ah yes, I need a new butt plug.” Conversely, if you did need such toys, the last place I would think of to go and buy them would be my local garage. It’s not as if this was a major artery where long distance lorry drivers would pull in and buy themselves some personal amusement as they slept overnight in the car park. When it came to paying the elderly grey haired lady behind the till, I was so tempted to ask if she stocked any French ticklers. So now I have started to actively look for the unexpected in shops. Amazing. Dr. Scholl’s shoes in my greengrocer’s, rat poison in my office supply shop and ‘Jesus loves you’ ties and ‘Jesus saves’ Band-Aids at the local coffee shop.

...and another thing

It’s not only what you don’t expect to find but what you do expect yet cannot get. My mama, bless her, was convinced anything she bought in Harrods department store in London was the best; even in the food halls. She would never accept that a pat of Lurpak butter from the supermarket was the same as the one from Harrods. She even made my father buy her a house by sticking a maths compass on a street map in the centre of Harrods and drawing a circle of half a mile and telling him to find a house within that so she could walk to her favourite store!

However, in my youth when you could buy literally anything in Harrods from an aircraft to an elephant, there was one thing you could not buy; postage stamps.

...and another thing

In these days of self service, I cannot stand the self check out machines. Not because of the idea itself, which is great, but the fact they never work. Every time I try and use one, hovering at my shoulder like some exam monitor, is a shop assistant. He or she permanently has to come over and reset the machine when it decides that I have either tried to charge a bottle of malt whisky as a packet of M&Ms or it cannot read a bar code. This is the same person who would in fact be ringing up my charges on her own scanner (which never goes wrong) so I cannot see there has been any saving in labour cost. It has however added a dollop of frustration to my shopping cart.

...and another thing

Shopping here in Malta for food is excellent. The choice is as good as in any Metropolis anywhere. But for any high end clothing or gifts it’s pretty dire. Perfect for me, as my beloved wife has nowhere to scuttle to and buy some eye-wateringly expensive dress only to tell me when I remark on it..

“Oh, I have had it for ages.”

Still, after she has read this I suspect a shopping trip to Milan or Rome is on the cards. I secretly quite enjoy it. Maybe Ungaro or Krizia might be selling gimp masks on the side!

Take care!

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