Can I help you, sir…?

Bugaboo GeckoSo we went to buy some stuff from Mothercare this weekend for the new baby. Fortunately we knew what we wanted. because that way we didn’t have to deal with the nightmare that is… WEEKEND SALES STAFF!

Now I understand that when you’re at school or college that you need to earn some extra cash. Goodness knows I spent enough years toiling away at the Garden Centre to realise that. And working at somewhere like Mothercare is as good a place as any. A lot of the customers in there are usually happy – especially if they’re expectant mothers and fathers.

And what’s important is knowledge and availability – something that seemed distinctly lacking. Never anyone to talk to, never anyone who knew what they were doing and generally, everything was all over the place.

And the thing is, I’ve noticed over the years that staffing abilities at weekends in stores is generally appalling. I’m not going to diss all younger workers, because often they’re some of the best. It’s the ones who clearly have absolutely no idea, and utter lack of wherewithal and inability to know the products they’re selling or the job they’re clearly being paid to do. Perhaps, they’re so pissed off at the weekly wage, they’ve decided to go on strike while at work. Or maybe the Union Of Bored Saturday Workers orders their members to do as little as possible to uphold the reputation.

Just irritating…

Where are you going?

Tower BridgeI live in London! I make that point, because a lof of people think driving in this country’s capital is akin to attempting to navigate through as warzone.

It’s not – clearly! The average speed of traffic, as is often quoted, is less than 10mph in London. This means that you have quite a lot of time to work out where you’re going – or so you would have thought. Somehow, I’m always getting stuck behind people who clearly have no idea whether they’re going left, right, straight on, or perhaps need to turn round and return from whence they came.

Now I accept that sometimes we all are a little uncertain as to how to reach our final destination, but why are all these people always driving through London. This is one of the busiest road networks in the country and people choose to drive through it, WITHOUT KNOWING WHERE THEY’RE GOING!

Come on, guys, sort it out! Can’t you make an effort to work out your route before you get in the car? Don’t you have a vague idea as to where you’re going? Have you any idea how to use your mirrors? Do you know where your indicators are?

Spend some money on a satnav! Get someone to sit next to you and navigate! Call a taxi! Take public transport! Just don’t clog up the roads and cause accidents. Enough!

How big is your arse?

Larry DavidDo you know this guy on the left? If you do, then you’ll appreciate where I’m coming from. This is Larry David, creator of the inestimable Seinfield and, more recently, equally sublime Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Basically, in Curb (I’ve shortened it for brevity), Larry says the things that everyone always wants to, but somehow society dictates that we shouldn’t – because we’ll be seen as rude. You know the sort of thing, I’m sure…

Well, on Thursday, I experienced a situation where I wished I was Larry. I was on a train heading into London for work. I got on and espied a spare seat and sat down. There were others free, but I wanted this one – it was a nice aisle space and the adjacent seat was occupied by a middle-aged woman. She had to remove a carrier bag to allow me to sit down which she put on the floor (with a slight huff).

She did that thing where she stared and made you feel bad for having taken the seat she thought was explicitly reserved for her 30x20cm plastic bag from Sainsbury’s. So I sat down and quickly realised that there wasn’t a lot of room. Even though she didn’t look big, this woman managed to occupy one-and-a-half seats for the entire journey. No matter how much I shifted and manoeuvred my elbows, I couldn’t get her to budge over.

Ultimately, she had a huge rear-end. And what I wanted to say was: “Excuse me, could you shift your big arse over, so I can actually sit down properly?” Of course, I couldn’t say that, because I would have been seen to be ungentlemanly and sexist. Why didn’t I though? Why is it so difficult to assert your own rights to sit down on a seat designed for one person, not two people’s posteriors?

The one bright side? At least I’ll recognise her the next time I get on the train and will avoid that oh-so-tempting spare seat!