Here’s the story of money, life, and Argos.
You know kids, your parents will tell you that money can’t buy you happiness, but let me tell you this: they could not be any more wrong. Seriously, if you’re down in the doldrums, money will buy you things that will make you infinitely happier. This is, quite possibly, something else I can add to my list of reasons why I’d be a terrible parent, what with my terrible life lessons. Incidentally, also on that list are ‘all children hate me’ and ‘don’t like being covered in baby vomit’. It’s as if someone has poured several really hot tubs of Müller yoghurt all over you and they just so happen to smell of rotten eggs. I’ve had a rough week, readers. What made me happy seems to have vanished into the ether. So I went and bought myself a sixth generation iPod Touch. I needed one, sure, but the events of this week really felt like the push I needed. Like a sign from God. Maybe. And I tell you what, you should’ve seen me when I opened the packaging. I was dancing on the ceiling, I was. Jumping for joy, gleeful like a kid on Christmas morn. I also made several extremely high-pitched noises that I’ve never made before. I was like all those girls you see at all those vintage clips of Beatles concerts…
Getting it wasn’t easy, though. Argos is a pain in the arse. For any non-British people reading, Argos is one of the UK’s most famous retail brands. But they’re not like any other shop. You see, in most shops, you have a shop floor full of products. And if you like a product, you pick it up and you take it to the tills and give the till lady some money. Congratulations! You’ve just purchased an item! Welcome to the modern world. It’s a wonderful system, isn’t it? Nothing wrong with that system, is there? It’s absolutely perfect, right? But, for some reason, Argos thought it would be a good idea to turn this system on its head.
Forget the products. You go in, and you are greeted with several benches full of catalogues with all of the products Argos sell. Except they don’t. They’re always out of date. By a couple years. Nowadays, they have these fancy touch screen things alongside the catalogues. They’re always up to date. They’re not very sensitive, though. You have to really press quite hard, and sometimes you have to punch it. You may think this will make you look quite crazy, but, in fact, everybody is acting the same way, so, in fact, what appears to be madness to the outside world, is, in fact, perfectly normally inside the kooky world of Argos.
These screens tell you how many they have in stock. They also have a code. You write the code on a bit of paper with these tiny, tiny pencils that you can barely hold on to, and you take the bit of paper to the till lady. You pay for your item and you’re given a number and a collection point. Well, I mean, they do try to flog you all kinds of insurance and other gubbins that just goes right through you. It’s like the user agreement Apple keeps giving us. It’s 46 pages long and nobody really cares about it or pays much attention to it.
So you take your receipt with your number and collection point on it, and you go and sit down in a little area elsewhere in the shop. It’s usually a few seats facing a huge counter with a huge warehouse clearly visible behind. And you see all these miserable workers with headphones on being told by the till ladies what the people sitting in front of them want. You then hear a voice saying, “Number 465 to collection point A.”
Except this time, they called numbers 464, 465, 466 and 467 all at the same time, so it was a bit crazy and disorganised. Of course, the pièce de résistance to this entire shambles is the fact that Argos now point blank refuse to give you a plastic bag. So you have to carry everything like some bleedin’ performing circus monkey. Sigh.
Does any of this make any sense? I just can’t see why they took the perfect shopping experience… and ruined it. You might be wondering why these chumps are still in business. Funny story, that. It’s the cheapest place to buy anything. Over £30 cheaper for a brand new iPod Touch in that shop than any other shop. So yes, it is a pain in the arse, but it’s a welcome pain in the arse, and there aren’t that many pains in the arse that are that welcome.
And no, you can’t buy one off the internet. Nobody in to collect the delivery, is there? Mum and dad are going away this week, after all. And I’m out at work experience. And all our neighbours work. Which means it’ll go back to the delivery depot warehouse place. And, after six days, they send it back to the manufacturer and refuse to refund you. And where’s the depot? A half an hour drive away. And I don’t have a car! It’s not like the olden days when they used to put it behind your bins, out of sight. And we asked a delivery person once why that is. “Oh, if my bosses find out, I’m fired on the spot.” Disgusting, really. Yes, I am starting 2016 by praising the olden days. I always will do and I aint ever changing, guys.
I know it’s not like me to buy things to cheer myself up. I’ve never really treated myself to anything. I think the most expensive thing I’ve bought myself is toothpaste. £5! Mind you, I do use whitening toothpaste, but that’s a secret, so don’t tell anyone. But you should see how shiny my new iPod is! I mean, I don’t work for Apple. I know it seems like I’m praising them a lot, but I’m really not. In fact, I’ll counter that criticism with this – Apple are awful. I’m sure it’s a terrible place to work and their computers are a joke. But oh, their iPods are so sexy and desirable. And that’s how they get you. I am, unashamedly, an Apple whore…
Of course, some may say that I shouldn’t have bought one. That it was an impulse purchase. But I really needed cheering up. And what else is gonna cheer me up? I have no friends. I mean, I did, but, after this week, not anymore, through no fault of my own. I have no one I can talk to. I’ve had a bad week at work. You know, when you spend months working on something that you’re very proud of. Something your boss tells you is utter shit and tells you starts again. So then, you go and engage in your favourite hobby, only to get soaked in our horrific rainstorms that the UK has been suffering from, rainstorms that have, incidentally, knocked our phone connection out for a couple weeks. And you go to your happy place on the internet and everybody starts hating on you. That iPod is pretty much all I have right now. And it makes me happy.
So no, I don’t think it was an impulse purchase nor do I think I’m sending a bad message. It’s an escape and when you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, you need an escape. Especially in a week when the best thing that’s ever happened to you, a thing that’s moved in to your heart and made itself comfortable, is brutally torn away from you and will never return. A week when you have to try to fathom what life now is and where you go from here. My message isn’t, ‘Hey, if you’re feeling blue, kids, go and buy a Ferrari!’ It’s, ‘Make sure you always have something that makes you smile – it doesn’t matter what it is – because if you’re feeling blue, it’ll cheer you up.’
I hope this sadness will go away soon. Events in our lives are milestones and they’re important because when we look back on them, only then do we realise how far we’ve come.
Now, if you don’t mind, I’m off to download Angry Birds…
American writer and illustrator, Theodor ‘Dr. Seuss’ Geisel (1904-1991), once said: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
Peace Out :|:
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