7 Dec 2008
It is a common sign of advancing years that one finds policemen are getting younger. I suffer from a related symptom, and am finding that Father Christmases are getting younger. This disappointment has been blunted by finding that, unlike every other Christmas, the goods I am looking at in the shops are going down in price rather than up. I would have done some shopping last week in Woolworths, but didn’t have half a day to spend in the queue at checkout.
The fundamentals of Christmas shopping have changed dramatically. As a child, I knew exactly what I wanted, but didn’t know what to give other people. Now I know exactly what to give other people, (because they are good enough to tell me); but I don’t know what I want. I already have a goodly number of spare rear lights for my bicycle, and I had been given six 2009 diaries before the beginning of December. I have a drawer full of mouse mats, more paintings than space to hang them, calendars from almost every village in North West Hants, tea towels and commemorative mugs from schools and churches.
The immediate problem is what to buy my wife. As she occasionally reads my articles, there are restrictions on what I can say without diminishing her excitement on December 25th.
She has asked for a new ******** to replace the one which I passed on to her three years ago, when I bought myself a new one. She would like it to be faster and quieter than the one she has now, and to break down less often.
So I put ******** into a search engine and ordered a 2008 model with a large ***** and extra *** for £***.99. It has a low carbon footprint, low energy costs, a long life-cycle and additional security features.
My order was rejected because the delivery address was different from the address at which my credit card is registered. It generated a call from fraud control, which had to be answered before an important line of credit was cut off.
I then ordered the same model from *m*z*n, but at £***.99 plus £**. They did not have the same sensitivities about which address they delivered to and accepted the order.
Two days later, they apologised. Their stock control system was at fault. The ********was not in stock, and the next delivery to them would take place on December 24th. Unless it was put straight onto Santa’s sleigh, it was unlikely to arrive in time. I was given the option of cancelling the order, which I did. But while *m*z*n’s stock control system was at fault, its system for extracting money from my bank account had worked perfectly.
Now I will have to go to *****’s in ****** St, Andover and get her a c**k**y b**k.