Have you got change for a punch?

As I get older I am becoming more thoughtful I think. More thoughtful of other people, their lives, the World, and as result I’m trying to act accordingly. More in accordance with my ever changing views of what it is to be a decent human being. My Twitter account will tell you that I am just trying to be a better man than I was yesterday.  This is true. With age comes hindsight and with hindsight comes regret. To be human is to evolve. I think I am evolving, finally. I am increasingly aware of my own inadequacies and desperate not to inflict my failings on my children. Parenthood is helping me in my quest for patience and self-improvement.  That and meditation.  And whisky.

However some things just get my goat.  No matter how I try to positively spin them, some things just seem sent to test my resolve……

If this were your simple shopping list….

  1. Bread
  2. Milk
  3. Bottled water
  4. Butter
  5. Eggs
  6. Newspaper
  7. Toilet paper

and you walked to your corner shop, bearing in mind that ‘The Corner Shop’ was invented to assist the local community when they run out of the bare essentials, and the lady behind the counter informed you that you were bang out of luck with everything.  What would your reaction be? Would you shrug and go the extra mile – literally – to Asda?  Or would you do without and go home empty handed?

But. What if this was not in fact one shopping list and one visit?  What if it was seven shopping lists and seven visits? What would you reaction be then? How would you respond if every item that you have ever attempted to purchase was out-of-stock or, never even in stock?

SEVEN TIMES  I have called upon the services of my local corner shop and SEVEN TIMES the lady behind the counter has looked me square in the eye and has breezily informed me that…

‘Run out love’

or my personal favourite

‘Don’t stock it’

SEVEN times in retort I have stared back, stunned, and repeated her response verbatim back to her

Her: I don’t stock milk

Me: You don’t stock milk?


Her: I haven’t got any bread

Me: You haven’t go any bread?

SEVEN times I have nearly blown the till off the counter with my trademark dramatic sigh. In fairness though, the till is probably very light as it’s most likely empty, because there’s no money it, BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T SELL ANYTHING.I am superb at sighing by-the-way, just to go off at a tangent for a  moment.  I have recently realised that I have a tendency to sigh, dramatically, when I’m not happy about something. It seems I do this because I think that in not verbalising my displeasure, it makes me a more patient and ultimately better man. However I really want the person in question to know I am displeased, so I attempt to blow their wig off with a superb sigh. Like I say, I am evolving. Slowly

I have never run a shop I admit, but if I did, I would try a little harder to make it a success I am sure.  I’d ascertain who my target customers were? I’d make judgements about what those customers might run out of, or what they might want to just nip around the corner in their slippers to buy? I’d consider any cultural implications and stock accordingly.  I’d put some flaming effort into it heavens sake.  I know myself well enough to know that I would consider not having something that a customer wanted to buy a massive failure, and would certainly make sure that I had it in stock for the next time. If I were repeatedly forced to tell people that they were unable to spend their money in my shop, I’d seriously consider whether or not my ‘shop’ were fit for purpose. Or am I being unreasonable?

My fruitless shopping trips are, when all said and done, my fault I suppose, when you think about it.  I keep walking in to the same trap. I am the very definition of insanity.  Each time we unexpectedly run out of the absolute bare essentials, I think surely, SURELY she’ll have it.  There is no way on God’s green earth she won’t have toilet paper.

Her: No call for it.

Me: No call for it?  I’ve got a ****** call for it.This was the straw that broke the camel’s back, in this story. Not only did shopkeeper lady leave me without toilet paper, she set in motion a chain of events that led to me being a ‘figure of fun’ for others in a way that displeases me.

As a result of my corner shop not stocking toilet paper (!) I was forced to stand in the street at 9pm on a wet evening having a conversation with my wife on the mobile about how I hardly knew her friends that live just across the road from the shop, and how I really didn’t feel comfortable knocking on their door and asking to borrow a toilet roll. In an attempt to be a more patient man, I relented and stood in the rain for five minutes waiting for a ‘they are expecting you, be nice‘ text from my wife. Furthermore, I said nothing, NOTHING,  as I was laughed at by a complete stranger, my wife and my wife’s friends that I hardly know, after begging for a toilet roll at the WRONG FRONT DOOR. Have you ever noticed how black the colour green looks in the dark. No?  Me neither.

SO. I hereby publicly vow ne’er to darken her door again, no matter how much I believe that she surely must stock something I urgently need. I will not make that same mistake eight times.  I’ll drink black tea.  I’ll eat dry toast.  I’ll wipe my bottom on a my wife’s socks or even better, I’ll install a bidet.

Corner shop lady should be ashamed of herself.  Arkwright would be t…t…t….turning in his grave.



  1. That's so funny.

    We had a corner shop that went out of their way to get in what I asked for … in bulk … and then laid on the guilt if I didn't buy their bulk purchase? Seriously, who needs 6 jars of star anise? I wanted one star, I've still got 5 and a half jars left!

    Love the toilet roll story as well, in fact I'm still chuckling about it now …

  2. I am now on 'hello' terms with the lady I tried cajole a loo roll out of by mistake. She offered me one too in the end, but I was too ashamed. Wifey received my stern look on my return home.

    I have never cooked with star anise…are you posh?

  3. International calling cards and booze. At one time in my life it would have been the perfect corner shop. But no longer.
    I think I recall seeing some shake 'n' vac on my last visit.

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