Saturday, 19 March 2016


We all know in our clever secret store of mistrust that this is an often unfair, sometimes malign and now and then positively evil world. Yet if you are like me, I believe in the overall intention of goodness. It is the yoghurt based icing on the carrot cake of life, not the teeth and tongue-squelching, sugar-compounded, startlingly mounded and intricate architectural snow-scapes of white gunk icing on the gloriously sickly wedding cake of life that I seek. I just want to walk into a store and recognize the ingredients are wholesome. 

I persist in the pursuit of goodness. The charming shop assistant in a store now transformed into a safe haven of knowledge and competitive pricing. Not that awful shambles of yester-year. Here is a cooker I want to to purchase. There is, admittedly a startling lack of brochure explaining the ins and outs of each of these white goods. So we rely for information on these knowledgeable gods and goddesses gliding about and sweeping us into their good humoured arms.
"Yes, Madam, Sir, this will be the cooker for you. As the advertisement says, it is full programmable and is on offer at the moment with an instant cashback too."
So, us upwardly mobile peasants in White Goods Land feel somewhat secure. We list out our choices and revisit the store a couple more times to be sure. We aren't daft. We check online and find even there is not much more information. But, come on, everything is so well made these days and we aren't risking the El Cheapo range. We are mid-range purchasers.
We select cooker, fridge freezer and dishwasher. We decide to wait till autumn to complete the life time purchase set with washer drier. We investigate purchasing our goods from a variety of sources. We fix on a well known large megastore which is just down the road and therefore good to pop in and ask questions if anything goes wrong.
Time passes. We have been happy enough with a 28 year old cooker from the El Cheapo range and a freezer down at the bottom on the garden in the garage. We have shunned the concept of dishwashers, feeling that act of hand washing up to be something more honest and direct. The upgrade of white goods will be a once in what is left of life purchase. It will improve the way we live. From a cooker that is either hot, medium hot or off, with a hob that takes quarter of an hour to warm up or cool down, we shall have this ceramic-hobbed double-ovened pal. Following recipes will be a worthwhile pursuit at last. Less disappointing flop cakes and burnt pans. No more trips down to the freezer in the dark with a torch to get a loaf out for the morning or put the ice cream back. No more discovering that one's washing up ain't what it used to be, due to not wearing one's glasses when engaged in this task.
Transformation of the home environment is going to be hell. The process can't avoid chaos. Like the bear hunt, I have to go through it. Can't go round it or under it. Through is inevitable.
So we re-enter the Temple of White Goods, now in some despair at not being able to fit the dishwasher due to an unusual fitting on the end of a pipe, after three attempts to contact Customer Services and visits to B&Q and a local plumbing outlet. At one end of the Great Emporium of White Goods, we approach two people doing nothing at a counter and, almost before the words leave my mouth, a long confident finger is pointed to the other end of the Great Emporium of White Goods. "That way Madam, Sir" and off we hike. Heading at first for the wrong women who is blatantly ignoring us as she has her coat on and eyes cast down, we are summoned by another "This way please Madam, Sir". This is an ordinary gal who listens to our issue of inability to fit a dishwasher. Midstream she walks off through the glittering false idols of happiness and we gather that she is expecting us to follow in her wake as she leads us back to the other end of the Great Emporium of White Goods. Here we are going to address that very tall pleasant chappy who first enticed us to believe confidently that our local megastore was the place to buy. But, what is this? He isn't so interested? Wobbly, I can't process this, so I leave Martin to deal with it and stroll off to ogle some false idols of happiness. Wow! a Crockpot! Wow! a pink iron. Wow! a wall-sized Smart TV. Calmer now I return and the very tall pleasant chappy has gone back stage to seek a part. But has he really gone to "seek a part" or isn't he really just fibbing and going for a cup of tea? He returns with nothing and next thing I know the ordinary gal has found another ordinary gal (who quite frankly needs a better brassiere) and who actually says " I have no idea what I am doing", as we trail off behind the ordinary gal who is busy making some pretence of authority. We are going to phone Customer Services apparently! I do have to mutter at this point that I have done this three times already with no success...IF YOU ARE PHONING ABOUT BLA BLA PRESS BLA BLA IF YOU ARE PHONING ABOUT BLA BLA BLA PRESS BLA BLA BLA IF YOU ARE LA LA PRESS LA LA IF YOU AAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaah..STOP IT AND REDIAL...eventually you get through to the wrong place and are snakes and laddered back to somewhere mid call that you painfully recognise from twenty minutes ago and the deja vus causes great swellings of grief for your folly in ever expecting to succeed in a discussion over this matter. PHONE DOWN!!
So now we are in the retailer from whom the goods were purchased and the woman in a poor bra is going through the same process. This time the end game is that after all the utter shite of prevarication the number is engaged. I can't help but notice that after his back stage cup of tea, the Very Tall Previously Really Pleasant Guy is now utterly absorbed in a long casual chat with another assistant. Presumably planning their trip to the Himalayas later this year. I have taken two more walks around the Emporium of White Goods and considered in detail several more false idols, including something called a "game" which is a remote controlled smallish plastic rolly-polly thing that can do meagre looking stunts and comes in blue and white or black and white and has its own video show. I earnestly pray for a return to an interest in hop-scotch and bowling the hoop. Once more a little calmer, I hover around the bra-impeded woman and Martin and the familiar engaged tone and apologetic message about how sorry they are that everyone is real busy now and can't be asked to respond to us and I suspect they are all having cups of tea. Bra-impeded woman, who I am sure is really nice, looks worried as she overhears me confess to Martin that I am about to get extraordinarily angry or burst into floods of tears and possibly a combination of both. I decided that for the sake of all and sundry and possibly quite a few false idols, I had better get out of the Emporium of White Goods before I completely blow a fuse. I am told to go and sit in the car and I agree. I sit in the car and take out a pen and notebook and write.....
The dishwasher will be fitted for us on Sunday. Now we only have to deal with the replacement of the cooker. 
Nothing to worry about there then!