Rolled Or Folded?

Present - Wrapped

I stared blankly at the shopkeeper, with a confused smile; I was experiencing a moment of sheer perplexity. My conversation at the till in a local card and gift wrap shop had been very interesting and going well until it came to a sudden and abrupt halt. I was asked a question to which I was struggling to find an answer. The question was this…

“would you like your wrapping paper rolled or folded?”

I’m sorry, what? Can you not start me off with something a bit easier, like… ‘what causes gravity?’ or ‘if a one-legged hen laid an egg and a half in a day and a half, how long would it take a monkey with a wooden leg to eat a packet of Maltesers?’

I felt unprepared for such a demonic attack on my grey matter. When you’re on a quiz show, such as ‘Who Wants To Be a Millionaire’, they at least start you off with a simple question, such as “how do you spell ‘moron’?”, before moving on to questions of higher complexity.

After a long pause of bewilderment, and with a fleeting evil grin, I turned the question back onto her: “well, I really don’t know. What would you recommend?” I could see her brain short circuit as she stood there with a blank, confused look. It appeared that no-one had ever turned the question back onto her. After a spell of silence, she replied, “do you know what, I never can decide that myself!” Suddenly, I felt less alone in the world… 🙂

So, what should one answer? Well, let’s look at the options available in the world of gift-wrap carriage (that’s ‘carriage’ and not ‘carnage’). I could choose to have the wrapping paper rolled. I could then carry it home, wielding it like a weapon, tripping people over as I walk by and hitting old ladies over the head. I have discovered on previous occasions that there’s something special about carrying it like a baton that gives one an incredible sense of power. I suddenly transform into a superhero; ready for a bank robber to run out of the local Natwest so that I can bludgeon him to death with my flowery, pink wrapping paper roll. “I can take anyone on… oh, shit, it’s started to rain…”

The alternative option is for the shopkeeper to fold the wrapping paper. That’s much more sensible, allowing me to easily fit it into my bag. However, when I go to wrap the gift, it’s going to end up with great big folds in it. Still, if I have it rolled then it’ll end up battered anyway. So, maybe it’s the best of a bad bunch.

Do you know what? The real reason I can’t ever come with an answer to the question “would you like your wrapping paper rolled or folded?” is because I don’t care. That’s right, I don’t give a shit whether they fold the paper, roll it or make it into a giant paper hat so that I can wear it home. I mean, sod it, come up with something creative: “Would you like your wrapping paper rolled, folded or crafted into an origami swan? If you like, I can set fire to it or blu-tack it to the neighbour’s cat.”

Creativity is what is required here. Now, where did that pesky moggy go… 😉

The Humble Toothbrush

Toothbrushes

As someone who runs my own business, I’m used to making difficult decisions. However, today I found myself facing one of the most challenging decisions I’ve made in a while. That’s right – I went to buy a new toothbrush.

Before you laugh, just consider what a complicated decision it has become to choose a new toothbrush. I spent several minutes pondering, bemused, in the supermarket aisle because I couldn’t decide between green and blue, soft and firm, springy head or non-springy head, tongue cleaning or non-tongue cleaning…

What I found particularly funny, other than imagining the sight of me scratching my head infront of the toothbrushes, was some of the marketing on the toothbrush boxes themselves. For example, the toothbrush that I ended up buying (because it was on special offer) was labelled as ‘professional’. Now, what exactly does that mean – can I call myself a professional tooth brusher? There seems little justification for being awarded this title. Surely I should have attended a training course, passed an exam and been presented with a certificate before achieving such an important honour?

Having graciously accepted this title (by agreeing to pay £2.50), I wonder whether it’s time for me to update my CV to include “professional tooth brusher?” Perhaps I could also include the fact that I do a ‘professional’ job of wiping my own backside too? (though I do say so myself!)

Onto another point now, regarding product marketing. I bought some toilet rolls today and on the packaging was a big star containing the text “Voted product of the year – consumer survey of product innovation 2009”. Have I been transported back in time several centuries? According to Wikipedia, “the first documented use of toilet paper in human history dates back to the 6th century AD, in early medieval China.” So, they seem a little late in recognising this fantastic “innovation” (and, lets be honest, our bottoms wouldn’t be the same without it). One wonders what other products of ingenuity received awards at the same time – the wheel, the cocktail stick and the hairpiece, perhaps?

I can imagine that the 2010 awards will see another ‘hard fought’ competition, with the innovation of the year being something like… ah, yes, that new concept called the ‘bar of soap’…

The Temptation Of Magnetic Fridge Letters

I spent Saturday evening in the company of friends (plus others) at their house, which they share with their two children of ages three and five years. Alcohol was present (that’s not the name of one of the children) and, inevitably when people get slightly tipsy, one person had a rather childish moment…. and it was me who had that moment (why aren’t you surprised?). Well, life’s too miserable to be short… or something like that.

Having consumed a couple of drinks, I spotted a collection of plastic magnetic letters stuck to the fridge. I felt sorry for them – all jumbled up in no particular order (or possibly spelling something out in Greek) and longing, with unfulfilled ambition, to become part of a glorious word from our wonderful English language. I felt their pain (though that could have been indigestion from the sausage rolls and sandwiches). So, to appease them, I strolled over and spelled out the first word that came into my head from my extensive and colossal vocabulary…

Fridge Spelling 1

Walking slowly back to my chair, I felt happier. But I still believed, inside, that I could do better… Continue reading

Alternative Supermarket Checkout Etiquette

Supermarket Checkout

I recently wrote a blog article called Make Your Supermarket Trip Fun. Since then, life has gone a bit mad with work and a flat move. However, today I’m back and I’m…. writing about supermarkets again. I don’t live in a supermarket, believe me (but, if I did, I’d pitch my tent in the bakery aisle).

I was queueing at a supermarket checkout yesterday. Everyone was being so polite – standing in a straight line, not saying what they were thinking (“what the hell is he buying shampoo for – he’s bald?”). It got me thinking: I wonder if there are any articles on supermarket etiquette. It turns out that there are. Here’s one written for WikiHow.

However, it’s very boring, so here’s:

Robert’s Alternative Supermarket Checkout Etiquette

1. Fill up a basket with as many individual items as you possibly can – stack them high and make sure you include a watermelon and a baguette (more on that in a minute). Then, making it obvious that you’re struggling to carry the heavy weight, head to the ‘basket only’ aisle. Whilst standing in the queue attracting everyone’s attention, keep muttering the words “I’m sure I’ve forgotten something….” Next, start counting your items loudly, but keep forgetting what number you got to and start again.

2. As you stand in the queue, comment on the shopping of the person behind you. Draw particular attention to anything that could possibly be embarrassing and talk in a loud voice. “Ah, I see you’re buying a cucumber…. so, you don’t have a fella in your life at the moment then….”

3. When you get to the stage where there is one person infront of you, grab the watermelon from your basket and hurl it down the conveyor belt towards the other end. As it hits the customer’s shopping pile, and scatters their items in all directions, yell out the word “STRIKE!” and do a little celebration dance. Continue reading

Make Your Supermarket Trip Fun

Supermarket Shopping

Do you find yourself feeling bored, frustrated and disillusioned when you undertake your regular supermarket shopping expedition? It’s time to change all that!

Here’s a few challenges and ideas to make it more interesting for you and your fellow shoppers…

Challenge 1 – Don’t Shop From The Shelves

Pick yourself a trolley (try to get one that doesn’t have a wonky wheel) and enter the store. Now, before you grab for that 2-for-1 cake offer, stop. For this challenge, you’re only allowed to shop from other people’s trolleys. That’s right – you’re not allowed to put anything in your trolley that comes directly off the supermarket shelf.

I know what you’re thinking – that’s surely a bit cruel to the person you’re taking from? To help you get over the guilt, you’re allowed to replace the item you take with another similar-sized item from a supermarket shelf. Here’s an example:

You see an 85 year-old lady walking around and you spot that she has a jar of your favourite jam in her trolley. Whilst she is inspecting the tubes of Denture Cream, you creep up, take the jam and replace it with a box of PleasureMax Condoms. Problem solved – no guilt for you. Continue reading