Honest to a fault...

>> Sunday, 9 December 2007

So, picture the scene...

It's Saturday morning. La Famille Potty is heading for a shop on High St Kensington, having dragged ourselves out of bed early (for the weekend, anyway), in order to miss the pre-Christmas shopping rush. We found a parking spot somewhere in outer Nebraska - bearing in mind we live a mile away it would probably have been quicker to walk - and the weather god decided that to serve us right for being so unenvironmentally friendly, he would do exactly what he had been threatening to do when we decided to take the car, and unleash a deluge from the heavens. But not, of course, until we were half way between the car and the shops, having decided that no, we wouldn't need our umbrellas after all...

I say: I've been thinking for a while now that I really must buy one of those barbour type hats for situations like this...

He says: God, you're turning into my mother

I say: Have you ever tried pushing the buggy and holding an umbrella? (we have a pantechnicon buggy, btw. A word to the wise - never leave it until the last stages of pregnancy to go buggy shopping, when pre-birth hormones and back pain make you take your eye off the ball for long enough that your husband can persuade you an 'off-road' version is necessary for the mean streets of Chelsea. On the other hand, we're still using it 4 years and 2 children later...)

Boy #1 says: Mama, mama! My gloves are getting wet! (We really need to get him on an Outward Bound course soonest.)

Boy #2 says: nothing. He is smugly silent in the depths of the pantechnicon, enjoying the comfortable tent-like sensation of being warm and dry whilst the rest of drip forlornly along the pavement...

We reach the shop, wet and cross. After sending a hapless sales assistant out the back to look for particular sizes we discover that oh, actually they're on the rail already, and the boys are half undressed at the back of the shop by the time he returns to tell us that there is no more stock, so he can't help us. Never mind, I say. We'll try and make do with these...

A hot half hour ensues, pushing and pulling Boys #1 and #2 into and out of various matching jacket and salopette combos (yes, I had better come clean. Not only do we drive to High St Ken, but we are going on that most environmentally unfriendly of holidays, a ski trip. Come on - it's Sunday and my husband has spent the whole day in the office; I have to have something to look forward to...).

We make a decision; Boy #1 gets the reasonably OK stuff as he is supposedly going to actually have a go at skiing this year. (Although given the moaning about wet gloves I'm beginning to wonder how successful that will be). We go for a larger size, obviously - so he may even get to wear it twice. Once when he has his first ski lesson this year and then refuses to go back again, and once next. Boy #2 gets the cheap stuff since all he will be doing is rolling about in the snow. Although given his adventuresome tendancies I have images in my head of his stealing his brother's skis and stomping off up the slope to show that woosy older brother of his how it's done...

(Don't laugh. It's more than possible... )

I take it up to the till point to pay.

Assistant says: That'll be £xx.xx

I say: Are you sure? (Thinking simultaneously; I'm sure that should be around £30 more and shut up! shut up!)

She says: Yes, £xx.xx

I say: I really think it might be more. I'm sure those salopettes are charged separately. (Thinking: What are you doing? Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!)

She says: I don't think so (clearly thinking; who is this wet crazy bxxch trying to pay more than she needs to?)

I say: You should check (Thinking: when Husband finds out, you are SO going to get it for this).

Husband arrives with the boys in tow, having spent the last 10 minutes trying to pull Boy #1 away from the cabinet with the goggles in. Boy #1 may not be your outdoorsy type, but he already knows how to accessorise... The assistant is grumpily checking her catalogue, and after 4 minutes of leafing through finally finds the right page. A queue is building up behind me, and I hear consternation and whispers of 'can you believe she's pointed out she should be paying MORE?'

He says quietly: You're not doing what I think you are, are you?

I think: Busted.

She says: Oh yes, that's right. That'll be £xxx.xx (note the additional 'x').

I hand over my credit card, waiting for the 'thankyou'. Which never comes.


And I am. SO in trouble... I tried to blame pre-Christmas madness, my dad's honest gene, and the fact that I have a pathalogical fear of being found out (which is probably all that the 'honest gene' ever is), but Husband's not buying it. He just thinks it's idiotic. He has a point - we've spent enough money in that shop recently; we deserve a discount...

But what would YOU have done?


Tracey 10 December 2007 at 04:43  

I'm tarred with the same brush, though inconsistently. I think it depends on how awake my conscience is that day. Funny how we'd all jump up and down if the figures were reversed. You really shouldn't be ashamed about it. Mind you, the fact that the shop assistant didn't say Thank You marks that shop down as Conscience Free in the future, I reckon!

How long and how often are you going skiing? Would it be cheaper to hire ski gear for the kids?

Potty Mummy 10 December 2007 at 11:35  

Hi Tracey, you're probably right, it would have been cheaper - but who knows, they may get more wear out of it than just one trip and we can always hope for snow here that they can roll around in. (In my dreams...).

As for the shop - Conscience Free it is. Ellis Brigham is the culprit, in case you're wondering...

aims 10 December 2007 at 16:46  

Having been a shop owner myself - I know I would have thanked you.

However - that time was long ago and far away - and nowadays - everything - is made in a sweatshop somewhere and costs peanuts - it's the stores that put the huge markups on things.

So - a little savings here and there with mistakes isn't going to hurt the store too much. You watch - the same things will be the price you were going to pay once the season is over with.

We've been wearing our long johns here for quite some time...what's rain?

Potty Mummy 10 December 2007 at 20:44  

I know I should be grateful that it's rain and not snow, Aims, but we get so little of the white stuff here that even though it's cold, wet, and incredibly inconvenient, it still gets me as excited as a little child. (For about 5 minutes, anyway, until I have to pull the buggy up the slippery steps to the street...). It just looks so ...pretty. 'Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens' etc etc...

I know. I should spend a winter in a snowy climate and then it would seem less fun.

Mya 10 December 2007 at 21:11  

I would have kept my trap shut - but my Dad wouldn't have.

We had an all terrain pushchair - and not once did I go jogging with it, off roading, dune or snow ski-ing. I just used to swear at it a lot because it was so heavy I couldn't lift it out of the car - and I was always getting jammed in shop doorways. And yes, we bought it about a week before Sprog popped out. Go figure.

Mya x

Motheratlarge 10 December 2007 at 22:02  

I don't know what I'd have done!

Thank you for the pointer about all-terrain buggies. I fell into exactly the trap you describe - and have the disc brakes and three-wheeler to prove it. Like you, I'm quite pleased with it, but would never have bought it sans husband's enthusiasm.

Potty Mummy 10 December 2007 at 22:13  

Mya, so true, the only jogging I've ever done with it is running to beat the pedestrian light change, and that stuck in doorways thing is infuriating! There are shops I don't bother with because I know that it would be like trying to take a camel through the eye of a needle.

And MaL: disc brakes, handbrakes, what's that all about? I have them too and frankly, why? Men can be sneaky on this one - you'd think I would have been old enough not to get conned. But no.

Pig in the Kitchen 10 December 2007 at 22:34  

i think i would've kept quiet! loved your description of boy#2 in the pram, i wanted to be in there too, warm, dry, safe (not while boy#2 is in there as well, that would be weird. And possibly illegal)

Potty Mummy 10 December 2007 at 22:48  

Hi Pig, I know what you mean, and have considered the possibility often of ducking in for a quick rest. I don't think the hydraulics could take my weight, though...

Iota 13 December 2007 at 22:40  

What? You were in Outer Nebraska and didn't pop in to see me? You could have parked in my drive.

Potty Mummy 14 December 2007 at 14:32  

Iota, hello! Sorry I didn't pop in - you know how we londoners are, just too shy to rock up at people's door unannounced. Next time, though, I promise to stop by...

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