Sleight of Sign

I like to think of myself as cucumberesque, that my cage is difficult to rattle and my stack is rarely blown. (The crude oral sex reference you just thought of is all your own work.) Admittedly I do live my life on the edge of a permanent, yet silent, nark but rarely do I get that cold twist in my stomach that leads me to rise to any bait. Today was different, today I got the proper hump. In my defence it was quite early in the morning and as I am not one of those weird ‘larks’ who are cheerful as soon as the sun rises, I am taking a stance of indisputable justification for my response to the following situation.

I was in need of some rubber matting, the why for I won’t bore you with, so I trundled off to my preferred supplier for such things, the Aladdin’s cave that is ‘Poundland’. (The cheap retail outlet, not the pole-dancing establishment.) Sadly I did not acquire what I was after but I did decide to indulge in an impulse purchase because I had made the effort to get there and there’s no point going home empty-handed when everything on offer is so frugally priced. What caught my eye was a hot glue gun, my thinking being it would come in handy sometime or other, and I also grabbed a pack of glue sticks to use with the hot glue gun because I’m occasionally switched on enough to do things right. Items in my mitt, heart filled with joy, I headed for the tills.

Waiting patiently in the queue, my chi in perfect harmony, I clocked a large tube of Smarties obviously left over from the recent Christmas stock judging by the snow scene packaging. Falling victim to clever POS pressure I decided the nostalgic sugar rush would be a perfect complement to my new hot glue gun, so I grabbed the kaleidoscopic hard-shelled treats and added them to my haul. The price was sweet too, only 50p…this should have rung an alarm of warning about the troubles I was about to face but to my shame it didn’t and did not do so until many hours after the event.

Let me share with you the script that will inevitably form part of the future biopic of my life…

“Morning, mate,” said I.
“Morning,” said the till jockey.
“I’ll take these three items, please.”
“Certainly.” Beep. Beep. Beep. “That’s four pounds fifty, please.”
“What? Four pounds fifty? But I’ve only got three items.”
“Yeah, the hot glue gun and the glue sticks are two quid each.”
“What the fuck? How can they be two quid each, this is Poundland, not fucking Twopoundland.”
“We sell quite a few things that are more than a pound.”
“What?! That’s bang out of order. Then it’s not fucking Poundland is it, it’s…fucking…fucking…Land…it’s just fucking Land.”
“I just work here, mate, do you want the stuff or not?”
“No, shove it up your arse,” I said. “In fact shove it up both your arses because you’ve probably got two despite appearances to the contrary, much like the fraudulent sign on your shopfront suggest one pound. Singular. And take it from me, sir, I shall not be gracing this establishment with my presence, nor offering over any or my hard earned cash in the future. Good fucking day to you.”

To be honest the latter part of that reconstruction (and all the swearing throughout) may not have happened. The truth might be closer to the fact I checked in my pocket and found I only had £3.25 on me, a tad shy of the asking price; plus the other customers behind me were getting restless at the thought of some dickhead causing a delay, so I left without my treasured items. I also never made the threat of never darkening their doorstep again because I know I will be back…I have a problematic addiction to cheap tat. I did crack the ‘…just Land.’ witticism though, of which I am unashamedly quite proud.

Thing is, I was a little pissed off I had to abandon my hot glue gun and glue sticks because on realising I wanted them (which I hadn’t on entering the shop) it was going to be a little win early on in the day and so a good sign for the forthcoming hours. Sans my new hot glue gun I knew the pattern of the day ahead would be one mild annoyance after another and so it proved to be in the main all because of false advertising.

Once I had got home I decided to check this racket out and see if this was a new thing because if it wasn’t there was bound to be a heated forum, run by ‘hate-til-I-die-476’, about it somewhere on-line. Sure enough I discovered I was way behind the curve again and this fallacious marketing had been going on since at least March 2015*. I can only assume I must have been lucky in the past four years to have always picked gear up that stuck to the original ethos of the chain’s raison d’étre.

So what’s going on? All these years of trading under the false banner of ‘Poundland’ is surely not right. It’s like walking into a Ferrari showroom and being told they only sell BMWs; or going into ‘Hot Tub World’ to be faced with a display of shoes…or cutlery…or dildos…actually that might work in relation to hot tubs judging by some of the ‘specialist’ films they’ve featured in. The point being it is no longer exclusively ‘Poundland’ and as such should have to amend its handle in line with its evolving place in the market. I’m sure there are other campaigns on the internet requesting the exact same thing but I’m hoping mine is the only one demanding the name should be changed to ‘Land’, as I’m still quite proud of that off the cuff quip aimed at an innocent employee.

Don’t get me wrong the fact it didn’t register at the time that the Smarties at 50p also did not cost £1 is a bit of an embarrassment, I can only assume I blanked that out as it was a price deviation in my favour. That’s by the by though, I am still a real victim because I was denied my £1 hot glue gun and if that’s not as bad as a violent physical assault on my person I don’t know what is. If I was younger I could probably sue for stress-related damages but I’m not so I will have to be happy with demanding my very reasonable company name change requirement. See to it, Poundland, you’ve got until the end of the month to repaint your signs ‘Land’. No doubt you’ve probably got a load of paint on sale for a quid to do the job…or is that more expensive too, you sneaky bastards?

*In fact the Advertising Standards Agency have been on Poundland’s back about this for ages but acknowledging that would have taken much of the steam, and point, out of this rant and I was enjoying the cathartic process of writing it down . Plus I was completely ignorant of these facts until today, standing at the till moaning about the loss of my hot glue gun; if you were not as ignorant as I was I can only pretend to apologise for wasting your time.