Saturday, 25 August 2012

117: Silver Clash

Most people would guess at pension day being the worst but they'd be mistaken. Try B&Q. On a Wednesday. 10% Diamond Card discount day. It's the extra 5 years in the blokes that does it. They can't get state pension until 65 but a Diamond Card? He only has to be 60. “Enough,” as they say, “said.”

Lots have taken an early retirement but you do get some who still work and it's usually those that feel they have something to prove. They bring the rush rush of the office with them, the deadlines and the stress and quite often, the managerial attitude. Last week one called Martin 'you boy' and he'll be 37 in October. And demanding? Cut it to this length, fold it like so, do you have a different colour/size/gauge/setting?

Summer months are often the worst, when the weather is heating up and the man is on his annual fortnight's holiday. Last year's shorts don't fit after a winter holed up on the couch, but that doesn't stop him. He'll team it with a polo shirt, collar flipped up to show how cool he is. Then he'll march round the outdoor area of the shop choosing plants and decking and trelliswork, barking orders at the staff and arranging next day delivery so he can crack on with the garden. He doesn't have all day, you know, he's a busy man.

So, what would you think is the absolute worst, the thing guaranteed to make the silver fur fly? Picture this. Diamond Card day, a town near the sea and a sale on in the barbeque department. There is a beast the size of an oil drum, 20% off the original price of £269.95, only 1 left in stock. The Diamond Card discount brings the price under £200. In the blue corner, the guy who has invited his whole family round to watch the Olympics all weekend. He's already filled the freezer with steak and premium burgers. In the red corner, the man who has spent thousands landscaping his garden and then invited all his neighbours round to it show off.

Well Martin certainly learned some words he'd never heard before, that day. The dignity of age? This pair had never heard of such a thing and both were determined not to back down. Then the wives joined in and of course, neither wanted to lose face in front of the ladies. A bit of pushing and shoving was stamped on by security, who refused to be drawn into adjudicating on greatest need. There was some chest puffing and muscle flexing, after a fashion. Then they hit on who could hold on the longest.

With only 3 hours until closing, Martin worried they might want to be locked in overnight and he would get a caution from head office. 75 minutes later the cracks started to show. Both began jiggling, just a little. Knees were bent and trousers rearranged. Curse those prostates, always misbehaving. Each man was sizing up the other, wondering if he would outlast him. They were doing so well until Martin dropped that watering can he'd been using on the hanging baskets. He'd really only just started so it was pretty much full.

They both rushed off keeping pace with each other, no doubt aiming to reconvene once they were comfortable. But a youthful 50-something saw the kerfuffle and noticed the prize. He wheeled it to the checkout, paid cash and had packed it into his boot before the first drop had been shed in anger.

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