Godot, where are you?

I had occasion to visit a branch of Stodel’s Nursery this weekend+. For those of you from out of town, this is the garden centre equivalent of the Mugg & Bean – i.e. an impressive selection of overpriced crap cunningly coupled with jaw-droppingly bad service. It seems to be a winning business plan, because they’ve sprung up all over the place.

I’d just had lunch with Salman and he invited me to join him on an excursion to Milnerton’s premier emporium of garden goodies. He needed to buy a bag of Doctor Agri’s Magic Manure Mix (Now With Added Kryptonite-Based Lawn Steroids!) for the fucked up section of his garden where the aliens landed – or so he claims. I suspect that the bare patch may have had a more down-to-earth origin – such as an early-morning-after-a-serious-bender-stomach-contents-emptying episode, but that’s just a theory.

Having acquired the correct sack of fertiliser, we proceeded to the checkout counter where we waited…and waited… And. Bloody. Waited. Perhaps I’m an incurable optimist, but when there’s only one customer ahead of me in the line, I really don’t expect geological ages to pass before I get served. Salman and I had long since moved beyond cabbages and kings++, before he was able to finally conclude his transaction.

It would appear that Slowdel’s has a corporate policy that requires all their cashiers to either sustain a severe head injury immediately before reporting for duty, or at least have the ability to put on a sufficiently convincing act.

+ I know. What an utterly sordid life I lead

++ We were debating the relative merits of deliberately using cheap-ass imported Russian fencing foils as part of an overall competitive strategy

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28 thoughts on “Godot, where are you?

  1. Garden centres in the UK are the country’s new shrines. They certainly get a hell of a lot more worshippers(no pun intended)than the Anglican church.

    And what stuff. Garden furniture fit for(and affordable only by) kings, barbies from Australia costing more than small cars, hats, caps, capes, every description of country clothing, wellies of every imaginable hue, kneeling troughs (don’t ask) spades, forks, loppers, peanuts, sunflower seed, bird baths, bird nests, binoculars, books on every possible subject from English cricket during the 1940’s to steam trains, hedge cutters, chain saws, restaurants. And, of course, the ubiquitous English gardener.

    What is it about English women that they wait for everything to go through the till and then react like startled rabbits when presented with the bill? Money? You want money? How inconvenient!

    All of a sudden the frantic search begins. This often requires all sorts of other goods to be deposited on the counter – packets of tissues, mobile, phone car keys, house keys, creams, unguents, lipsticks, tampons, iPod, assorted pills and large piles of unidentifiable fluff. Such activity generally requires a long discussion about handbags with the till driver, while the rest of the queue stands patiently by.

    Women. Aren’t they wonderful?

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  2. Two men walking around the garden centre together? There’s an English equivalent – two men walking around Ikea. Is there anything you want to tell us? 🙂

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  3. peas: No, but I did briefly flirt with the idea of rearranging the ceramic frogs and gnomes into various pornographic poses.

    urk: My mama says the same thing.

    inyoka: I seem to have touched a nerve.

    other-duke: And that is how they break your will.

    alan & ‘zilla: I don’t know – I’m just so confused…

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  4. Allow me to be uncharacteristically positive [please be seated to avoid unpleasant repercussions of shocked reaction] but I have never received anything but great service at my local Stodels, in Kenilworth. I think, perhaps, the error in your ways was venturing out towards Milnerton. Everyone knows that’s just a totally ridiculous thing for any sane person to do. [And no, I’m not inviting you to bounce a joke off that declaration.]

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  5. bad service, for a change had me smiling the other day. February’s edition of Wine magazine came with a restaurant guide called “Dine 2007”, in which it lists the “top” restaurants in SA and gives you a synopsis of their menu, average pricing, winelist… and quality of service. Not once in that guide is any restaurant ever rated as having anything below “adequate” or “leisurely-paced” service.

    My ass! Have these idiots ever been to a restaurant in Cape Town?

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  6. chitty: I KILL YOU NOW!!!!!!!

    mjw: Kenilworth? Seriously? The last time I went there, I thought I’d stumbled onto the set of a local remake of Dawn of the Dead

    ant: Leisurely. Oh, that’s good [translation: glacial]

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  7. no matter where i go, or what shop it is, or what time of the day or week, or which queue i pick, there is about an 82% chance that the person in front of me is going to have some kind of issue that requires manager assistance. I’m no longer able to judge the speed of any queue objectively, because my mere presence will ensure that the person in front of me has an item that doesn’t scan, or an expired credit card, or is paying with 5c coins, or is catching up on every bill for the last 3 months.

    That said i have to agree that my lone visit to the Kenilworth Stodels was uneventful. Maybe zombies don’t buy house-plants.

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  8. Kyk, Alan has a point. Next time we should flounce around a farmers’ co-op or hardware store. That should take the curse off.

    I had no idea that Ikea sold lawn dressing.

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  9. moonflake: 82% huh? Sounds like a story for Carte Blanche to me.

    alan: Hey, I didn’t ask to be ugly. What ever happened to inner beauty?

    salman: Power tools. Fuck yeah!! Thanks for the quiche, by the way.

    parenthesis: Yeah, but I’m no common-or-garden customer.

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  10. Perhaps if the two of you had continued your conversations on said bare patch in Salman’s lawn there wouldn’t have been a need to purchase fertilizer..?
    😉

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  11. terri: I’m sure there’s a cunningly-disguised barb in there somewhere. I just know it. Shit, what could it be? Never mind, I KILL YOU NOW!!!!!

    parenthesis: Nah, it’s because you’re soooo sexy on the phone.

    kevin: I’m not sure if “but Kevin said it was okay” is gonna fly with the judge.

    granny wrangler: I think they use hemp in some of their compost. It’s good shit, man.

    angel: It’s more of guideline, but many places are adopting it as a policy.

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