Mrs C has been arrested.
Not for anything serious, I hasten to add. By which I mean she didn’t do it. I’m not suggesting she makes a habit of getting herself arrested or that I condone such behaviour.
What happened was this.
A few days ago, she popped into town and purchased herself a raincoat in the summer sales. In view of our current climatic conditions, it seemed a shrewd move, especially when advertised at ‘40 per cent off’, and ‘When it’s gone, it’s gone!’
That last one has always puzzled me. It goes without saying, surely, that ‘When it’s gone, it’s gone’. I’ve never seen a sign that reads ‘When it’s gone, it’s not really gone, we’ve got another one, so don’t worry yourself it’s the last one and that it’s gone. It hasn’t’. That would be pointless, as well as unnecessarily long-winded. I don’t need to be told the blindingly obvious. Nor do you, so I won’t labour the point.
She brought the coat home, and hung it over a chair. Mrs C is a cautious shopper, and likes to give herself time to reflect. Clothes often look different away from the store. No point wearing your new frock on the bus, getting it covered in gum, then deciding it’s the wrong colour, size or otherwise unfit for purpose. You can’t take it back and are stuck with the wretched thing until you die.
Or a man with a charity bag calls and says he’ll collect on Wednesday morning. Then doesn’t turn up, because, on reflection, he doesn’t want it, either.
Cut a long story short, it rained first thing this morning and Mrs C had to pop into town. Snubbing the adverse conditions, she threw caution to the wind, ripped off the price tag, flung on her new mac and was off like a goat.
Spotting a much-improved sale in the same store – this time ’60 per cent off’ and ‘Everything must go!’ – she nipped in, had a quick look round, saw that everything decent had already gone, then fled.
That was her mistake.
She was scarcely through the door when she was wrestled to the ground by two large tattooed gentlemen, in peaked caps, with little plastic badges proclaiming them to be ‘security’. At which point she was indeed ‘secured’, and the police promptly summoned.
It seems that, three hours earlier, no fewer than four of these same raincoats – identical in every respect – had been removed without permission from the store in question. And without payment, too, which only made the matter worse.
As luck would have it, Mrs C had arrived at just the moment Clark and Wayne had come on duty, having been warned a gang of international raincoat villains was at work.
Mrs C having been spotted exiting the store at speed, in a coat our heroes knew to be ’40 per cent off’ and ‘When it’s gone, it’s gone!’, they leapt into action – without a moment’s thought for their personal safety – convinced their time had come.
An angry phone call followed; after which it took me an hour to locate the receipt, and a further 40 minutes to phone for, and catch, a cab into town.
Mrs C was none too pleased and is now threatening to sue. It didn’t help that the manager, who wore a pink shirt and looked as if he once sold burgers for a living, said it wasn’t his fault and that Clark and Wayne were only doing their job. An officious police constable, having previously told Mrs C that women of her age were always up to this sort of thing, then announced he had better things to do with his time. At which point Mrs C mumbled something under her breath about ‘guns’ and ‘shooting people’ and came close to being cautioned for her trouble.
She says she won’t be patronising the store in future and I doubt the coat will ever be seen in public again.
Not unless the man from the charity shop turns up on Wednesday morning as he promised.
(The more astute among you will have noticed that, strictly speaking, Mrs C was never actually arrested. But, on this occasion, I think you’ll agree – to claim she had been did make for an arresting start.)
Thought for The Day
‘A bargain is something you cannot use at a price you cannot resist.’
(I’ve no idea who said this, but that they were clearly wise beyond their years can’t be denied)