Monday, July 23, 2007

Wetter than, well, I might just leave that one...

Last summer was a blinder. Perfect sunshine, intense heat, not a cloud in the sky. Most days it was hotter in London than it was in Portugal, Spain and the rest of the Mediterranean. But that was then, this is now. Last year at this time it was the hottest summer on record (click here for the blog on that) and now we are in the wettest on record. Mother nature, you schitzophrenic bitch!

Pa, Pa! A storm's a coming!

It hasn’t stopped raining in weeks. And this isn’t light rain. A rain drop hit me and broke my arm yesterday, I swear. Most areas of the UK are underwater in the worst floods since records began. People have drowned, died from exposure and the threat level in the UK has been raised to 'moderately peeved'. To cap it all off, now the sewers in these towns are over flowing and the water is turning toxic. It’s either that or it’s the first time most people in regional England have had a bath since December 2004 and the waters turned septic – might go with the latter.

Just look at these stats:

Items that have sold well:

Wellies – up 400%
Umbrellas – up 250
Cough and cold remedies – up 247%
Tumble driers – up 100%
Patio heaters – up 20%
Pies and carrots – up 162%
Red wine – up 30%

Items that have gone down:
Flip flops – down 27% (obviously didn't survey Aussies)
Ice creams – down 38%
BBQ – down 90%
Sun cream – down 7%
Hay fever remedies – down 30%
White wine – down 15%

The sun never sets on the British Empire – never fucking rises either apparently. To add insult to injury Eastern Europe, France and Germany are burning in a 45 degree heatwave.

When this is summer, it’s no matter that pharmacies do so well. Take Boots for example. Now Boots is the big pharmacy. It sells cold relief, plasters, panadeine, prescription drugs, sandwiches, bandages, sushi, cough syrup, shampoo, salads, moisturises…whoa, whoa whoa I hear a few voices say. There are some things in there that seem out of place – sandwiches, sushi and salads. Why yes, this really did baffle me.

Now here’s the deal - in the UK space is a premium. If you’ve got a building, you sell god damn everything!! Chemists sell soup, supermarket chains offer insurance, banks offer holiday packages and deparment stores deal in foreign exchange services. Here’s an idea that would make everything work so much better – get your core product right in the first place!

I have requested a bank statement three times now for a visa extension and HSBC have tried three times to send it to me: attempt 1 – wrong month, attempt 2 – wrong year, attempt 3 – wrong year. If you fuck up giving me a piece of paper, fat chance I'm letting you organise a holiday for me.

Although the post office does seem to work well, I will give that. I went in there on Friday with my boss to renew her car registration - I just felt like going for a walk. The lady at the counter was a little surprised when Louise said she was there to renew her rego and I chimmed in with: "I'm just here for fun." But anyway, the line moves fast, you only need to buy one stamp for nearly everything, and yes, they sell insurance, give loans and do everything a local chemist would. Another business that does it well: Starbucks. They stick with their core product. Alas I'm not too happy with them lately. Anyone got a Starbuck's girl? You know the one; a sweet Eastern European who you get your coffee off in the morning - mine was Ukranian - and have a little flirt so you walk in to work with a little pep. My mate BJ loved his Starbuck's girl he married her. Sure he wanted a Slovakian visa (he's our little mail order husband - the post office even organises that) but it would have happened anyway. Now my Starbuck's girl has actually left, now I have a gay, bald Italian saying to me every morning: "I lurve yuur aksent." Great. Now I have to go to the chemist to get my coffee.

Good segway back to Boots selling food aye??? This is where I find things bizarre. People actually go there to buy it. They walk past perfectly good sandwich shops (pommes love the humble sandwich – dedicated pre-packaged shops everywhere), pass restaurants, corner stores, pasta joints and kebab houses to walk in to a chemist, ignore prescription medicine, around the tinea cream, scuttle on when they see the condoms, take a right at the pain relief and get there hands on an over priced ham, cheese and pickle bloomer (the name of a sandwich apparently) and pay more than you would for a house to eat it.
I for one blame UK food. Starched, mass produced drivel made by cheap EU labour and packaged, shipped and sold to those with more money - ahh capitalism. You wouldn’t catch the Greeks, Germans or the French eating pre-packed sandwiches from the chemist – they’d be too busy getting their sunscreen.


At 11:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you always want what you haven't got. At least the tanks and dams are full, you don't have to shower into a bucket and pour it into the washing machine

At 2:01 AM, Anonymous alyndabear said...

Don't tell me this, I'm already miserable that it's going to fecking freezing when I arrive in England on Boxing Day!

At 8:05 AM, Anonymous LaLa said...

The packaged sandwiches upset me when I got to the UK, but I got used to it. I think I only bought my lunch from Boots once, and yes, it was shit... a mexican duck wrap from memory. WTF? How could I expect that to be good?

Yops post, vintage Bart.

At 8:23 AM, Anonymous LaLa said...

Ha. Yops Post.

That was meant to be, TOPS post.

At 1:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Thank you.


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