A Word in your ear - September 12, 2013

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Snobbery is no bad thing, in small measure.

It reveals much about ourselves and how we wish to be seen.

Such clues to people are helpful in getting along.

Besides, it’s natural and so very human, it is also funny.

A sharp-eyed observer here in Great Marton recently spotted my foible.

“I see,” he said wryly, “shopping at B&M Bargains but using a Booths bag for show.”

It was a strong, colourful bag – but he was right. My heart, if not pocket, leaned to upmarket

Booths. Edmonds Towers has Stringers and J.R.Taylor bags too.

People favour ‘bags for life’ from posher stores.

When wandering round town I keep in my pocket a plastic bag from Ripley’s, the traditional menswear store in Lytham.

She Who Knows once persuaded me to buy a pair of trousers there.

It’s the sort of place where they don’t display prices on items in windows.

The bag is a manly shade of brown, stoutly made and makes me feel better than, say, a crinkled Tesco one.

It’s rather like a good quality but understated wristwatch that reassures and bolsters confidence (instead of the £5 one I usually wear).

However, you don’t have to worry about losing a bag.

Less subtle snobs might be seen carrying bags from Harrods, or Fortnum & 
Mason, but those are too far over the top.

There is a further irony to such status symbols.

If you are known to be well off but still seen carrying a B&M bag, everyone admires you for being down to earth and canny with money.

This extends into personal transport, too.

In posh areas, like Lytham, there is more status in arriving by bike than in a smart car, since it means you live close by.

The ultimate is to be on foot and, I dare say, sporting a B&M bag.

Of course, the really wealthy are above such nonsense.

Like royalty they don’t have to carry anything, including money – they’re invited free everywhere.

n For Roy’s books visit royedmonds-blackpool.com, with signed copies at Gazette reception, Plackitt & Booth, Lytham (or his other haunts).