Taking Stock with Rob Stocks - 7/2/11

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HOW do you like to relax?

Perhaps you enjoy a drink, or going dancing, a nice meal, a bath or perhaps a spot of shopping.

Yes these days it would appear shopping, to some, it’s more of a pleasure than a chore.

I’m happy to say I’m not a member of that particular club.

My tolerance for shopping is minimal.

I can possibly take an hour being dragged around the shops, maybe an hour-and-a half-at a push, but I’ll admit for most of that time I’ll be mulling over the list of things I’d rather be doing, which, as you can imagine, is quite lengthy.

I’m not good at hiding my disdain for proceedings either.

I’ve a certain way of looking as if I’m being dragged around against my will, and spend a great deal of time tutting and looking at my watch.

It is, however, important to make the right noises and not sound too impassive in doing so.

The golden rule is always to look up when you’re asked to pass judgement.

A heartfelt response is tricky to replicate when closely studying the football scores on your phone. I don’t, so much, mind trips to the supermarket. There’s a lot less standing around, although there are one or two niggles and one new nightmare.

Nothing, and I’m fairly certain of this, can be as frustrating as the new-fangled self-service checkouts which have been popping up in every supermarket and convenience store I know.

The concept is one I wholeheartedly support.

As a self-certified misery, I’m all for a system which prevents me having to have one of those “how’s the weather” type conversations.

However, the alternative is even more annoying.

You’ve put your basket down and begin scanning, but straight away you’ve done something wrong.

Lights are flashing and the screen is insisting you summon an assistant.

On a normal till, you’d at this point have already discussed the drizzle in great detail, paid, packed, and be half way across the car park.

But back at the self-service the lights are flashing again.

“Illegal item in bagging area” screams the message on the monitor.

Surely that’s a bit strong. After all, the last thing I scanned was a packet of Hob Nobs, which, last time I checked, weren’t on any list of banned substances.

By the time the bags are packed, I really need to indulge in a spot of relaxation.

I don’t really mind what, as long as it doesn’t involve another trip to the shops.