Now I make no apologies for saying I hate the Co-op. The Co-op doesn’t even pretend to compete on price or service. It competes on Righteousness. Having said that it is a necessary weevil because where I live there is a butcher, a baker, a deli, a bakery and a newsagent and the Co-op. Now much though I try to push all my passing trade the way of the independents* there is always the Co-op. It would be nice to say it isn’t needed but it is. It would be nice to say I walk on by because they sell over-priced crap with an eternal smugness - they sell “ethical water” for example** - and the staff can’t be arsed.
Now, I have worked in shops and by and large most people in shops in Britain work bloody hard. There are exceptions and the ones that can’t hack telling lies in Curry’s*** wind-up slacking at the Co-op. So… imagine my delight when I overheard this gem…
“Well, Blackpool were 2-0 up against Manchester United so I stuck the last of my wages on Blackpool to win at half-time.”
Manchester United came out after the break (and presumably some uncouth language from Sir Alex) and scored three. End result: 3-2 to The Reds or as far as said Co-op minion is concerned seventy quid he ain’t seeing again (he mentioned the figure). What a twat! I mean (a) Man U are the come-back Kings - you saw ‘em against Bayern Munich in the final of the ‘99 European Cup? Two goals in injury time, right? The words “crest fallen” have never applied more correctly to a bunch of lederhosen since the heady summer of ‘45. And (b) let’s assume it finished 2-0 to Blackpool then… Well, what dismal odds he must have got. Half-time, two in the back of the opposing onion bag and you bet on a win? Who taught him the subtle art of gambling - Gordon Brown? “Well, if we do achieve 25% annual economic growth because of my ‘investments’ then…” Yeah, right, and if I win the National Mockery then all the Kitty Kounters can have umbrella drinks in Bermuda****. And no one (I promise) will have to dodge a flying Nokia*****. Anyhoo, it warmed the cockles to see this mouth-breather berate his dismal bet not working out.
It amused me. That is all. I am not a follower of Manchester United per se but I do appreciate class when I see it. I’m a Newcastle fan which isn’t so much about the football but about developing a Geordie form of stoicism. There were Greek chaps with long pondering beards who didn’t know as much about that as some fella with a pie in row F of the Jackie Milburn Stand watching yet another goal-less draw against The Baggies.
I know I shouldn’t laugh but, once out of the shop, I guffawed. There is always someone less fortunate than me and I had Northern Rock shares!
*With the arguable exception of Sayeed’s Newsagent - he stocks Dr Who magazines and is not backward in coming forward about it. I am married to a lovely woman but she’s also a Whovian and Sayeed knows this…
**Presumably this water not only quenches thirst but writes 2000 words on Spinoza.
***They really have zilch product knowledge but pretend otherwise. It’s profound, “It goes up to 11, it’s 1 louder” territory.
****Worth it just to see Paul Marks in a Hawaiian shirt!
*****Ed Balls is now shadow chancellor. Ed Balls first surfaced - am I wrong? - as Brown’s economics advisor. There is a reason I’m not a political novelist - I couldn’t make shit like that up.