Counting Cats in Zanzibar Rotating Header Image


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.


  1. Paul Marks says:

    Errr me in an Hawaiian shirt?

    Well it might work……. on the other hand………

    Yes Ed Balls was Brown’s right hand thing – accept he thought Brown did not spend enough money and thought that Labour should not have even pretended to want to reduce the amount of money they were borrowing.

    So obviously ideal as Shadow Chancellor (would it save time to just go mad now?).

    As for the “careing, sharing, coop” who are “good with corpses” (or am I getting a couple of their ads mixed together… perhaps it “want to eat human corpses”)…..

    They closed their big store in Kettering some time ago – well actually they first moved if from the centre of town (thus creating a bit of urban blight) to a residential area.

    Basically up a side street neither in town or out of town. Only one entrance to an entire complex of different buildings – surrounded by a high fence and trees (to stop customers getting in from various streets), with the sole entrance being some steep steps (the ground was naturally level) down a private road.

    Oddly enough the staff normally outnumbered customers in this place – but the coop said it was doing wonderful business, till they sold the site to ASDA saying otherwise they would have to close down.

    This morning I was in a small town to the north of Kettering (knocking on doors about the May elections – yes it has already started, no one can escape). The town I was in was utterly betrayed by the Coop.

    Not only did they close down their mainstore (and much else) – they also refused to allow anyown to buy the sites for ages.

    They preferred to have decay and wasteland – rather than let anyone else try and open major stores in the town.

    Wonderful people – really wonderful.

    Still if they do not violate the nonaggression principle they can live as they like…..

  2. NickM says:

    “good with corpses”

    My first laugh of the day. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: