The good cop/bad cop routine

The new car comes with a free bag for my shoes
The new car comes with a free bag for my shoes

The car salesman definitely looked uncomfortable. He ran his forefinger between this collar and his neck, moving to his embossed VW tie, spattered with what looked like bits of Riley’s Chocolate Toffee Roll. He was sweating.

I’d just stated a fact. Seated there in the fancy showroom surrounded by logos, shiny paintwork, gleaming chrome and a slight whiff of testosterone, I told him I spent more time choosing my shoes then I did a car, particularly if they were specialist running shoes, it’s important to get that right, I’m a martyr to my feet.

Noel was wearing his inscrutable look. He’d turned down the offer of test drive, passing the keys to me. I’d tested out the revving and acceleration, in hindsight, maybe that’s why the salesman was sweating, I like to drive fast, I used to be a motorbiker.

Yes, we said. we’d take it, wrap it up and we’d pick it later, once we’d talked about cost. Once we’d gone through our good cop/bad cop routine. It’s a game, really, they say one price, you say another, they go upstairs to see their boss, or rather just disappear and chew on a Riley’s Chocolate Toffee Roll and come back with a tale of woe, accompanied with head shaking and sucking air through the teeth. Good grief, I had some serious faffing around to do, well away from car salesrooms, I could feel myself coming out in hives.

We agreed a price and I was ready for off. But there was the serious matter of the Auto Glym. The salesman insisted on giving us an illustrated talk, complete with PowerPoint and interpretive dance, on the staggering properties of this miraculous treatment which will repel dirt, ice and small animals. It would also keep the interior clean, he said in all seriousness. I was biting the inside of my cheek hard, there may even have been blood, I couldn’t help it, the desire to snigger was too much. Keep the inside of a car clean? The very idea.

So for £500 we could have this miracle and never need to clean the car again. Again? That implied a first cleaning <snigger>. Noel lifted his hand, no, he said, not interested. The salesman looked nonplussed, ‘not even if it was, say, £250?’. Noel’s hand raised again, the answer was the same. The salesman excused himself, clearly he needed another Riley’s ChocolateToffee Roll.

On his return, he had a proposal for us. ‘What if,’ he asked, ‘the Auto Glym was free? It’ll show as a cost on the invoice, but we’ll take it off the total cost, you’ll pay the same.’  Noel and I communicated telepathically, it’s something we do when we want to finish each other’s sentences. Yes, we agreed, they clearly had to please the Auto Glym gods. And anyway, the treatment came with a bag of cleaning stuff which I could empty and use for my running shoes. Result.

So hands were shaken and arrangements made to pick up the shoe holder and the new car, can’t wait, I’ll clean my shoes in readiness.

Ban the bag….the campaign gathers momentum!

My Ban the Bag resolve was seriously put to the test today. We had a full-on shopping trip that required purchases in many shops in Leeds city centre. And all I had was my trusty stripey bag, a Sainsbury's re-usable carrier, my handbag, full of camera in case of photo opportunities and a handy husband.

First stop. Border's, Leeds. Birthday vouchers HAD to be spent – a newspaper HAD to be bought. Greetings cards were NEEDED. And there was that rather charming stripey luggage tag. The till rang upits tally – the Borders bag was at the ready. But no, I said. I am on a one-woman campaign to ban the carrier bag. Cool, was the response. I wish more people would do that.. Out came the Sainsbury's bag. Result!

Next stop. Big Issue. No bag needed.

Next stop. More of a challenge, this. New jeans. The challenge was more bum-related than bag-related. Who DO they model jeans on? Not me! But then again, I'm not a teenager with no hips or buttocks! Purchase made (much sighing and patient pacing from Noel) and my mantra. No carrier bag…. Mmmm, said the assistant, good idea, as she popped the receipt into the pocket.

Next stop. More of a challenge, this. the market for vegetables. I also wanted to avoid those silly little bags that make your veg sweat and then burst at the least provocation. The stall-holder Mr Grumpy (not his real name) gave me a surly look as I told him about the whole carrier bag thing.

'I'll have to weigh them first' he grunted.

'Really? I was thinking of sticking them straight in my bag and legging it out of here after tying you up with your own roll of ozone-busting bags….." I NEARLY said. But no. And for devilment, he insisted on putting the carrots into a bag. I won't go THERE again!

Aborted purchases at a couple of shops – it is a woman's privilege to look and not buy… followed by the final wallet-emptier at the Running Shop. Well the shorts WERE a bargain.

No bag for me, I told the rather impressively-honed Kiwi who served me. Ex rugby player, you know. Sweet, he said.

And then we went home. Virtually bagless.

Join me! Ban the bag. Make it a more than one woman campaign!

Read and post comments | Send to a friend

One-woman campaign. Ban the bags!

Right. I've started a one-woman campaign to ban the bags.

I've reached the carrier bag tipping point. No more for me, thank you very much. I've had enough of the plastic plague.

I bought some Clinique cosmetics today, hey, at my age I need all the help I can get…… Anyway, I couldn't thoil to have a big shiny branded carrier bag to show off my posy purchases. It didn't seem right. The shop assistant was very supportive ….. The same happened in the Art and Craft Gallery (hey, we've some posh shops in Leeds) Again, I met with support. And it got me thinking……

Ikea's banned them – you have to buy carrier bags. So I'm going to. It's recyclable bags or precarious balancing of purchases.

Small start, but if we all do it…….

Join me.

Ban the bag.

Say no to plastic

Read and post comments | Send to a friend