My salad dressing days


Purchase-induced paralysis
March 29, 2006, 12:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I contemplate the purchase of a train set.

Nowadays, there is no such thing as a spontaneous purchase on an otherwise mundane mooch around Mothercare. A lengthy and extensive consultation period is required.

So I decide to seek counsel from those fonts of all toy-related wisdom: Other Mums.

‘Oh! A train set, eh? Riiiiiiiiight…’

Yikes, I think.

‘Well, for God’s sake, make sure it’s B-R-I-O C-O-M-P-A-T-I-B-L-E!’

‘Brio Compatible?’ I ask, puzzled.

‘Brio is the best make of train set, but it is more expensive. However, if you’re not actually buying a Brio set – if, for instance, you’re buying an [sharp intake of breath] unbranded train set – if it’s compatible with the Brio make, then you can still buy extra parts from Brio.’

‘Oookay,’ I reply, wondering whether I should be taking notes.

I casually mention to another friend that I have seen a train set on sale in Asda.

She arches an eyebrow: ‘Well, you could get it from Asda, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t Brio compatible. However, the Tesco train set on the other hand is Brio compatible.’

Lawks.

Tesco is not my normal choice of supermarket but I am coming to understand that the purchase of a train set is up there with the purchase of your first car, flat, yacht etc., so I look out my A-Z and draw a ten mile radius around our house before Googling to find all the Tesco stores in the vicinity.

As luck would have it, there is a Tesco not so far from my house, so I head out there at the first opportunity.

The basic set has sold out. The teenager staffer I approach has ‘no idea’ if or when they will be getting any more, so I skulk home, my heart heavy in the knowledge that TS and TD will have to suffer yet more train set-free days (which will probably lead to all sorts of mental health problems in later life).

I check another branch of Tesco, but it is not a Premium store, so there is no toy section.

Despair sets in…

*******

Then one day my mother calls.

‘Just thought I’d let you know that I’ve bought TS and TD’s birthday present. I’ve got them a train set,’ she says, casually.

‘A train set? Oh…’ I mutter.

‘What’s the matter? Do they have one already?’ she inquires.

‘No, no. It’s just that it’s very complicated. It’s got to be a certain type, you see,’ I ramble.

‘Well, it was on offer at Toys R Us…’

‘I don’t suppose you know the make?’

‘Um, not sure…’

Oh God.

‘I think it begins with ‘B’…’

Praise be! The dark cloud of social pariahhood hanging over my childrens’ heads has been lifted!

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