I hate to admit it but I’m turning into one of those Grumpy Old Men for whom small irritating molehills rapidly become mountains of annoyance. I’m starting to find more than a few examples living in Staines. Oh and that’s me on the right.
Take car parking. Please. There is no on-street meter parking anywhere in the town centre that I can find but the local authority do provide loads of municipal parking. The problem is it’s not just expensive; it’s positively punitive. The other day I drove into town; I was intending to park in the ground level open air parking area close to Debenham’s. Most of the other car parks are well away. I parked up, went up to the ticket machine only to find that the minimum charge was £1.70 – correct coins required. How do they come up with that ridiculous amount? I had one cup to buy and it was going to take me 5 minutes, tops. I was buggered if I was going to pay for 17 days of parking credit and hightailed it over to the multi-storey across town. There the charge was the minimum fee across most of the car parks in Staines at 90p for the first hour. Of course I now had a 10 minute walk back to Debenham’s but at least the charge was more reasonable. But, I didn’t have exactly 90p so I popped in a £1 coin only to find, of course, that the machine doesn’t give change. So it’s £1 for the first hour in reality, unless you’re a woman with a huge purse full of coins. Why don’t they just make it £1 flat rate for an hour and a half say; £2 for up to 4 hours and a fiver for all day? Doesn’t that seem more reasonable and simpler? Is it just me?
Later that day I had to pop into Sainsbury’s to get some shopping. The car parking there is free of course – hoorah but the problem there is that before you’re even half out of the car some Polish guy is haranguing you to wash the car. Even though it must have been apparent that the car was in pristine condition as I’d only just had it cleaned at the hand car wash facility on the by-pass, manned of course by a bunch of Polish lads. I’ve no objection to the Poles; it’s a cliche but also absolutely true that one of our dearest friends is from Krakow. In fact I admire their work ethic enormously, although it might be nice to chat to an English waitress/barmaid occasionally. No the target of my annoyance is the damned supermarket who are not content to wait 10 minutes before taking lots of money off me, they’re now hustling me from the moment my right foot touches the tarmac in their car park and it not just Sainsbury’s. You just feel like saying ‘Oi back off Tesburygensfieldsons’. That’s telling them.
I could go on and on but a) it’s going to get boring pretty quickly and b) you’re going to think I’m a right miserable bugger, which is just not ….untrue. But if you’ve got more examples of petty annoyances please let me know and help me demonstrate that grumpy is the new cheery.