Saturday, 2 November 2013

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

I was in Waitrose today.  It's not particularly unusual for me to be in Waitrose, I admit.  I love Waitrose, it's like the other supermarkets; but it's full of lovely things rather than just tins of beans and sad looking vegetables.

Anyway, less of my middle-class prejudice.  I was in Waitrose Canary Wharf earlier buying some cartridges for my fountain pen and also needed some groceries from downstairs.  It turns out that they have changed their till system so it's no longer possible to pay for items from "upstairs" in the grocery bit downstairs.  It used to be one of the pleasures of shopping there that you could pick up a towel or a pair of pants from upstairs and then pay alongside your grocery downstairs - but since they put the new tills in downstairs, it didn't work anymore.  I had to queue twice.  Oh, the horror.

I didn't wander much around Canary Wharf, but I did pop into Gap.  I've reached that age where I feel "a bit trendy" shopping in Gap and wonder whether their clothes are a bit young for me, and whether I'd look a bit sad for wearing trousers with turnups.  Anyway, I noticed that tshirts are no longer referred to as coming in different "sizes" but different "fits".  Now - I always thought those were two separate things - the "size" was how big the clothes were and the "fit" was the shape.  But apparently not - "small" through to "large" are now described as "fit".  Have we really turned into a society where people are going to get offended by having to buy clothes which say "large" on them?  I mean. Really?

In some ways, I'm resistant to change.  Despite working in technology for years, I'm not really one who moves with the modern world.  Yes, I have a phone which does all sorts of things and my music collection is stored on a hard drive rather than a CD rack - but I don't own a BluRay player or read my books on a Kindle.  I still write letters with a fountain pen.  My address book is a real book which lives in a drawer in the living room and when I read a book, I read one with real pages made of real dead trees which turn with a satisfying feel.   Today, for instance, I bought two CDs.  Real CDs with covers and everything.  Surprisingly hard to find them these days, but there's something nice about it.  I will rip them, of course, and listen to the music on my phone, but that's not the point.

Some people used to think it odd when I worked in the mobile phone world that I wouldn't keep my address book on my phone.  I still don't.  There's something in me which likes to write out Christmas Cards by going through the address book and copying the address from one hand-written line to another.  I do so with a calligraphy-nibbed fountain pen, too.  So maybe things don't change that much after all.

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