Thursday 26 January 2012


As ever there is over describing extremely trivial and completely uninteresting information as a means of trying to be funny in today’s blog. My tendency to be slightly surreal has been indulged somewhat with the Consumer Writes section and then ridiculously caked on the Putting The Boots In slice of the blog. If you enjoy the slow, painfully unfunny detailed descriptive stuff but hate the flights of fancy then you might just want to read the first couple of paragraphs of the first section and not bother at all with the other one. And vice-versa. Alternatively if you just read this out of pity then by clicking on the link I have already registered the hit so feel free to go to the BBC or Guardian website and look at the ‘most popular stories’ instead? Go on, fuck off.

Consumer Writes

My new footballing trainers, despite only being a couple of months old, had become pathetic shells of football trainers. They had been hurting for a couple of weeks; when I looked under the sole I just found some perished cardboard. You know when you accidentally was some paper in a pocket and you get that pellet of paper? It was like that, but if you had rubbed that on a cheese grater – grating it, if you will. So under the thin innersole there were just some bits of pathetic card and then a very thin sole. I was, for once, able to have truthful statements using homophones – for I had a damaged sole to go with my damaged soul. Bit dark for the opening paragraph.

I was tempted just to throw the poorly made trainers away. After seeking the opinions of others (something I often do when trying to figure out what a normal person would do in my position: “I am feeling hungry, what do you think I should do?” When seven or eight people have answered this I will then go with the consensus. In this example it is getting something to eat, which does bring cessation to the feeling we know as hunger. The consensus here was that I should take the trainers back to JJB Sports and tell at least one member of staff the events I portrayed, with words, in the opening paragraph – though I did omit the self-pitying talk of the sole/soul homophone.

I did take the trainers back and after a long and convoluted search through the JJB till’s data bank the member of staff told me he couldn’t find a record of that. Despite this – and a lack of a receipt – he offered me store credit (of the value the trainers were currently retailing at) or a straight swap. Given the trainers had been worn about ten times and eroded to little more than a thick, plastic sock I chose the former option. I had been rewarded for standing up for my consumer rights.

Why hadn’t he been able to find a record of the transaction though? I had definitely bought the trainers on my debit card around September 30th. I had checked it on m internet banking this morning. Mr JJB checked a wide range of dates either side of the date and said he was coming up with nothing. The only conclusion I can draw is that the staff of JJB Sports in Manchester are operating some kind of hustle, you know the kind of thing that would happen in Ocean’s 13. Them offering me the store credit was clearly little more than a pay-off for my silence. But I can not be bought and so I say it here: JJB Sports are taking money off people and giving them sporting goods to distract them from the theft, deficient sporting goods stuffed with cardboard where you might expect to find cushioned rubber.

Mr JJB needs to sort his patter if you ask me, he is no Danny Ocean. He told me that most trainers are largely cardboard and that I shouldn’t have been surprised. He said getting them wet (which I hadn’t) was a likely reason for the cardboard falling out in ruined pieces. I have had at least 6 pairs of trainers in my life; maybe as many as 126, but I have never had a pair reduced to some perished cardboard before, nor even noticed any cardboard as part of the trainer. My initial exchange had been with a girl at the counter, she had summoned Mr JJB to deal with my query. She too was surprised to hear that trainers were mainly made of cardboard as she stood beside Mr JJB/Danny Ocean telling me that very fact. As I expressed my surprise (that trainers were all made of cardboard), she said “you should just make your own in the future” and then laughed. I fear she does not have much of a future in the JJB conning game. She may even be dead and rotting in a bin after nearly giving the game up. Peace be upon her.

Putting The Boots In

JJB Sports were not the only one playing the long con in Manchester today; for I was running my own ‘Boots Advantage Card’ long con. Over the past year or so I have been buying goods from Boots (the chemist) and handing over a Boots Advantage Card to the (unknowing) sales assistant who would credit the card with Boots Advantage Card points. I have let them accumulate over the months until now. Wary of the heat I must have be attracting by accruing over EIGHT POUNDS worth of Boots Advantage Card points I decided it was time to ‘promenade the fox cheek’ (conning slang for cashing in accrued Boots Advantage Card points for their equivalent cash balance).

If I thought the heat was on before I entered the store I definitely felt the eyes of Boots (the chemist) hoping I would fall in to the trap. When I reached the ‘Men’s Toiletries’ section I definitely knew something was afoot – FCUK body sprays were half-price!! How convenient: the very bodyspray I use being on the best offer they have ever been on. Touché Boots (the chemist), touché.

If they thought they had me though they were wrong. I left the store and went to a nearby costume shop and hired an outfit dubbed ‘Arab’ (like this one). I realised a wealthy Arab would not travel alone so I paid 14 homeless people a hastily agreed, reasonable fee to dress as either Arabs or security men. I then paid three top drawer make-up artists to complete the look for me and my 14 accomplices (of no fixed abode), don’t worry I gave them a strict instruction: realistic make-up not racist make-up.

After the purchase of some sunglasses and suitcases the look was complete. With my troupe I headed in to Boots (the chemist) and bought FOUR FCUK body sprays. At one point I heard a passing Boots (the chemist) security guard’s radio hiss in to life and a voice said, “Charlie tango Bridgehouse not spotted in the store since he left 30 minutes ago after looking at the FCUK body sprays in the ‘Men’s Toiletries’ department.” I nearly laughed out loud, but ever the pro I remained in character – the character I had put together was an Arab who didn’t laugh AT ANYTHING. I did, however, afford myself a small smile as I walked out of the store with my four body sprays for which I had not handed over one cent (or the British monetary equivalent, the pence/pound).

I know what you are all thinking: what did you decide was a reasonable fee with the homeless people? Well it was simple; I had a look at their ledgers for takings over the last month and worked out what they averaged for that time of day. I then added 10%. Not difficults.

As for why I wasn’t picked up when I swiped the Boots Advantage Card – again, straight forward; I paid an IT expert £23,000 to temporarily disable the system. This regularly happens and thus aroused no suspicion; when the system rebooted and the information in the tills synched…I was halfway down Princess Street – with 4 cannisters of compressed nice smell. Booyakasha.

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