365 First Dates

I had cause to go to Halifax today. Nothing exciting, but it’s always fun to see the home town in all its splendour. Or, if you’re visiting Halifax, it’s always nice to see the home town.

While I was there, I took it upon myself to tick one of the jobs off the random list of things we have on the go at the moment: get a new calendar for the kitchen.

Now, for me, any calendar is fine. I can cope with one with pictures on the top and a grid underneath, I can cope with a long thin one. I don’t really have a preference. Basically, I just want to be able to know what day it is – something which, since I finished work, I only know by making sure I take my happy tablets in order as they are labelled by day.

But Carole is a bit more picky when it comes to calendars. She needs something that contains organisation. And for the past however long, we have had a family organiser calendar gracing the kitchen. Five rows to manage everything a busy family might need. Or just to sort two of us out and provide three extra columns of stuff.

And every year this calendar comes from M&S.

So I went into M&S.

Venturing in there is like, well, I can only imagine it’s what a set visit would have been like for the 1985 sci-fi film Cocoon, in which a group of pensioners are rejuvenated by aliens. Obviously, M&S is very much set in the part of the film pre-rejuvenation because you can’t move without seeing a slow moving creature bedecked mainly in beige, or hear the sound of a walking stick clicking across the floor. I got the added bonus of an old couple, one of whom had a stroller on wheels who was complaining that they couldn’t get down any of the aisles because they were too narrow.

It was amazing.

The thing with the M&S experience was that I knew what I wanted, but there was a helpful sign at the entrance which said that the “Christmas Stuff” was scattered throughout the store. As though the marketing team had stood at the main door with a trebuchet and just launched festive gifts into the store – wherever it landed, that was its home.

The calendars, for example, were next to children’s wear. Food court adjacent.


And then, in another stroke of genius, the store people have stood in the direct centre of the store and employed Robin Hood’s technique for locating his grave site when it comes to the positioning of tills. That can be the only reasoning behind it. There’s certainly no logic.

It’s not even like there’s a natural flow to the store that takes you past one of the desks. You’re just in a maze of wool garments and pant suits, hideously unprepared and worried that the life force is being sucked out of you for every second you remain in there.

Still, I won’t have to do it again for another twelve months….