Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Poundland: A Mixed Message.

For the benefit of those who don’t know, Poundland is one of the most ubiquitous of Britain’s discount store chains. It also happens to be my least favourite because most of their ‘bargains’ are not bargains at all. The illusion is easily created through the manipulation of pack sizes and the selling of products which are cheap because they’re poor quality. (In fact, given pack weight comparisons, some products are actually cheaper in the mainstream stores.) Nevertheless, I was in a Poundland today (I’ll explain why in a minute) and heard an instore announcement which went something like:

When you see our amazing collection of bargains, you might find that you’ve come out of the house without enough money. Don’t panic! We have a free cash machine right here in store, so you needn’t miss out on any of the wonderful offers we have for you. And if you can’t find it, one of our friendly staff will point you in the right direction.

Do you realise how many levels of deception, manipulation and sheer insult to the intelligence of the customers are contained within that announcement? I do. I hope everybody else does, too.

To be fair, however (because I do so like being fair), they do have one range of products which I wholly endorse. The sell second hand – though effectively as-new – DVDs at £1 each. That’s cheap by anybody’s standard. I’ve bought several and haven’t been disappointed yet.

Today I bought Memoirs of a Geisha (I’ve said before that I’m always about ten years late watching celebrated films.) I watched the first hour tonight and found it riveting. The highlight is the scene in which the Chairman takes pity on the little girl crying on the bridge. It puts light back into life, and I swear the Chairman was me in a former life because I’m the world’s biggest softie when it comes to distressed little girls crying on bridges.

He buys her an ice cream with sweet plum topping, and then gives her some money with which to buy a meal. Instead, she puts the money in a prayer shrine and prays to be a successful geisha one day. I paused the film at the point where, having grown into her teens after being trained by a leading geisha, she’s learned to do the look so well that she can make a passing cyclist fall off his bike. And so it seems that big softies do have their uses after all, which is most gratifying.

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