"2012" ); and enables a member of staff to thoroughly piss off a customer.
One of the pleasures of ageing is the ability to afford a couple of cases of wine now and again.
For a few years now I've used the local Wanstead branch of Majestic Wine either ordering on line or visiting the store. More recently I visit - it's an old fashioned thing I have about personal contact with staff. The warm feeling when you know they're happy to send you off satisfied.
So I was pretty pissed off to find myself coming second best to a mobile phone when I bought 80 odd quids worth of wine a couple of days ago.
I'd chosen my 14 btls and had unloaded them onto the counter so that this very attractive assistant could scan them in. She was on her mobile and had been while I was trundling around the store making my choice of 6 reds, 6 whites and 2 roses. She was still on the phone as she scanned the bottles.
"£88.44" were the first words she addressed to me. " I'm on your mailing list." I spat out between clenched teeth. That sorted her. She had to put the phone down, cancel the bill and ask me my name and post code. Only after I'd given her those detail could she re-enter my order.
I said nothing: staring unflinchingly at her as I keyed in my debit card PIN. I loaded up my drinks and walked, in a purposeful and dignified manner, out of the shop.
On getting home, after a restorative glug of one of the wines so recently purchased, I rushed up stairs to e-mail a complaint to the company.
I recounted my experience and to twist the knife in further suggested that the company ".. might point out to the attractive young woman who didn't treat me as a customer (valued or not) that many of your clients are like me. Happy to buy their wine elsewhere rather than come second best to a mobile phone call."
Ed Reardon eat your heart out.
Another great advantage of the mobile is that it turns sensible drivers into idiots. Driving at 90 mph on the phone holding a complex conversation (I know, most calls are banal in the extreme) doesn't allow the mind to register in time that the car in front has stopped; so you don't. Or turning right at a junction with the phone placed between the shoulder and the jaw so that you can continue to talk to someone who'll you see in a minute or two. That's supposing you don't prang you car before then.
Pedestrians aren't immune to mobile lunacy. Stepping off the pavement completely unaware of their surroundings deep in conversation with someone on another mobile who may well be carrying out exactly the same suicide manoeuvre. Or walking down an escalator chatting on the phone; either walking so slowly that a grumpy queue forms or bumping into the person in front - because you're telling the person on the other end of the phone "Yeah, I'm just going down the escalator now".
I'd introduce a walking/talking test before letting anyone loose with one of these gadgets. And you'd have to be over the age of consent. Innane conversations would be liable to an instant fine (huge source of additional gov't revenue). As would shouting at the top of your voice down the phone. Bobbing to any music on your phone on the subway would command the most severe of punishments, along with walking along playing music through the phones' speaker - what is all that about?
Otherwise you can use them whenever you want.