What’s With The High Street?

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Men are often stereotyped as being shopping haters – but is this due to men or shopping on the High Street?

It is very rare for me now to shop on a high street. The biggest problem that I encounter is simply being unable to find something that I would actually like to buy.

Clothing: I am of an age that means that I no longer inhabit my svelt student like slim-form body. My shoulders are broad, my forearms and thighs are developed – skinny does not compute.If I go into many of the high street purveyors of fashion and attempt to try on any of their clothing – I can guarantee that it won’t fit. Seemingly the only shop I can actually go into and expect to find clothing the correct dimensions is Next. I still fondly remember being made to try on a jacket in an extra large size in a shop by my other half – i couldn’t even straighten my arms without fear of splitting it down the back. Seriously, who actually designs this stuff – there are chaps out there wanting to spend good money on clothes but are unable to do so due to a lack of supply.

Outdoor clothing suppliers and some sports shops are capable of providing clothing that fits – but on the whole, for anything of a decent quality, you have to pay through the nose for it. Anything priced in a normal manner will be, without doubt, of a low standard.

There was a time a few years back when I could happily stroll into skate type shops and find any number of items that I liked. I can no longer do this and feel hugely out of place. It just isn’t for me anymore.

Electronic goods: Generally, when its time to by a new appliance, tv or phone, I have a very good idea of what I want & how much it ‘should’ cost. The high street, or, even the large out of town stores all have a lack of choice & quality goods. Prices are hiked up to the max for goods that are lacking in features or performance. I am now apparently unable to actually demo an expensive product before I buy it blindly online…this sucks big time. Why should I be penalised for knowing what I want?

I also find that I regularly get ignored by shop staff, even when queuing for assistance. John Lewis – you are very bad at this. Staff will happily go to help the clueless, but if someone has a legitimate question about a specific product, you get ignored. Too bad, my money went elsewhere online – you lost out…three times.

Food outlets: Really High Street? Your choice of food is awful, why do we still have to put up with this garbage, most of which really isn’t fit for human consumption. Given the number of empty shops up and down the country, you should be encouraging new start ups to provide interesting alternatives…numerous burger outlets and over priced badly made sandwiches really don’t do the job.

It appears that in order to be catered for by the high street, you either need to be incredibly skinny, fat, below average intelligence or not very worldly. If you are fortunate enough to fall outside these boundaries and actually be normal – you are screwed. You are a metric that is ignored, you are not normal, you are the freak.

The Box Doesn’t Fit

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One of the more unpleasant and annoying aspects of getting older is that whether you like it or not, you start commenting more on politics and politicians. Many moons ago, I could happily exist without having to even be aware of the drudgery that beholds much of Westminster. Now it seems that I am pretty much forced to listen to the opinions of people that have absolutely nothing in common with me what so ever.

The opinion and policy creators that we have to thank for our continued existence as a (mostly) civilized nation are completely out of touch with what we the common person actually know/think/do.

While I’ll happily admit that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. You should at least aim to please all of the people some of the time.

Here lyeth the problem. I’m a statistic that doesn’t fit in any of the normal boxes.

I’m not married, I don’t have children, I’m employed full time, I live with my partner, I’m not overweight, I don’t smoke, I drink in moderation and I eat healthily. While I could go on further – these are all basic tick box facts that place me out of sight of pretty much all government policies.

When election time comes round again, I always find myself thinking that none of the policies apply to me at all. Why is this & how can the people that are essentially in charge of this country be so out of touch?

Granted, in the future more of the main policies may well apply to me…but at this time all of the main targets that include children, schools, school meals, health, employment or alcohol & cigarette duties have no weight with me at all.

The only recent government plan in recent times that has been positive towards me is the continued roll out of what the government & press insist on calling superfast broadband…never do they actually explain what this means in terms of real numbers. As it stands, this has still had zero effect on my life despite fibre is now in my area as I still can’t get connected to it.

Come the election trail, the Westminster masses should get out and seek the real people of this country. Not those ‘up north’, out of work, stacking shelves, business owners or single mothers. But instead, get out of the large cities – find the real person. Those that are capable of thinking and doing, those that make the country really tick. These are the people that you should be targeting for votes…we are many & we are currently ignored.

Just for once, surprise us, think about us and engage. We have brains & can think – there’s no need to preach, just listen and understand.

The joy of being a responsible adult

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There are a range of unexpected milestones in life that, as they happen, you chalk up as being the path to being a responsible adult. The first of these, for me at least, were pretty basic affairs – getting a drill or a step ladder. Stuff that when you were younger, other, older people had & you borrowed them on the rare occasion that you needed them.

As I’ve become more responsible, or you could call it, older, these milestones have become increasingly expensive & more depressing. The recent hi-lights include a petrol powered lawnmower & a fence. Why on earth do I have to spend so much money on a fence? I don’t really want it, I don’t really need it – but society expects it, my neighbours expect it. There are so many things I’d rather use that cash for, it’s not even funny!

Perhaps one of the few benefits that comes with this increased responsibility, is the right to enjoy a decent beverage. While I may no longer be able to pack alcohol away in the quantities that I could when I was younger. I can instead savor the good stuff – what better way to ‘forget’ about the fence than to sample (in reasonable quantity) a rather fine tipple. While my tastes can and do vary, often on a seasonal basis, this still remains one of my greatest enjoyments in life.

Obviously the enjoyment of a tipple or three, can lead to some trickiness when it comes comes to some other joyful responsibilities. I am now at that point, where I am the sole person in the house that remembers that the bins have to be put out. A cloudy head can give way to moments of clarity when you hear the bin lorry approaching down the street. How do the bin men do it? They must have a drink or three before collecting the bins – and they have to endure the smell, oh god, the smell!

During these moments of joyful responsibility come a wave of weather related concerns. The rain, the wind – winter storms. Will the wind blow the recycling bin over, will I have to pick up all the empty cat food pouches up in the street? Will the fence blow over…again? I spent the morning of last Christmas Eve fixing my fence. This is perhaps the worst example of joyless adult responsibility that I have had the misfortune to endure in recent times.

Youth really is wasted on the young – can’t someone else deal with this stuff? I know I don’t want too!