It isn’t often I go shopping for basic functional man items but whenever I do I’m always amazed at how difficult they are to find.
Take yesterday for example.
Over the weekend my eyes and intellect finally registered the fact that the comb with which I daily impose order upon my glossy barnet (admirably fulsome given my age) had seen better days. The teeth barely had 2 millimetres clearance from the years of grey scum, scurf, and abandoned follicles that had built up around the base. I swear to God there was a whole eco-system occurring in there. I think the reason I’m never plagued overmuch with nits is that they can get all the sustenance they require from my comb.
Anyway, despite using this comb quite blindly for years it finally dawned on me that maybe dragging a mouldy nit farm across my scalp every day was not doing my image as an International Man Of Mystery much good at all.
It was time to purchase a new one.
Yesterday was elected as the day to perform this task.
Now, you’d think it would be a nice, quick, easy job just buying a cheap plastic comb, wouldn’t you?
But do you think I could find one?
Plainly my consumerist instincts are not wired up correctly for menial shopping items. Computers, CDs, books, assorted gadgetry, dodgy DVDs... I can name and recommend dozens of shops for these. But where does one buy a comb?
I figured Tesco would be a good bet. I mean they sell everything else.
After 15 minutes of trudging up and down the aisles empty-handed I came to the conclusion that actually Tesco sell hundreds of items that you might need but don’t actually stock the items that you do. They’re the retail equivalent of cable TV – thousands of channels but nothing you actually want to watch.
I then tried Boots. Surely Boots would sell combs. They’re big on hair care and cosmetics after all. But no. Hair brushes. Hair nets. Hair bands and an amazing array of lip gloss. But I couldn’t see a damned man-comb anywhere.
I then got desperate. I tried all the cheap shops. I tried the hardware stores. I was even tempted to nip into Accessorize but the be-booted mini-skirted young things flitting about inside terrified me. Curse them and their freshly powdered décolletages!
Where are all the old flea markets when you need them, eh? They always sold combs. You just headed for the cheap wallet and purse store and there they’d be. All lined up and shiny. The Brylcreem freshly washed off them.
Oh yes. The markets have all been priced out of the consumer world by the likes of Tesco et al.
Well, I defy anyone to buy a nice cheap wallet at Tesco.
Anyway. Eventually I headed into Superdrug and they saved the day. Amongst the curling tongs and bobble-ended hair brushes they had a cheap unisex comb for 58 pence.
So the purchase was made and my hair, as a consequence, is extremely fly-away and glossy today.
My old comb, quite logically, is in the bin.
Along with my Tesco clubcard.