diamond geezer

 Wednesday, April 21, 2021

I went shopping yesterday.

That's to an actual shop which wasn't a supermarket, newsagent or chemist. I last did this seven months ago when I bought a paperback from Waterstones. It was quite the adventure.       If you're not interested in the minutiae of my shopping trip and the perverse inner workings of my mind, best skip the intermediate paragraphs.

I needed a new set of headphones.

I've needed a new set of headphones for months. My old pair did that inevitable thing where one of the earbuds went quiet so I was basically listening through one ear only, and even that was a bit ropey.       The malfunctioning connection also meant I needed the volume turned up higher than normal to compensate, which might have been OK except my phone started to get passive aggressive about it. First it started flashing up warning messages telling me I risked damaging my hearing, convinced I was hitting 100db daily even though I wasn't. Then it started turning the volume down automatically after about 90 minutes with no way of turning it back up, so listening to two-hour radio shows became somewhat problematic. My so-called smartphone thought it was protecting me because it assumed all my equipment was working properly, but this was a very bad assumption and this is why we should be careful about letting machines rule our lives.

Normally I'd have gone out and bought a new pair immediately but non-essential shops have been shut since the New Year.

You might well have had new headphones delivered to your home instead. Why diminish your listening pleasure for months when you could have a new set in 24 hours flat and get on with enjoying life. But I wasn't keen on increasing the price of the headphones by 50%, and I'm not really a home delivery person, and perhaps you need to come to terms with the fact that I am not like you and often do things you wouldn't for not entirely rational reasons.       Alternatively I could have used click and collect at any time during the last few months, obviously, but I decided not to do that either. I just wanted to buy some headphones, I didn't want to set up an account and add a password and jump through additional online faff. I'm aware this Luddite approach merely caused me to endure sub-optimal listening for months, but again remember it's not your job to judge my life and I for one am very grateful for that.

I also needed a new phone case.

I've needed a new phone case ever since I bought a new phone in January. My new phone was the same size as my old phone so my old case should have fitted, but annoyingly the hole for the camera was in the wrong place. I could either protect my phone and not take photos or risk using a naked phone and try very very hard not to drop it. I chose risk, and all because the usual places that sell phone cases were officially closed.       I wasn't prepared for quite how slippery unprotected smartphones can be. Mine often found itself slipping out of a pocket, although thankfully only onto carpet. On one occasion someone messaged me and my phone vibrated and promptly fell off the table, though again without major incident. I thought I was doing really well. Then while I was cautiously watering the plants on my balcony I thoughtlessly picked up a twig from a rosebush and pricked myself, yeeouch, and the subsequent jolt sent my phone sliding onto the metalwork in a very ominous manner. I was extremely fortunate only to get a tiny scar, not a smashed screen, but hell yes I should have bought a protective case long ago.

I waited until the second week of non-essential shopping before venturing out. Argos would have what I needed.

I knew Argos had what I needed because I checked first online. The problem was finding a store that had both items rather than just one. I could turn up at branch X to get my headphones but they wouldn't have the phone case in stock before Friday. Or I could go to branch Y to get my phone case but they wouldn't have the headphones I wanted, only something less good on either function or price.       I now understand why people get things delivered. But getting things delivered costs extra and, more importantly, takes time. I wanted my items now rather than waiting for later, because I am used to the instant gratification that physical shops provide. I'm aware that after three months I ought to have been able to wait an extra day or two, but again I draw your attention to the fact my purchasing behaviour is often irrational. If this is not what you'd have done, I genuinely don't care.

First I went to the Argos in East Ham for my headphones. That was a nice walk.

East Ham High Street is one of the busiest places I've been for some time. Shops are very much the big daytime attraction of late, it seems. Thankfully it was a bit quieter inside Argos, or at least better spaced. A helpful member of staff directed me to a terminal and I got on with ordering my headphones. It was odd being expected to touch something lots of other people had been touching, but I remembered we all used to touch things repeatedly as a matter of course and got stuck in. Yes, I'm aware I could have avoided the touching thing if only I'd pre-bought my item, but remember it's my prerogative to be illogical.       Payment was quick, and properly shielded, and within a minute I was walking out of Argos clutching my brand new headphones. Unfortunately these were securely encased in plastic which normally I'd attack with scissors except I hadn't brought any with me. I had to pick away at the top of the packet in an attempt to rip the plastic as I walked up the high street, dodging umpteen shoppers along the way. It took a good ten minutes before I finally managed to extract the headphones through a small hole and successfully unwrapped them. At one point the spare earphone protectors fell out of the bottom of the packet onto the pavement but thankfully I noticed just in time.

Then I went to the Argos in Leytonstone for my phone case. That was an even nicer walk.

In normal times I wouldn't have walked from Manor Park to Leytonstone, I'd have caught the W19 bus to speed things up and then got on with my day. But walking three miles proved a perfectly decent option given the proper spring weather, plus I got to cross the long diagonal of Wanstead Flats with the sun on my back and it was glorious. I passed the sand hills by the lake, threaded through the central copse, diverted round the skylark breeding area, weaved between flowering gorse bushes and crossed the bone-dry recreation ground to the far corner I never normally need to visit.       The Argos in Leytonstone was much bigger but also busier and not so well marshalled. It took a while to find a terminal that worked, then it took three goes to convince the software that the item I wanted genuinely existed. The internal wi-fi connection was giving off wheezy 2005 vibes. I still don't think I followed the right route through the store even though there were arrows and tape all over the floor, and even when I reached the collection point I had to wait ages for a member of staff not to be busy and to hand over my package. Given the choice I'd go back to East Ham over Leytonstone every time. But at least I now had my new phone case.

And then I walked home.

Having fully functioning headphones on the walk home was bliss. At long last I could properly hear what I was listening to, and with the volume turned back down to where it ought to be. Filling my ears with 70db rather than 100db is going to make my phone's operating system a lot happier.       Bohemian Rhapsody sounded a lot better too. On my earlier walk I'd been listening to the episode of Sounds of the 70s cancelled because of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, in which Bohemian Rhapsody was the 400th record placed into Johnnie's Jukebox, and it had sounded really weedy. Now on my walk home I was listening to the current episode, in which Johnnie had to put Bohemian Rhapsody into his jukebox again for continuity reasons, and it sounded properly dynamic. I really shouldn't have left it this long.

My shopping trip had been an unqualified success.

I gave my phone a good clean and slipped it into its new case. At last I had a non-slidy phone, properly protected, and everything felt a lot safer. Annoyingly the case opens on the opposite side to the case I used to have previously, so every time I open it up the phone is the wrong way up, but I'm sure I'll get used to this eventually.       And yes, an eleven mile walk to go on a shopping trip to buy two small items is a bit ridiculous, especially when I have Westfield just up the road, but given I like to go on an eleven mile walk daily at least this time it proved productive.

I could also do with some new walking socks and a bread bin.

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

» my flickr photostream

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths
exploring urban wastelands

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain

read the archive
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards