Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Orange Invasion

Much excitement in these parts today - a brand spanking new B&Q has opened. B&Q being Blighty's equivalent to the USA's Home Despot, or so I believe. Definitely Orange, with a capital O. Even the tops of the street lamps in the car park are Orange. Clearly they seemed to be expecting opposition to their arrival on the local retail scene; a barrage balloon (Orange) has been hoisted high to deter any bomber aircraft sent by their rivals.

Okay, so maybe it's an advertising blimp...

The adjacent supermarket desired our presence for the purchase of groceries anyway, so we popped in to have a looksee at the new place, almost as the doors opened. There was practically a queue, would you believe, with eager Pensioners lining up to fill in forms for 10% discount (on Wednesdays). Mind you there's nowt like the Cornish for enjoying both a party and coming round and metephorically kicking the tyres, not that I didn't do a reasonable job of the latter myself. Being so handy I can see it being a big help for some of the less lovely but nevertheless desirable items one needs occasionally. As I overheard someone say, "it's not cheap, but being so near it'll save us some money". I fear the local builder's merchants who've hitherto had the monopoly of DIY business are going to feel the cold orange wind...

First time I've been to an opening of a new store; slightly mundane to be honest, except I was accosted by a brightly smiling, slightly nervous employee and asked "would I like a free gift?" Hey "free"? My favourite word... "Sure, whatya got?" Hmm, a choice of "B&Q" pencil (cheapskates - not sure it was even Orange), a very Orange B&Q-emblazoned baseball cap (er, no, I don't think so) or a dinky pen-sized spirit level which, as the offerer pointed out, was handy for the pocket and could prove useful. Plus it wasn't at all Orange in any way, shape or form. To be honest I don't think she thought much of folks opting for the hat and absolutely no-one was going for the pencils. I took the hint and took a spirit level. It's definitely handy and does indeed fit in my pocket. I congratulate the brightly smiling one on her grasp of the essentials and ability to convey same to the customer. Probably be a supervisor in a year...

A long way round to say:

Went to The Borg and got a free tool.

Meanwhile, even as I type this, five burly postmen are postie-handling the piano out of the door and to its new owner. Naturally the weather has chosen its moment to add a little rain to proceedings, but they nevertheless seem to be managing okay. Slightly sad to see it go, it being my Grandmother's and all, had from new in 1968. A Welmar, no less, ivory keys and a beautiful mahogany case, modern in style. Sniff, I'm getting all nostalgic over it now. But the truth is I haven't touched a key of it in years and the only memories I have of it are the torture of weekly lessons where enough notes to pass as far as Grade 2 were painfully hammered out, massacring Mozart and Bach en route. I'm a far better listener than player.

Why five postmen? Well we stuck enough stamps on it and... Nah, the recipient's dad is a postman and he must have called in a good many favours, although there seems to be plenty of laughter going on as well as cracking muscles.

Ah, it's safely in the van - a bit wet but nothing that won't wipe off. Sigh. Oh well, wonder what would look nice in the space? Always fancied making one of those ladies' writing tables with a curved stretcher...


  1. Whatever you do, don't go to B&Q on a Wednesday unless you have one of their Silver Surfer (as I call them) discount cards. I go on a Wednesday 'cos I'm old and decrepit and qualify for a card but racing all these old codgers (who always seem to be too short to see over the steering wheel) to the last parking place is enough to put fear into the most intrepid driver. And talk about trolley rage - you youngsters aint seen nothing. You have been warned...

    Paul Chapman

  2. Would a nice Beech bookcase fill the void? ;-D

  3. I was curious about this so I looked it up. The largest DIY retailer in the world is infact the Home Depot with annual sales of $73.1 Billion. The second largest DIY retailer is again American with the Lowes chain with annual sales of $12 Billion. Interestingly enough though the third largest DIY retailer in the world is the UK's own B&Q with annual sales of $2.1 Billion. Something else I learned during my little research project is that there is a great deal of speculation that B&Q will be purchased by either Lowes or Home Depot. I should go back to work now, and who says the internet is distracting?

  4. Paul, every day is Silver Surfer Day round here - it's like Bournemouth.

    Nick, ah, now I wonder why you would suggest that...

    Jerry, $2.1 billon?! And all I squeezed out of them was a spirit level? Darn. Incidentally, you haven't thought about getting out more, have you...? ;~)


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