The idea of going on a pilgrimage is ancient. In a secular society I thought I would go on a pilgrimage to the Pound Shops. I like going into shops and looking at things and people but I don’t like buying things. I had noticed the Pound Shops and gone into them without really looking. I had in mind that they would be full of Chavs and people who were no stranger to the frying pan. I hadn’t noticed that Chavs have now morphed into other groups and also that our governent is hostile to poor people and as a result the poor are harried and downhearted. Who would have believed that we would feel nostalgia for the embullient and cheerful Chavs?
Bit I digress.
I have used the term “Pound Shops” to include similiar shops. Actually one of then is a 99p shop. I went into three in Blackpool and one in Cleveleys and then for a change one in Church Street Blackpool.
My curiosity started in Cleveleys as all good things do. Walking down Victoria Road I saw the Pound Shop and I went in expecting to see a gallery of grotesque caricatures as if I had walked into a Hogarth Print. But I didn’t. It was very well lit and clean. The staff were purposeful and the customers were not whiling away their time between methadone prescriptions. They were often family groups and they looked purposeful too. And they looked as if they were enjoying themselves in a quiet way. I saw a lady I know slightly who is very well-turned out and fashionable looking at the jewellery.
And what was there to buy?
There were huge sections devoted to cleaning materials, stationery, pets, gardening, toys and food. The pets section included a section devoted to wild birds. I looked at a packet which contained dried mealworm and I was awed by the versatility of capitalism. Speaking as a semi-retired Marxist-Leninist it struck me as beyond belief that an entrepreneur had set up a mealworm farm to meet the needs of a Poundshop in Cleveleys and that it was econmomic to raise the mealworms and slaughter them (humanely I hope) and dry them out and packet them and transport them so that the proletarians of Cleveleys can have the satisfaction of feeding wild birds.
And is it humane to feed a dead animal to a wild animal?
But I digress. Actually I did see one or two useful items there was a tool for my bike. I actually had the tool somewhere but I could never find it when I wanted it and there were some handy foodbags.
I would be incomplete in my description if I did not include the crisp selection. There were more kinds of crisp than there are stars in the sky. A whole section was a kind of temple to the crisp. If crisps are your thing the place to head.
Almost everybody I saw in the shops looked content. And I only saw one strikingly unusual person who looked so like Katie Price that she might have been Katie Price except that I have no real notion who Katie Price is. I did give her a wide berth because her eyelashes looked as if they could slice the arm off of a monkey with a single bat.
It would be unfair if I gave the impression that the food selection consisted of heartclogging products. There were a number of alternatives including vegetables and dried fruit and nuts and the coffee selection looked tempting.
So what can we say about the people who shop at Poundland. Well if the products on display are a guide they live in immaculately clean scented with plug in airfreshners. Their bathrooms are full of hygienic products. Their stationery is well organised and their children have a selection of imaginative toys.
Their pets are spoiled and when they garden they do not forget the birds who they ply with tasty mealworms.
It’s not the Socialist Workers’ State that one aspires to.
But its not too bad.