On Friday, I had occasion to purchase a sleeping bag. What with all the groovy festivals and camping extravaganzas I’ve got planned for the summer, I figured I could do with something bright and snuggly to hunker down in. I go into Millet’s and linger around the sleeping bag department, umming and aahing in a way that would suggest to any fully-functioning, non-brain dead shop assistant, that I need a bit of help. Eventually, I shout across the empty shop to a boy/girl (the sex was confusing but for the purposes of this blog, it shall be a he) who looks barely old enough to do a paper round, let alone be trusted to actually serve people. Me: ‘can you take me through your sleeping bags’, him: ‘I don’t really know much about sleeping bags’, me: ‘Is there anyone here who does?’, him: ‘I’ll ask’. He then approaches surly, grown-up woman who is window-dressing. She shrugs her sloping shoulders in a ‘I have no idea and don’t actually give a shit anyway’ sort of way so pre-pubescent boy heads back to me, asking, what is it I need to know, exactly? I ask what 2 seasons refers to. He shakes his head and retreats to the stock room for a consultation. Ten minutes later he returns: ‘it would be good for a fairly warmish winter’ he says. I ask to see invisible man from stock room but pre-pubescent boy says stock room man doesn’t really know any more than that. I huff, puff, tut and finally flounce out, vowing never to enter the shop again. Later on that day, at a beautiful country park hotel, I’m taking tea on the terrace with my mother. Despite the plethora of waiters, we wait 45 minutes for our finger sandwiches, scones, jam and clotted cream and assorted pastries. On enquiring what the delay is, our waiter informs us the kitchen is a mess and an unexpected number of tea-takers means they’ve run out of scones. A girl with big gums and bulging eyes eventually gives us coffee instead of tea and drops one of our precious finger sandwiches on the gravel. A stiff email is in the offing.