Last week we discussed the finer points of attending a “rock festival”. The purchase of a tent is de riguer. I went to a shop that urges people to go outdoors. The young assistant assured me that my selected tent was easy peasy to put up.
I don’t know if it was easy to put up. This was the minor detail I did not reveal last week. The tent broke. To use technical language, the metal thing that fits in the fabric doodah that slots into the oojimaflip snapped clean in two. It’s a fairly dispiriting feeling standing in a field in Inverness getting steadily soggier by the minute holding a broken tent thingy.
I took the broken tent back to the shop that urges you to go outdoors.
This tent broke, I said to the young man. And, I added, given the conditions under which tents are usually utilised – i.e. in a field, far from civilisation, well, next to Inverness – it figures that the owner of now busted mode of protection from the elements is going to face a night of severe discomfort. I’d like my money back. Of course, said the nice young man. I’ll just check with The Manager. Super, I said, sorted.
We had not reckoned on The Manager. Like something out of The Blair Witch Project, The Manager was never seen. There were rustlings in the Tent Display. A chair flipped over and a figure flitted in Footwear, but we never managed to lay eyes on The Manager.
There was only a voice, echoing out of the walkie talkie the young man clutched to his chest like a garlic clove. No, the customer couldn’t have a refund on a tent she bought three days before. She must have used it. A voice, half-human, half-manager, howled that tent poles aren’t covered in the guarantee. I pointed out I wasn’t covered by the tent.
The young man was afraid. My maternal instincts kicked in. I pushed him behind me and faced down where I thought The Manager lurked and commanded that he authorise the refund and return to the circle of hell from whence he came. There was a strange, whistling whoosh from Equestrian Accessories. A Gollum voice hissed, give her the money.
I took the refund and ran. I left those young staff behind to the mercy of whatever lives out there in the six-man display tent.