Susan Morrison: Simple present shopping is a blast from the distant past

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Santa’s lists are in from the son who told his grandmother he wants a tablet. She promptly sallied forth to purchase sugar and condensed milk. Fortunately, I’m on the case and went online to get the hi-tech gizmo the lad is after.

So much easier everyone says – do the online shopping thing. Just click a button and off you go. Simples, as a meerkat might say.

But it isn’t. You can’t just buy and go. Oh no, you must register. What this means is they get to ask you oodles of information before you get to the checkout.

In a shop, the purchase is made. The money is handed over and the assistant may or may not wish you a nice day.

What she almost most certainly will not do is ask you where you live, what other products in the shop would you like, and when your mum’s birthday is so she can remind you to buy a pressie next year, which I don’t need a reminder for, thank you, since I’ve been remembering her birthday since 1981 without the aid of the internet.

Neither will she phone you up or bang on your front door pestering you to buy another headlight for a Rover 45 because you ordered one months ago and she thought you might like another.

Even if it’s a simple matter of train tickets – although, to be fair, there is nothing simple about the purchase of train tickets these days. Every journey has enough permutations on prices to keep a Philadelphia lawyer in business class for life. Apparently, anyone who just buys a ticket is a dolt looking to be ripped off. What you must do is take your journey and break it into several shorter trips, and don’t forget to change at Crewe for the 1.52 through train to Barking then you’ll travel for half the cost. But only if you travel on a wet Wednesday in Lent and you are the same blood group as the driver. Got that? Anyway, if you go online just to buy a ticket, you still have to register, then fight off demands to “tell us about your experience” and then “would you like to name this 
journey”?

Yes, I would like to name this journey as “Just give me my 
tickets, please”.

Poor Kate’s on a loos-er with media glare

ON the matter of the other pregnancy – could we all just turn a blind eye and let the poor girl get on with it?

I’m not a royal fan, but I’ve got a lot of sympathy for a mum-to-be who suddenly finds that the glow of pregnancy refers to the sheen of the porcelain loo. My first pregnancy involved a lot of sitting in the office toilets. To pass the time, I started to work out how many words I could make out of the name Armitage Shanks. I usually got to 41.

All I had to contend with was an army of concerned women banging on the door asking if I was alright and bringing sweet tea into the loo. Offices full of women are great places to be pregnant, not the glare of the world’s media. Let’s leave Kate alone to upchuck in peace.

On the Borderline of extinction

THE news that prisoners in Addiewell are to produce an EP is rather a wheeze. I suppose taking the lads on tour is a bit risky, but how about a bash at The X Factor? C’mon, I’d pay serious money to see Barlow, Walsh et al pale as they explain to Big Malky and Heavy Hughie why they can’t go through to the next round.

An EP, eh? I didn’t even know you could still get those.

Last week, the final event for the history festival was the very first inter-school Previously…Wee History Quiz, for pupils aged 11 and 12ish who were all taller than me.

Six brilliant teams battled it out, with names like Bruce’s Breakfast and Wallace’s Egg. The winners, Still Game, were from Portobello High School, who get the honour of displaying the William Morrison Trophy for a year. Yes, it’s named after my dad. I got to buy the trophy, I get to name it.

One of the rounds was Which Year?. We asked which year had a concert which featured Madonna, Queen and David Bowie. One little boy underlined the possible year with great confidence because, as he said, he quite liked classical music and sometimes listened on LPs, which, he said in a hushed voice, his dad kept in special covers.

Me and the Material Girl are fast becoming fossils.

When Harry got pally?

At the bottom of the TV screen in the shop window it said “Royal Baby News” and for one brief, wild, exhilarating moment I thought Prince Harry had managed to well and truly put his foot in it.

Lord knows that lad gets about a bit.