The doorbell rang the other day. So I put my trousers on and opened the door.
“Mr Bealing?” asked the lad in an ill-fitting black suit.
“I’ve been called worse, yes”
“Marks and Spencer”
“That’s a big name for a little boy. Is it hyphenated?”
“You bought a shirt from us last month”
“You haven’t told us what you thought of it. Nor of our service”
“You haven’t come back to the shop to tell us how you found our service or how you liked the shirt”
“I’m sorry, you’ve lost me. You want me to do what?”
“You’re supposed to come back and tell us what your shopping experience with M&S was like”
“It was a white shirt. I wear a lot of em. For work. I went into the shop, went to the white shirt section, chose my size and went and paid for it. Didn’t try it on—it was wrapped. I knew what it was gonna be like cos I have another six at home. What do you want me to say?”
“Can you rate us?”
(I’m starting to get a little peeved now.) “What??”
“You need to come in and rate us—from one to five stars”
“And leave a small comment”
“Ok, here’s a small comment: Fuck off”
“Sorry, sir, but you do. It’s very important for our future trade if customers know what you thought of us”
“Well ok, sonny, on the basis of this little conversation let’s go up there now cos I’m gonna write ‘A pain in the arse’ and give you a rating of minus one”
“Ah no, sir, you can’t do that.”
“But that’s how I feel right now”
“But you mustn’t put bad ratings or comments because that will reflect badly on the company”
“Ok, let’s skip it then, goodbye”
I went to slam the door, but his Autograph Leather Slip-on Gusset Apron Loafers (£45.00) were across the threshold.
“Owwwwww! Bloody hell sir, there’s no need for that”
“I’m sorry, but get your foot out of my door.”
“But you HAVE to rate our store, Mr Bealing, you just must”
“But you only want me to rate it if I give it a positive mark?”
“What about an average score”
“No, that looks bad too”
“Ok, at the risk of repeating myself, Fuck Off”
“Well what about the chicken breasts and the tomatoes you bought at the weekend? I need a mark for those too”
“Sigh. And what if I don’t want to?”
“We’ll just keep coming back and asking you to til you do”
“I shall ignore the doorbell”
“Then you’ll go on the list of ‘bad shoppers’ which we post in all our stores. Now will you mark us please?”
I left my mark by kneeing him in the crotch of his Performance Stormwear™ Wool with Lycra® Single Breasted 3 Button Black Suit (£149.00) and watched him crawling about my lawn, presumably looking for a testicle, as I finally closed my door.
I may have made some of this up. None of us would stand for being hounded and bullied by shops in this way, would we? So why do we allow Ebay and Amazon get away with it?