I’m not generally a great fan of Argos: I know it’s common practice nowadays especially with internet shopping but the idea of looking at stuff in a catalogue and filling in a form and going to the counter and having the stuff magically appear a few minutes later down a conveyor belt seems to me slightly dislocated experience; somewhere between a self-checkout and ‘The Generation Game’ but much less fun than either. If I’m shopping for stuff I like to look at the stuff. I like to pick it up and feel the width, the heft of it in my hand; I like to read the instructions and see if it really is what I want. Yes, I know that all this information is there if you look for it – but that’s the thing; it’s information in the abstract, not experience in the concrete. I can read about a strimmer weighing 2.2 kg but unless I pick it up in my hot and sticky hand I don’t know if it’s going to work for me.
But one mustn’t look a gift card in the mouth; and when a voucher for Argos comes your way, to Argos we will go – or at least to the website – to see what we can buy. And so far I’ve purchased a push-along mower (slightly better than the electric on our lumpy lawn) a water-butt (terrific: I’ve wanted one for ages) and now a lawn edging implement and a permanent mug (or whatever those things are called that you’re supposed to use for drinks in order to avoid plastic.) My thinking is that if I neaten the edges of the lawn it’ll be easier to maintain. We’ll see. The only things I’m lacking in order to make my gardening experience complete are a good hoe and a decent pair of wellies (and none of your pink flowery monstrosities, thank you very much: retailers seem to think that only men wear green wellies as they start at size seven. Grrr.)