Saturday, 17 April 2010

Pound for pound

I sleep in, so wake up worried I will waste my day off. Try to get Southern Man out of bed, but he puts on a meek lady's voice and says he has (another) cold. Manage to coax him through to the living room with the promise of a pint of tea. He slumps on the sofa to watch Man U v Man City while I wash clothes and dishes and cook cheese omelettes. I am restless. The sun is out. He is not moving. I storm out of the flat in a huff, not entirely sure that he has noticed.

While stomping around Ealing I make a discovery. Poundland. It is new and it has opened next to River Island. It is not the first pound shop here - Poundkingdom is across the road. But Poundkingdom is a dark and grubby shop with miserable staff and narrow aisles stocked with plastic tubs, cigarette lighters and kitchen roll.

Shiny new Poundland is full of women with Marks and Spencer carrier bags who have popped in for a quick look and are now giddy with the savings on TOP BRANDS! and are clutching armfuls of shortbread, bleach and shampoo. 'Are these batteries really not knock-off?' an astounded woman asks a shop assistant, waving branded batteries under his nose. He beams, and assures her that all the goods are indeed genuine. And JUST £1!

I explore the bright aisles; there are bird feeders, plants, swimming goggles and hardback books. There's even a pair of plastic boobs for sale, next to the scented pens. In the DVD section I find £1 classics such as Meeting A Bullet, Hood Angels and Dawson's Creek (series one and two). I pick up three tins of HP beans, a tube of squeezy Heinz mayonnaise and four padded envelopes. Queuing up I get an attack of the guilts and nip back to get a packet of honey and lemon Beechams (£1). Just in case he isn't putting it on.

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