It all began on 6 October, a day like any other until I checked my bank statement. There I discovered two small withdrawals that were not mine. My bank acted swiftly to block further activity on my debit card, refunded my account and sent me a new card, which duly arrived on 8 October.
In the meantime, on 7 October, I had a hospital appointment in Exeter (approx 130 mile round trip). It was raining so heavily that I abandoned my car and, not having a canoe, took the train. After three hours in the hospital and a wet walk back to the railway station, there was nothing for it but a little retail therapy. Book shops were out of the question in my dripping rainwear but just around the corner from the station is that emporium of kitchenalia, Lakeland.
What could they have that I had not already purchased from them via mail order or online? Listen closely and you might hear my family say "Nothing!" There, however, just inside the door, I spotted the Oxo Good Grips Potato Ricer. Just the thing for making the nursery style meals I now have to produce for my aged mother-in-law. And yes, I did find a few more items that I don't really need but retail therapy has to be applied liberally to be effective.
Many shops now will not accept cheques, so I no longer carry a cheque book; my new bank card had not arrived and so I used that old-fashioned stuff: cash. And that proved to be the next stage in my sorry tale: out of practice in using this commodity, I failed to keep the till receipt!
I made some very fluffy mashed potatoes with the ricer yesterday. I put the ricer in the washing up bowl and I took out not one piece but three!
A frantic scrabble through bags, pockets and piles of paper failed to produce the receipt but I rang Lakeland's customer service and explained. The pleasant voice at the other end checked my account details and must have seen my long record of loyal consumerism. (My kids call my kitchen Lakeland.) But no - no receipt, no refund. I could take the broken ricer back to the store and get a replacement. Mmm, 130 miles, £30 in fuel? Perhaps not.
The morals of the tale:
- Never do cash transactions.
- Never buy Oxo products.
- Never depend on goodwill from Lakeland.
- Mash potatoes like you've always done.