Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Primark - Does it Get Any Worse Than This ?

There is a retail phenomenon that has enveloped these shores in recent years, at first it was just the cheaper cities, the ones who didn't care too much about image, the ones where the planners had no grand ambition to be held in city planning esteem as the sort of planned city centre that every city should aspire to, the ones with a more than three to one ratio of social housing schemes on their perimeters and a bus service of sorts to shuttle the social security clothing coupon bearers in and out of the centre...

But now every city centre has a Primark.
And Leeds has a fekkin huge one.

If the polyester "shell" or "leisure" suit is your bag then Primark is your Valhalla, if you do not own footwear that does not have vertical stripes and the makers name down the sides, if the phrase "shirt and tie" bears only faint whisps of recognition from the time that you had to attend the magistrates court, if you are capable of arranging the words "Adidas", "Fred Perry" and "Nike" into some sort of order of preference and desirability for any given month in the year, if you spend more on ornaments for your ears, neck and hairstyle than you do food for your several children, then Primark is your Sweet Home Alabama, its the place you wish you could return to just by clutching your small dog to your breast, screwing your eyes tight shut, clicking your heels three times and saying it's so.

And if its so then you will resemble the Primark Ladies in my sketch, a sketch that was made last Thursday when the person who proclaims to be welded inextricably to my wallet until eternity (even though I have pleaded loss of memory for the whole of 1983), took me to that high alter of appalling taste and cheap fabrics.

I swear that I could have searched all day in that city block sized four storey retail emporium and still not found a single item of clothing priced above £3.99, and I'd have searched for the rest of the following day to find and item that was worth its price tag, and I would have failed my mission on both days as well as being declared clinically insane at the end of the task.

Somewhere in India, or Indonesia, or Taiwan, there are whole cities of dirt poor downtrodden people who harbour dreams of wealth, importance and prestige, all to be earned at the high alter of Primark's annual purchase order for polyester track suits in various garish colour combinations starting at size 2XL and increasing. In these cities the children forsake their education completely to work in the same sweat shops as their parents, grandparents and great grandparents, four generations aiming at the golden shot target of 200 4XL sweatpants a day, a target which if achieved will mean each pant can leave the factory door with a price tag of a few coppers, a price tag which even after being shipped halfway around the world to our shores will be still struggle to hit double numbers of pence, thus maintaining the Primark promise, proclaimed from all of its street front windows "We May Sell Shite, Hell We Admit To Selling Shite, But Its The Cheapest Shite You'll Ever Buy Lady".

Its a horrible shop where horrible people fight to buy horrible goods, goods which are at first piled high, not hung on racks, but piled high on pallets with a cardboard price stand placed on top, all of which is soon spread all over the floor for many aisles around as the clientele fight each other for the dubious honour of being the one who manages to check out a whole trolley full of goods and break the magical £10 mark - no-one has ever spent £10 and managed to carry all of their own bags out of Primark, it is simply impossible, a £10 expenditure would require a forklift truck assistance.

I lasted for ten minutes in Primark last week, ten minutes in the living reincarnation of Bedlam until I sold my, and my children's souls to a devil who promised to show me the fire exit and the stairs to sanity in return for my afterlife, its a small price to pay.


Dan said...

I bet you look great in your new hoodie though.

Anonymous said...

If they look like this! where The F*** are the men in their lives?
pass on that...

nice pics btw :)

Gary said...

I wore the hoodie once, its dusters now but at 50p its not so bad.

Anonymous said...


Jeff said...

Nice sketch. I didn't even realize all those sketches were yours. Cool!

Gary said...

anon - amazing artist indeed, I didn't see that coming until right at the end.

Jeff - all my own scribbles :)

Anonymous said...

Bravo, this magnificent phrase is necessary just by the way