Taking the Reiss

Suits you sirAs party of my dalliance with “getting a job” I bought a new suit at the weekend. This turned out to be quite an ordeal, mainly because it was sunny and I was hungover and desperate to get to the park, but also because I encountered a total sleaze of a salesman. What follows may sound a bit “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells” but really…

After enduring some of his “patter” including interrogation-style questions on what I needed the suit for and then what kind of job I was looking for etc etc I emerged from the changing rooms (why can there not be a mirror inside the room?) to find that the suit I’d picked looked fine except you could see the lining of the pockets through the trousers. Not so good. Mr Sleaze then tried to convince me that he could get the pockets removed that afternoon and attempted all kind of sales chat. I wasn’t convinced and headed back in to get changed.

Out of my earshot, my shopping companion (who had also endured much of his chat) then said something to him like, “If you’re going to spend £100 on a pair of trousers you really want them to look right straight off.” To which he replied “Yeah, especially if you’re out of work.” The cheek! I wish I’d heard this at the time as low blood sugar levels might have caused me to mention that I’m not out of work and add something about how shop assistants slogging it out on a Saturday afternoon in a branch of Reiss don’t really have grounds to comment. But I didn’t. So I’m venting here instead.

Suffice to say, I got a very nice suit elsewhere.

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Google resorts to toilet humour

toilet paperIs “because it’s too big” a good enough reason to stop using Google?

A slew of new ads from Ask.com point out that 75% of us in the UK use one search engine. No prizes for guessing who that is.

They are urging people to join their “information revolution” and demand choice in your search options. The welcome message on their microsite is:

“There you are. So, one of our messages got to you. Great!”

Follow us kindred spirit, we are growing in numbers and soon we will all be freeeee..! Now, hold this flashlight and follow me to our HQ, it’s in a secret bunker under Soho Square..stay close, they’ve got spies everywhere..

The TV ads also come across as if they have been filmed in some kind of basement by a group of revolutionaries who have been driven underground. Like the poor, hard-up execs at Ask are fighting the good fight against the terrible oppressors who have a stranglehold on internet search and, therefore, our lives. Huh.

In the meantime, what are the überlords over at Google doing to change their apparent image as the evil dictators of search? Spurred on by April Fool’s Day, they came up with this new product: home wireless that connects via a “fiber-optic cable strung through your local municipal sewage lines.” Beats the carefully orchestrated PR campaign if you Ask me.

Cigars and jellyfish

cigarsHow long do you think it takes to learn to roll a cigar? Can’t be that long, surely. A few weeks? A month? Nope. How about nine months. Nine months. And that’s just the basic training.

At the Partagas cigar factory in Havana the trainees are all down in the basement making cigars that, if they don’t make the grade, will end up getting recycled. If you’re up to scratch after nine months – and can produce the target amount per day, which depends on size and complexity – you get to go upstairs. There were people there who’d been working in the factory for more than 30 years. That’s a lot of cigars.

There’s also someone whose sole job it is to arrange cigars in order of colour on a long table, from lightest to darkest. The point of this is so that when you open your box of Habanos they are all exactly the same shade. Like lining up your set of 40 colouring pencils when you were a kid. But a bit more tricky. And she had nine months’ training just to do that. Everyone seemed pretty happy. They were eating a lot of ice cream too.

Now, where better to enjoy a nice, hand-rolled cigarillo (because I am a lady) than on the deck of your very own beach hut on a small island off the North coast of Cuba? Probably nowhere. And perhaps a nice swim afterwards. Or not, if the water is full of Physalia Physalis. Aka Portuguese Man of War, aka weird-looking and very poisonous jellyfish. There’d been a storm the night before and there were hundreds of them washed up along the beach, plus the little navy blue whatsits that follow them around. So no swimming, but some interesting photos. They look a bit like they should be pursued by Sigourney Weaver and a flamethrower.
Physalia Physalis on Cayo Levisa Cuba
Physalia Physalis on Cayo Levisa Cuba