Saturday, 9 July 2011

Pineappled

Shop local. That's the ethical way to purchase your goods nowadays. Use the shops on the high street, avoid the big chains and encourage local entrepreneurs.
With that in mind, I make my way along Govan Road towards "Govan Carpets", a long narrow shop with pillars of floor coverings lined up against the walls.

At the kerb, the Govan Carpets van is being loaded up by a couple of guys and a wee boy. Standing at the entrance is the proprietor, a slim, wiry older gent, brylcreemed hair and blue tinted specs.
"How ye doin'? What ye after the day? Come on in an have a check of this - it's your chance to give to charity. Ye know the Govan charity, it's on the radio, you know the Govan radio, I've been raising a lot a funds for them. Ah bought 200 pineapples and Ah've been auctioning them for the Govan charity. C'mon in" he says, ushering me through the door, "Here, look at this, it's the last pineapple."
I look down at a puny fruit,
"Just a donation, right, whatever you think, let's say a fiver."
I slip my purse out and unzip it saying,
"Em, dunno if I've even got a fiver on me."
"Right then," says he, "Just give me all yer change, have you got five pounds worth?"
"Em, not sure, maybe about £3 or so. Ah'm in to see about a carpet."
"Right, what you after? See this carpet on the floor, it's a beauty, been down 5 year and look how good it's lasted. A lot of feet in here ye know. What's your measurements?"
"I think it's 3 x 8 metres but I'm not sure exactly. How much is it a metre?"

By a neat sleight of hand, the change in my hand transfers to his pocket, his mouth rattling on nineteen to the dozen.
"Right, ye local? Ok then, he'll go and measure up for ye."
He's referring to a young version of himself who's just come in the door of the shop,
"Come on, you'll take the lady in the van and get her room measured up, eh."
The guy is shaking his head, "Away you go and measure," he says, "Ah've just put ma dinner out."
I intervene, "No, no need," I'm saying, "Just give us a price just now - Ah like the carpet we're standing on."
"Aye, it's a stoatir. Here, get a price for the wumman. Ye can get it in charcoal or broon or, does it come in a cream?"
"Aye." The son sits himself down at a cluttered desk and starts tapping a calculator and spouting out numbers. The old da goes out on the pavement to chat to somebody.
"One point one one nine, times three times - right, Ah can give you that for a hundred n forty pound. Then there's the carpet fitter. He'll dae it for aboot eighty pound."
Before he can continue the old man butts in, "Make that sixty pound, he'll dae it for the wumman for sixty."
The young man shakes his head a wee bit again, "Right, awright, awright, but he'll need a fair bit a glue for that size, it's gonny be twenty pound for the glue. Ye payin cash?"
"Yeah, Ah would be, yeah, cash."
"Ok, we'll dae it for a hundred and twenty."
"Ah'll have to check the size then and come back in," says I.
"You go ahead, " says the old man and losing interest in me, he wanders back out onto the street.
My eye falls on the pineapple and I hesitate, wondering if I should lift it and take it away.
"Auction off yer pineapple for another fiver," I say to the old guy as I pass by,
"Aye, right ye are hen."

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