Why the staff at my local Wilko are the true heroes of 2020...
Wilko. The U.K.'s answer to the question "Where can I buy that thing?". The spiritual successor to our dearly departed Woolworths. The only place to go when in immediate need of a felt tip pen, condoms and a lampshade.
Were it not for Wilko, my access to pic-a-mix sweets would be dramatically curtailed. Sure I could go to the cinema, but have you seen their prices? I'd have to offer my liver as collateral just to be able to afford half a bag of sour cherries. Why waste my time with that when Wilko has the answer to every possible scenario I could think of.
What if you're hosting a barbecue on a sunny day but have neither the sun screen or the barbecue? Wilko has you covered.
What if you've got to cut back an intrusive weed that has somehow ruined the supplies for your home brew wine project? Wilko has you covered.
What if you need to paint your new shed, which you need to buy today, and you still need to get supplies before your incontinent mother brings round her hungry dog and needs you to replace the inner tube of her rusty bike while she relaxes in your paddling pool and you give her a facial treatment with Nivea's finest moisturisers? Wilko. Has. You. Covered.
There's no shop like it for dealing with the intricacies of modern life. It truly is the greatest thing ever to come from the horrors capitalism. As establishments go, it's a pretty good one right now.
But as the country continues to open up, like a reluctant Gazania reacting to the sun peeping it's little head above the horizon, there are many other establishments that seem to have something of a cavalier attitude towards the whole Covid situation that is rubbing me up the wrong way. Shops, shopping centres, pubs and cafes will, if unchecked, be a breading ground for new infections going forwards.
One Cheesecake Shop near me (yes apparently that is a thing here), seems to be a hot spot for social distancing breaches. Every time I walk past it, it seems to be packed with people getting their morning coffee, all seemingly hanging out together, with barely an inch of space between them.
It's frustrating, mainly because I love cheesecake and it hurts me to see the name of such a fine dessert dragged through the mud by a hoard of shoulder bumping coffee swiggers. But seriously, I would throw you in the bin right now for cheesecake.
But it's not the only establishment that is allowing (nay, encouraging) their customers to flaunt social distancing guidelines. Nearly 30 pubs in Derby have been investigated for breaching social distancing rules in the few weeks since pubs reopened. It's a national problem that, somehow, might only be balanced out by throwing children back to school.
Don't get me wrong, I get the desire to go to pubs again and the vast, vast, vast majority of them are going to huge lengths to try and comply with the new rules. But, as the chair of the Police Federation has stated, "drunk people can't social distance" and there is no way that our government normalising this form of close contact by encouraging people across the country to go to the pub can be seen as responsible leadership.
But, as a fictional wizard who has more integrity than his creator once said, "happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light". And, I'll be damned, the light shines bright at my local Wilko (and not just in their lighting section).
Where some shops have removed limits for number of customers and others fail to enforce the confusing mask rules out of convenience, my Wilko has done every it can to maintain the high safety standards it set during the earliest days of Lockdown. We've got queuing systems, we've got mask reminders, we've got staff who point you in the right direction, tell you when you can enter and refuse permission to people who aren't wearing face coverings, no matter the hissy fit thrown. We've got everything you could ask for to feel safe when doing you're shopping and it's all done by a team of smiling faces who have been a constant beacon of assurance throughout these turbulent times.
So, if you also find yourself requiring some ibuprofen and some blister plasters before an afternoon hand planting broccoli seeds, dying your jeans, hair and deck, and worming your hungry and playful dog, then I recommend you make just the one stop.
So my thanks go to the staff at Wilko in Sherwood. You're a good bunch and I know you've got me covered. It hasn't gone unnoticed.
I'd like to apologise for seemingly writing exclusively about Covid-19 related issues these past few months. Today I tried to write a blog about a stupid thought I had whilst shopping in Wilkos, yet still it turned into another rant about how shit the government of this country has been at managing this global pandemic.
I'll try my best to write about something else soon. I just need "something else" to come to the forefront of my mind before that can happen.
xx Joshypoos Helmzibubs xx