top of page


It’s an old man’s life


The other day I had to go a get a spare part for my car. After finding a parking spot at the back of the car park I went into the customer service area at the garage where there was a queue for the Parts Desk. The guys in the Motor Parts shop were very helpful. Very polite and very very helpful, and they wanted to ensure that everyone got exactly the part they thought they come in for.


A customer left the counter with a spare part and a smile on his face. He had obviously got want he had come in for. “Next customer please. Sorry to have kept you waiting for so long Sir”

Good, I thought, only one to go in this interminably slow queue. Shall I read this magazine again? Yes? No? Yes? What on earth can this chap in front want?


“What is it that you want sir?“ “I want a light bulb for my Corsa please.”

Good, I thought again, that should be quick.


“What model Sir?” He was asked. He thought carefully “A Ford I think.”

“What Engine Size is it Sir?” He thought carefully. “1 litre I suppose.”

“Is it petrol or diesel, Sir?” He thought carefully again. “I put petrol into the tank when I fill up.”


The questions went on and on and on, each one answered very carefully and deliberately. I took as deep a breath as did the salesman.


“What is the car’s registration number Sir?” He thought again. “Ah, here it is on this tax document.”

“Is it a front or rear light you are after Sir?” He thought carefully yet again. “Oh, front of course.”

“Is it a single or double filament Sir?” Again he thought deeply. “I don’t know. I have got the bulb here.” he said, rummaging in his trouser pocket before he brought it out and held it up, almost triumphantly, for the salesman to see.


“Ah!” breathed the salesman. It had even got to the very very polite member of sales staff. “That should help us get the right one for you Sir.” He said without the slightest touch of irony.


After some rummaging on the metal shelves behind the counter he came back to the counter with the right bulb in a small cardboard box. “There we are sir, that with £15.” The man couldn’t decide whether to pay by card or with cash, finally he swiped his card which was accepted without the need for the entry of his code, and off he went.


“Next customer.”

I moved towards the counter in excitement and anticipation.

“Yes Sir, sorry to have kept you wating so long. You could have had a coffee from the machine over there if you had wanted. What is it you want?”

I thought, raised my eyes, took a deep breath and said “Oh, ‘expletive’, this queue has been so long I have quite forgotten what I came in for!”

“No need to use that language Sir, any way it is past our closing time now. Shall we see you tomorrow Sir.”

bottom of page