D. I. Cry

IMG_1860Recently I had to go into Wickes* as I had essential ironmongery requirements and I was reminded of how much DIY shops torment me.

*other hardware retailers are available

1) Dirty, dirty, dirty; why do these shops have to be so grubby? There’s always bits of sand on the floor and odd black marks all over the place and it reeks of WD40 and manliness.

2) Hazardous equipment; every so often there’s a tannoy announcement telling me to watch out for a forklift truck. A forklift truck! Who wants to shop whilst also trying to avoid industrial vehicles? Chuck in a couple of diving turtles and you’ve got yourself a real life game of Frogger.

3) It’s full of measurements; 110mm this and 305mm that. Is your garage door 2134mm or 2286mm high? Should I get a 15″ pick or a 33″ pick? Too. Many. Numbers.

4) I don’t speak hardware; I need a translator when I go shopping – composite, lagging, caulk, threshold, canopy, maserator, mattock, intumescent. It’s like another language. A DIY shop assistant can strike fear into your heart with the words “Do you want that in polished nickel, satin nickel, polished brass or brass plated.” to which the response is usually something along the lines of “Erm…. can I call my dad / husband / boyfriend / brother / neighbour / any other man in my life who might have a clue?”

5) Even the soap sounds adventurous; Can I buy some swarfega please? *growls in a rugged and masculine way*

6) Too much choice; There are over 60 different types of radiator. Who knew? And you can’t just go and buy nails you have more choice than pocket money day at Woolies pick and mix counter. There are clout nails, square twist nails, annualar ringshank nails (is it just me that thinks this one sounds like some sort of kinky item found in a ‘Private shop’?), round wire nails, green phosphated exterior nails…..



One thought on “D. I. Cry

  1. ‘composite, lagging, caulk, threshold, canopy, maserator, mattock, intumescent’

    A plethora of specialised terminology can sometimes prove disconcerting, to be sure. But do we not find ourselves in this bind in large part because we have allowed English to indulge its nasty habit of Hoovering up words and proto-words wherever it ventures?

    English, and Ironmonger English in particular, has no overarching office or bureau to stem this influx. It need thus observe little or no restraint when pilfering from more demure, proper, smug and unsuspecting languages like, say, French or Ancient Greek or Neo-Klingon.

    The marked tendency toward plunder has allegedly given this unruly tongue of ours the most extensive vocabulary of any language. (We must, it goes without saying, remain on our guard in the presence of undocumented allegedness.)

    Are not perennial incomprehension and paralysing confusion a small price to pay to have such a behemoth at our beck and call?

    Perhaps now is the perfect moment to join me and millions of others in a joyful embrace of verbal bewilderment? It is, after all, Who We Are.




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