Jaqui's Daily Blog

A Tale of Tailoring and Trousers

The chap in The Man's Shop was clearly trying to get in touch with his Feminine Side. He was, indeed, very trying.

In short, he was multi-tasking - but in a chaotic fashion which led everyone of his customers (including Mr B and me) to wish he wasn't trying quite so hard to please us all. It was like that Aesop's fable, do you know the one I mean? It involves an old man, a boy and a donkey, as I recall. The owner of the Four Legged One, in aiming to win approval from everyone, ended up pleasing nobody. Apart from the obvious problem of time and space, one might almost have imagined that old Aesop had been there in The Man's Shop, watching and making notes for his Fable. I wonder what difference it would make if I re-named the blog as The Daily Fable? Would people still be reading my Wise Words thousands of years hence?

Forgive me for descending into Flights of Fancy - I will now return to my Tale of Tailoring and Trousers.

We were in The Man's Shop because Mr B had decided that he would like nothing more than a couple of pairs of trousers for his birthday tomorrow. With, just possibly, a leather belt to hold them up. I know, I know, it may not seem the most exciting of presents but if you only knew how difficult it is to persuade Mr B that a birthday is worth celebrating, then you would understand why I was quite excited that he had had an idea for a present. So excited was I that we set off forthwith on the Pulse bus for the shops. I must at this point record special thanks to the bus driver who patiently waited for us when he noticed Mr B struggling along the pavement on his rollator (we call it Rowley for short - everything is given a name in our family.)

The good thing about The Man's Shop is that it doesn't pretend to be something it isn't. It is a shop for men. I like a shop that tells it like it is. As I think I have told you before, it is my one complaint about Boots - which sells more or less everything except footwear. The Man's Shop, moreover, is a shop in which men feel comfortable because they know they won't suddenly find themselves straying into Lingerie or Handbags or, heaven forbid, the Perfume Counter.

Unfortunately today lots of men were in The Man's Shop. One wanted a dress shirt for some posh "do" he was attending; another was wondering if his waistcoat could be altered to fit his slightly rounder figure; a third wanted pyjamas; another just wanted to collect some dry-cleaning. A couple were "just looking."

It would have been better by far had Mr Do It All served each of us in turn. Yes, it might have taken a while to get round to us but, if we really felt the need, we could have slipped off for a spot of lunch and come back later. This was clearly an eventuality that our friendly shop-keeper wanted to avoid at all costs. He therefore set out to serve us all at one and the same time. Trousers, sir? Certainly, he would find a tape measure to check Mr B's girth. Off he went to locate a tape measure, on the way stopping to pull armfuls of pyjamas off a shelf for one of our fellow customers and to point out the Specials Rail to the "Just Lookers." By the time he returned to Mr B and me, he had forgotten exactly which part of Mr B's anatomy he was supposed to be measuring.

It took a very, very long time to select the ideal trousers (you are right, they were the very first ones we looked at) and find the only leather belt in Mr B's size out of several brought for him to sample. One was far too small, one was far too large but the third belt was Just Right. It was a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears - though Mr B has no locks and mine are mousy, rather than gold.


It took ages to pay because Mr Do It All insisted on answering the phone while processing my debit card - apparently forgetting that there was only one telephone line into the shop. Unlike him, the telephone could only serve one customer at a time. I never knew a telephone could be so sensible.

To be fair, we found the perfect trousers - they just need to be turned up an inch or so which is being done at no extra charge. We can collect them on Thursday when we will also bring in Mr B's favourite blazer to see if, like our fellow customer's waistcoat, it can be let out a bit. Plus because there will be a Sale starting in The Man's Shop next week and The Multi-Tasking One didn't want us to feel cheated, he took a sizeable chunk off the bill.

Where else would you receive such excellent service? Despite everything, we went home satisfied. As, presumably, did all the other customers in the end, each carrying a bag containing either a dress shirt, a pair of pyjamas, dry-cleaning or a ticket for alterations to a waistcoat. The "Just Lookers" possibly left empty-handed having, well, just looked. But I bet they'll be back.

It seems it may be possible to please all the people, all the time.


I think I may have just rewritten Aesop's Fable, courtesy of The Man's Shop.

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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