You know what they say about shopping therapy?

Last weekend I had reason to walk through the Outlet Village… or Rodbourne Shopping Centre as I call it.

I’ve never quite understood the concept of calling an area a village when it plainly isn’t one. By my reckoning, a village is surrounded by open countryside, ideally has a pub and a school, and probably has horses and sheep in it.

Just like where I live.

It’s not an endless array of shops and nothing else.

Toothill apparently has a village centre. Hmm! Out in the sticks, or out in the bricks?

Anyway, without going into too much detail, my wife needed to buy something specific and came into Swindon with me when I went to watch Town. We parked up at the Outlet doodah, I walked to the County Ground and she picked me up after the match.

Actually, that is all the detail.

I’d already read that the centre had recently been extended to incorporate more shops, but I figured I knew my way around and could find my way out past Steam and into town.

But I couldn’t.

My usual route through had been blocked off, in an attempt to force me through the new area… which I had no intention of visiting. That day I was a pedestrian… not a shopper.

So I turned on my heel and took the other route I knew, which saw me walk through the children’s play area, then all the way down, parallel to the way I’d started, back up again past the book shop (books are a necessity… not a purchase), and outside into the fresh air.

The whole exercise reminded me that I don’t particularly like shopping… or more specifically browsing… which seems to be the purpose of RodShopCen.

When I want something I like to have a plan that takes me to the shop I need, allows me find that item immediately, pay for it without delay and get out again. If I can do that inside a minute I’m happy.

I don’t like to be forced past endless shops that I’m not interested in, just to get from A to B.

Every weekday morning I pick up a copy of the Adver from a shop called One Stop. I will already have sorted my 65p, so that I can give the cashier the correct money without having to wait for change.

But every morning the guy behind the counter seems actually surprised that I know how much my purchase will cost, have the right coinage and that I can count it correctly. I’m expected to wait while he checks it.

‘Spot on!’ he will announce in apparent amazement as I leave the shop.

(I’ve even noticed that an anagram of One Stop is ‘E! Spot on!’) And another thing.

Why is it that when I go shopping with my wife and we both need deodorant, we are expected to look in two different sections of the supermarket? Are the products not performing the same job?

Is there really any difference between men’s deo and women’s, apart from the colour of the can?

Oh, and why do shops, supermarkets and department stores pretend that they stock a full selection of clothes, when in reality the women’s section comprises of 65% of the area, the kids another 25% and the men’s section consists of three tee shirts, a pair of jeans and some socks, all of which are either small or XXXL?

Wow. That’s got a lot of things off my chest. I feel better already. This shopping therapy really works.

Thanks for listening.

Now, back to the country.