I'm sure I'm getting old but what is it with shops and restaurants these days, where you can't hear yourself think above the music that consistently blares out? I took Amy shopping last Thursday and by the time we got back to the car, my ears were ringing with loud music and people shouting at each other because it was the only way they'd be heard. We went in Frankie & Benny's (very nice, very expensive) and I had to ask the waitress numerous times to repeat what she was saying. I'm sure she thought I was deaf. But seriously, I couldn't hear a word she said. It was like she was miming at me. Then we went into a clothes shop, you know, one of those trendy ones where they don't stock anything above a size 12, and all the assistants are young enough to be your daughter and you feel completely out of place. Once again, music blaring out and I was unable to hear the girl behind the till as she mimed how much I owed. I had to look at the till to see what I needed to pay in the end because I'd have been there all day otherwise. It doesn't seem to phase them. Either they have bionic hearing or they just prefer not to talk to customers. Assistants were even walking around one store, dancing and singing, and completely ignoring the customers, many of whom looked totally perplexed and pissed off at having the challenge of finding what they wanted without being directed to it.
I can't stand shopping. I'll go if I need to, or if Amy wants to buy something - she has lots of vouchers to spend, left over from Christmas and her birthday - but really, I can't wait to get home after a trip to the shops. I spent most of Friday saying "pardon" after temporarily losing my hearing somewhere between New Look and Frankie & Benny's. I remember going in HMV at the Metrocentre once where I actually gave up after asking the assistant five times, yes, 5 times, to tell me where I could find a CD containing a compilation of House music for Amy. I swear, I couldn't hear a word she was saying. I was embarrassed. I was also bloody annoyed. And in the end I shouted very loudly, "Maybe if you turned the music down I wouldn't keep asking you to repeat yourself." Then I walked off and shopped elsewhere! How do these shop assistants and restaurant staff stand it all day, almost every day? Maybe they have a stash of earplugs behind the counter, or maybe I'm just getting old.