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     Volume 5 Issue 89 | April 7, 2006 |

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Straight Talk

Deja Vu

Nadia Kabir Barb

The ideal home show was back this year and with an almost Pavlovian reaction I found myself back at the exhibition once again. Having attended the show for three consecutive years, and having written about it once before, I thought that it would be nice to go and have a wander around the place. I was also convinced that after the last time where I ended up buying products that were completely useless and did not actually do anything that they were supposed to, I would not be tempted by any of the goods at the show this time. It was just going to be a "look-see" event. When I mentioned this to my husband, his remark was something along the lines of, "oh, look I can see some flying pigs…"

This time I went with my Aunt and my eldest daughter. We decided to buy a brochure as it seemed like a practical way of finding our way around. However the show itself was so big that even with the floor map it was like walking through a maze blindfolded! The ground floor mainly dealt with Home furnishing, Gardening and DIY, Home Entertainment and Technology etc. For our first port of call, we made our way around the furniture area as this was something that I was rather interested in. Sadly nothing caught our eye; in fact some of the items on display were less than visually pleasing. Okay to be honest they were hideous. We were wondering who would actually buy dining tables that were as ugly as some of the ones we saw. There is no accounting for taste --- one man's food is another man's poison.

However, there was a company selling dining tables that could be converted into pool tables. I have to say that I thought the concept was quite ingenious. What fun if you could play a game of pool and then have dinner or vice versa without ever having to leave your house! I am sure a large part of the male population would not mind having one of these tables conveniently sitting in their homes. Unsurprisingly when I told my husband he seemed very interested in the convertible tables and although I had mentioned it as a matter of jest, I got the feeling that a pool/dining table is something that really caught his fancy. Uh-oh.

As we ambled around the massive arena, the various exhibitors tried to entice us into their show rooms and stalls. Some were more successful than others as we were tempted into some of the showrooms and avoided going into others. We then decided to check out the upper floor which contained home wares, gifts, food and drink, fashion and body care etc. This floor was definitely more interesting to my daughter as there were stalls with jewellery and gifts including certain art and crafts toys. Needless to say that not only did we browse at these places but ended up buying more than a few things. I told myself that the items we bought were for my daughter and I had still maintained my look but do not buy approach!

The food court was another section of the show that I was quite keen to have a look at. The last few times there had been a variety of different types of food to choose from and I had managed to go home with a collection of fruit pies, olives, flavoured liquorice and God knows what else. This time however, I was very disappointed as the choice seemed to be rather limited and after a short reconnaissance mission, I came away with just a mixed bag of liquorice (for the children of course!)

Up until then I was patting myself on the back for not having been persuaded into buying products claiming to do amazing things but turning out to be duds. I then happened to pass a place that was selling Orthopaedic pillows. My aunt bought one and told me it might help me with my neck and back pains that I quite frequently complained about. So my resolve was somewhat diminished at the thought of waking up without aching shoulders and neck. After a minute of Hamlet-esque procrastination of "to buy or not to buy", I gave in and asked the lady to give me one as well. Later that night I took the pillow out of its packaging and prepared to have a great night's sleep. Talk about wishful thinking. The pillow was made of foam that moulds to the shape of your head and keeps your spine aligned. Somehow the foam felt incredibly solid and I complained to my husband that my head was obviously not heavy enough as it did not seem to be making any impression on the pillow whatsoever! In the middle of the night I even considered changing the new pillow for my old soft one but sheer willpower helped me persevere. Definitely not the type of pillow you want to have a pillow fight with as you might render your opponent unconscious! To give the pillow credit, when I woke up it was not with a stiff neck or aching shoulders! So I was chuffed that I had finally bought something that worked.

I did not stop at the pillow; we were given a demonstration of an electric massage machine at the exhibition and of course the next thing I knew, I was handing my credit card to the sales assistant and taking home a brand new massager. I think you may be finding a trend to the products I was purchasing. I could not wait to take my new toy home and try it out. Once I was back home and settled comfortably in front of the television I switched on my massager. The next thing I knew, my brain felt like it was being shaken around in my head and my whole body was vibrating in unison with the machine. It took a little while to figure out which speed to use so that my bones stopped rattling around and by brain was suitably stable in my skull. After that it was rather pleasant and relaxing.

So at the end of our trip, I had broken my vow not to buy unnecessary goods but in my defence this time I seemed to have picked up a couple of items that actually worked!

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