WANDERED into a curious little shop only to realise it sells nothing worth buying, you’re alone and the proprietor is staring at you? Here’s how to politely free yourself:
Never speak to the owner
Even a courteous hello to the owner of a tat emporium locks you into a sympathy purchase. Blank them at every turn. Never meet their eye; even a glance will convey how desperate they are and how badly their business is failing. Next you’re leaving with their surplus stock of pewter dragon statues and seaglass jewellery.
Never touch anything
Proper shops operate a ‘you break it, you bought it’ policy. Tiny shops selling nothing anyone could ever want demand that you buy whatever you picked up to inspect out of morbid curiosity. And now you’re going home with a little glass jar with layers of coloured sand in it that cost £17.
Act like you’re lost
After the tinkling entrance bell fades to oppressive silence and rows of dusty knick-knacks, loudly declare ‘this isn’t the pub I imagined it to be’ and walk out, backwards, staring straight ahead. Will the owner would believe you thought a gift shop was a pub? Well, he believed selling crap was a viable business, so why not?
Claim you’ve left your wallet at home
You wish you could buy a dreamcatcher and a gigantic retro box of matches, you really do, but you’ve only gone and left your wallet in your car and your car in your garage and your garage in another city. What terrible luck. ‘Maybe another day,’ you say, ignorant that the proprietor will cling to those words and long await your promised return.
Pretend to die
If you’re unlucky enough to have been cornered while browsing shelves of laser-etched driftwood, fake a cardiac arrest. Lie motionless while waiting for the ambulance even if it takes four hours. The paramedics won’t be mad. They’ve been there, they’ll understand.