Tag Archives: Halfords

Spinsterial Boy Racer

old_lady_drivnigCruella has decided she doesn’t like long distance driving; in fact she’s not that fussed on driving at all which is supremely irritating. So today the Spinster is being driven to Derbyshire by lovely kind friend. A few weeks ago I decided that the steering wheel was getting a bit slippery; the traction i.e. the roughness has worn off after 7 years of man, or rather woman, handling by the Spinster. Winter when leather gloves can be worn overcomes the slippage issue but frankly summer linen and leather is not a sophisticated sartorial combination the Spinster is prepared to entertain; safer it may be sophisticated it is not!

So the solution seemed obvious the Spinster was going to have to explore a steering wheel cover; images of 1970’s Capri drivers suddenly overwhelmed me. Lord not a leather or sheepskin number there must be other options; there are indeed other options ladies. The question is does one go to the ‘mobility’ shop or Halfords? Disabled driver or boy racer; neither role is Spinster appropriate but on balance I decided to go for boy racer. Off I toddle to Halfords in Barry Dock where the Spinster had been assured not only could I purchase a cover but the ‘boys’ would put it on; that was the clincher – the opportunity to see a ‘boy’ dressing my (steering) wheel was irresistible!

Of course it’s seldom that straightforward; oh no the Spinster was about to test Halfords customer service to its limits. Quite how this vulnerable middle aged disabled woman could do this escapes me; the menacing German crutches are apparently a wee bit scary especially to short Barry boys! Step one approach a sale assistant to ask where the steering wheel covers are located; explain the problem the Spinster is attempting to resolve. Saturday morning and the sale assistant is an endangered species in Halfords so lurking is required.

Five minutes and the prey is located. The Spinster prepares to pounce (slowly so as to avoid loosing ones balance – certainly pinning people to the ground does get the individual’s attention but possible a tad over the top on this occasion). Callow youth moves rather swiftly in response to my query; at this point the Spinster smirks to herself as I haven’t a hope in hell of keeping up with him. Eventually the sales assistant will realise he’s talking to himself!

A selection is offered and the Spinster chooses the one that seems the best fit with my criteria: purchase i.e. easy to grip. The cover is a combination of padding foam and rough plastic bits at the 10 to 2 driving position – remember that’s the one we’re taught when learning to drive! £9.99 is an acceptable price. ‘Will someone fit it for me?’I ask. ‘You need to pay for it first’ the sales assistant answers. The Spinster resists the temptation to say ‘no sh*t sherlock’!

Transaction complete I ask the cashier if someone will fit it now to which he responds ‘no we don’t fit them. It’s quite easy’. Explaining that someone has just told me Halfords would fit it the cashier tells me (again) that this service is not available. Sighing loudly the Spinster reaches for the cover (with crutch still attached to my arm I inadvertently clip the ankle of the person behind me). ‘OK I’ll give it a go’. To say the Spinster is ANNOYED is an understatement; today, as every day, my manual dexterity is rubbish. It’s akin to wearing boxing gloves and trying to thread a needle!

I get to the car, open the door and stare at the steering wheel. Silently saying ‘right you bugger let’s get you dressed’! As I am about to get into the car a young sale assistant suddenly appears ‘Did you need a hand?’.  Bemused I explain I had been told Halfords didn’t provide the kind of help I needed. ‘Are you sure he (the cashier) wasn’t joking, you know being ironic?’ ‘Oh no he was absolutely clear’ the Spinster responded going on to explain why fitting a stretching tube onto a rigid wheel was going to be difficult when I couldn’t feel my hands.

Watching the young man (admiring his rather gorgeous mop of black curly hair; only just resisting the temptation to run me fingers through it) – who tells me he’s grateful for a chance to sit down for a few minutes! Happy to help I thought! It requires a considerable amount of force to stretch the cover and get it right; there is no way the Spinster could have done it! I could envisage me getting a pair of scissors and a roll of parcel tape to get it in place! Thanks to the cute young man with common sense and compassion poor customer service was rescued but I couldn’t help but think why did it have to be so difficult….

The cover has made the driving experience rather more competent but of late Cruella has taken against it; the hyper sensitivity of the skin on my hands (the muscle tissue is now largely numb/dead) has increased! Last week the Spinster genuinely felt as if the rough plastic bits were tearing the palms/finger tips to pieces; no blood was shed but it certainly felt like it was about to at any moment!!!


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