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Nothing At All Like A Greek Dog
It sells everything in the whole world .
You can't see the stuff before you buy it .
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Ever been sat at home of an afternoon, idly wondering what the best goddamn thing in the world is? Well, I can now give you the definitive answer (and I like to think of myself as something of an authority on these matters): it's Argos.
If you have an A-level in being an ancient Greek, you'll probably be thinking that I'm referring to Odysseus' dog. I'm not, though. And don't even try and read the 'Odyssey'. Man, that is one unrewarding book. All the characters have unpronounceable names and it turns out that you have to have encyclopaedic knowledge of every other Greek myth to get beyond page 3. It's a much better idea, I think, to watch 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' You'll be finished quicker, too. Even if you're the world's speediest speed reader, the Odyssey still takes 9 years to read.
What I am referring to is Argos the shop. The obvious downside, as I pointed out in the last paragraph, is that it's nothing at all like a Greek dog. It is, though, a shop of magic and wonder, which should be a consolation to all but the most hard-bitten cynics.
Now, I'm going to launch into this epic (see what I did there?) having made a couple of assumptions:
1. You're not stupid.
Bit of a risk, this one; I know. I am not going to explain in sombre tones and mind-numbing detail exactly what Argos is. For one thing, I'm taking a stand against pandering to dull and stodgy people who find their way to Ciao to breed. For another, if you don't already know what Argos is, well, you should be killed.
2. You know how to exercise censorship: if you don't like it, don't read it.
If you're offended by swearing, are a right-wing Christian (I'm not at all sure yet how I'll manage to bait the Jesus-lovers in this particular review, but it's worth issuing a blanket warning), care about facts, or are stupid; best not to read on. Do not, do not, do not tell me why I've offended you. I won't care. If you're in any of those groups your opinion is pretty much meaningless to me.
Still with me? Jolly good. Argos is so amazing that it almost defies definition. I'll give it a go, though. Argos is a mega-big shop that sells everything in the whole world. The basic idea is that you have a catalogue ('the book of the whole world') that you idly flick through when you're bored at work. In the manner of a magpie (if you were a magpie that was quite into furniture, bedding, toys and random household equipment. Hmm. I may perhaps have stretched this analogy further than its limits), your eye will naturally alight on something that your house is currently without. You will then go to your nearest Argos and use a pen designed for midgets (you can't be offended by this, even if you have ignored my warnings and read on. Midgets are ace) to fill in a little slip of paper with a number (this is point A). You take this slip over to the cashier, part with the money and are given a printed receipt in return (point B). You then go and stand at another counter (point C). There's sometimes a bit of a wait at this point but you won't mind, for that will give you time to enjoy the ambience and gaze around at The Shop of Magic and Wonder that Sells Everything in the Whole World (I know, it's almost hard to believe they chose 'Argos' as a name after reading that catchy little moniker of my own devising, isn't it?).
On a day when they're not busy, the stuff will be with you in a couple of minutes. Saturdays and rush times take a bit longer, but the queues in the Belfast branches are rarely really bad: I've never had to wait more than 20 minutes, even on the day before Christmas Eve. Anyway, even if there is a bit of a delay, you won't feel at all aggrieved, because you know the best bit of the whole process is coming: The Conveyor Belt of Magic from the Sky! Yeah!
The Conveyor Belt of Magic from the Sky is a conveyor belt that comes from the sky and is made of magic. It works thusly: you wait until the automated system calls the number printed on your receipt and you hand it over to the staff at point C. They scrawl on it a bit, ask you if you need help carrying it to the car, and then press the Big Red Button at the bottom of The Conveyor Belt of Magic from the Sky. It rumbles into action, and then, as if by magic, your flat pack furniture will appear before your very eyes.
Incidentally, there are those that say that it is not magic; that Argos have large storerooms above the shop and employ minions to fetch the stuff you want and place it on the conveyor belt. This, obviously, is not true. Like I said, Argos sells everything in the whole world. No minion could possibly guess what you wanted and put the right thing out every single time. And yet, the right thing always appears. Thus, it is magic.
Argos is possibly my favourite shop in the whole world. For a start, it's magic, and I do like things that are made out of magic (except Paul Daniels. Man, he lets the side down. He's not even proper magic. And Wizbit was a freakish wee fecker). Secondly, they have everything that you could ever want in mind-blowing supply. On the rare occasions that they've been out of stock of something they've always either had it another store and reserved it for me, or phoned me after a couple of days when it's come back in stock. The staff are generally really nice, and I can always persuade one of them to lug all my stuff out to the car for me. The whole process is quick and relatively hassle-free. Surprisingly, their flat-pack furniture is quite easy to build (although I speak from the strange position of being someone who not only enjoys making flat-pack furniture, but furthermore has her own tool kit). On the one occasion that I had to return an item there were no quibbles whatsoever, and the money was refunded immediately. I have to confess that I was quite disappointed that they didn't place it back on The Conveyor Belt of Magic from the Sky and go through the routine in reverse. You can't have it all, though, I suppose.
All of that said, though, it is wise to go to Argos knowing that they have established much of their reputation on purveying mediocre goods to chavs. You don't have to be a chav to shop there - they don't have bouncers who'll only let you in if you're wearing more Burberry than the human brain can comprehend, or anything - but do bear in mind that this is not the shop to go to if you're used to buying only the finest quality. Most of the goods are grand, but you might find the furniture is slightly wobbly and in need of a bit of additional wood glue, or that the armchair is a bit pokier than you'd have liked. Also remember that you can't see the stuff in a tangible way: only the picture they've put in the catalogue. Therefore, make sure you're very clear about what colour you want, and that you've measured out the dimensions they give.
Lastly, unless your name is Bob 'Chav' McChav, steer clear of the jewellery from Elizabeth Duke at Argos. It will look tacky and crap. Mainly because it's tacky crap. The fact that Goldie Lookin' Chain have referenced it should tell you all you need to know (and don't try and argue that your new bracelet is 'ironic'. Still no).
Just thinking, I seem to have got this far without offending right-wing Christians. Hmm. There's no God! Ha. That'll do it. (Although, if there is a God…erm, sorry about that. I like your beard).
So are you trying to say that my chunky Elizabeth Duke special edition Del-boy-look gold plated id bracelet doesn't give me that suave air of sophistication I've always thought it did? My illusions are shattered. An entertaining review as ever, but I think you know that Argos doesn't sell everything in the world. Just most stuff, the majority of which you didn't even know you wanted. Bob.
mum2boys82 11.09.2009 16:06
I find branch to branch the customer service varies hugely! Rebecca Xx
HarryKgh 05.04.2009 01:56
I feel really upset to know that your branch still has the conveyor belt in it as my local store has done away with it all together.