Stupid Dispatches. They sucked me in with their catchy titles, and their pseudo-journalistic integrity, and left a dirty taste in my mouth. Or would have, if I hadn’t been eating a really good Shepherd’s Pie.

No secrets. Only lies. About there being secrets.
No secrets. Only lies. About there being secrets.

I was watching Dispatches: Secrets of Discount Stores, expecting to pick up on some particularly juicy retail secrets, but all I learned was that presenter Harry Wallop is not nearly as punchy as his name would suggest. And also, if all footage comes from a camera hidden in a little tiny shopping basket, I will get a headache. 

What did I do to deserve this, Harry Wallop?
What did I do to deserve this, Harry Wallop? Also, why does your penis have a label?

Watching the show felt like watching a really highly publicized episode of Made in Chelsea (all of them). Someone is going to BREAK SOMEONE’S HEART. Someone will CRY. Someone will probably bite someone else and then STRANGLE them with a CASHMERE sleeve. And then what actually happens is that they look at each other awkwardly over glasses of champagne and try not to think about the fact that they actually live in Stoke Newington because E4 can’t pay them enough to cover average Sloanie rent. 

What I learned from Dispatches: sometimes retailers produce stock specifically for outlet stores, rather than digging them out of warehouses. Because it all sells. Because people like it. So they make more. That stock is usually the same quality as the original collections. TK Maxx likes to give its home-brand garments fancy names, because we’re all suckers and wankers for things that say “Ruby Franklin” or “Hobart Schmidt” rather than “TK Maxx”. And if someone says the word “RRP” often enough, I will go into a trance wherein I eat most of a Shepherd’s Pie. 

They found one suit that had been glued rather than sewn with horsehair. Which is bad. What if it got very hot? Would it melt? But you know what glue is made of? Boiled horse. So there you go. Same difference. I wasn’t the only person who thought so, either:




But however unexciting the revelations were, I was still left slightly jaded. Not jaded enough that I wouldn’t buy a Ralph Laurent polo for 15 quid. But a bit jaded.

The thing is, I love shopping and I love television, and this felt like watching my mother and father fight. Guys, you should be friends. You should love each other. You should touch each other. You should help each other. People buy clothes they see on television. Stores advertise on television. I know this because I spend 90% of my time doing one or the other. STOP FIGHTING WHY CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG.

I can’t be alone in being suckered into watching these shows because they air during dinner time and if I eat mince in bed again I’ll have to explain away the stains on the sheets again and I just don’t have the energy for it. They come along with their SNAPPY TILES and violently eye-browed presenters and I think, yeah. I’ll learn something. I won’t watch my 18th episode of the week (day) of The Office on Netflix. I’ll EXPAND MY MIND. Knowledge is the soil from which sweet fruit may grow. Isn’t it. It is.

My mind is un-stretched, this evening. It’s tiny and little and I want a discount Kate Spade beanie to put on it. Is Panorama better? Tell me something good about Panorama. 

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