Individuals who know me will vouch, when it comes to what makes me laugh, I’m sporadically liable to regress back into childhood behaviour. Episodes where I’m prone to belly laugh over the most randomly innocuous or absurd whimsical events.
An example of this during my fledgling years played out as a ten year old. An occasion when I made my eight year old brother and me belly laugh for several minutes from arbitrarily announcing “And the murder weapon was a duck.”
My mid-1970s absurdity having absolutely no relevance to our family’s mealtime conversation topic at the time; our location a Filey cafe. My sibling and yours truly’s over the top laughter at this ridiculous suggestion incurring the wrath of our mum – She quite understandably not comprehending why her eldest offspring’s nonsensical comment had raised such undeserved hilarity levels.
The reason I raise this is recently yours truly was similarly tickled by hearing a pseudonym a friend had for her local shop in the market town of Ossett, West Yorkshire. This emporium dubbed the ‘Shit Shop’ by my forthright buddy Sarah. Subsequently, since learning of this stores quirky nickname, whenever this pseudonym enters my conscious mind an over the top guffaw follows swiftly in it’s wake.
To avoid potential future litigation I’ll not reveal the real name of this retail establishment. What I will say, though, is it’s quirky nom d’plume isn’t born from any poor quality items it peddles. It’s source the fact, according to Ossett’s finest (Sarah), it’s a store where you can buy any old shit.
I’ve no idea if the majority of Ossett townsfolk also label this store that sells ‘everything’ by that controversial moniker. Or, indeed, whether the slur is merely intended as a mischievous term of endearment bestowed by just Sarah and her equally forthright mate Nicky, who likewise utilises the nickname.
Anyhow, regardless of how widely spread this shop title is adopted by patrons, yesterday morning I was ‘blessed’ to’ve been given a guided tour of the establishment’s premises and shelf contents by Ms Brook (also Sarah).
It’s fair to say, journeying to this unkindly titled store is one I made in possession of excitement plateaus reached by children on their way to Thorpe Park theme park. Hysteria augmented from knowledge there’s no height restrictions to gain entrance to the ‘Shit Shop’, meaning I’d have full run of the destinations attractions upon arrival.
As it played out, the retail emporium turned out a tad disappointing. Firstly, as Sarah and me meandered towards the entrance with hands held, I’d hoped to be greeted with a store signage proudly declaring (in 10 foot illuminated lettering) the words ‘SHIT SHOP’. Admittedly, something which was highly unlikely; despite this I’d loved to’ve witnessed such a wonderfully whimsical sight.
The absence of this aforementioned sign the first of many observation diminishing my earlier outbound trip euphoria. Another was being underwhelmed by the actually items on sale.
Sure, you could obtain a multitude of products, but fundamentally this place seemed to be nothing more than a dirtier, more expensive version of the plethora of pound stores gracing the high streets of most towns and cities.
I was hoping this ‘sells all’ retail wonderland would contain several unusual trinkets not obtainable in other shops. Useless stuff like a tennis racket made from iron, hens eggs with indestructible shells, or a board game with no board and the questions were unreadable (even by microscope).
GJ Strachan misguidedly envisaging the ‘Shit Shop’ would be similar to the Grot shops portrayed in the 1970’s BBC comedy ‘The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin’. A show whose plot line saw, through a depressive episode, the eponymous character deliberately endeavouring to fail in business by selling utterly useless products like square hoops, bottomless ash trays and tennis rackets without strings.
This, similar to the failed attempt by Bialystock and Bloom to scupper their Broadway production in Mel Brookes’ 1967 movie ‘The Producers’, failing unbelievably. Instead, much to Perrin’s chagrin, Grot shops became a multinational success story.
Since learning of its existence, I’d visions of the ‘Shit Shop’ being a quirky retail venue where it’s possible to procure the ridiculous and absurd. Goods such as Tippex bottle sized containers containing emulsion paint. An item which, due to its minuscule top brush, meant buyers’d spend weeks and require several more bottles to paint just one living room wall.
To conclude, it’s fair to say that, like the sales pitch on a wood treatment which’s sold in there, as far as I’m concerned the ‘Shit Shop’ does exactly what it says on the tin!