LAST week I was asked if I would mind getting some new pictures taken at work.
"Well, OK". I agreed. How difficult can it be?
"Wear something red," suggested the photographer.
That evening, I went home and rummaged and rummaged through my wardrobes and finally found a suitable outfit.
A black skirt and red blouse. That should do the trick, I thought.
However, by the time the photographer had got around to taking my picture, it was after lunchtime and I seemed to have swelled up somewhat.
My red blouse, which I had spilt my lunch on, was bursting at the seams, the belt around my waist was constricting my breathing, and I had a huge rip in my tights. Apologetically, I asked if the pictures could be re-done at a later date, saying I would find something more suitable to wear.
However, without realising it, the five-minute photo shoot must have gone right to my head.
I was in Tesco the same evening, and standing next to shelves of chocolate bars trying to decide which one I should go for.
I lifted one bar and put it back, then lifted another and looked at the calories and couldn't decide which one to go for.
I was there for ages just standing staring at them.
Suddenly, I was aware that someone was behind me and eventually, a man who had been patiently waiting to get near the shelves tapped me on the shoulder and said: "Excuse me, can you see any Kit Kats"?
Now, if there is one person who could recognise any bar of chocolate from Mars (no pun intended), it's me.
My eyes were quickly drawn to the red wrappers.
"There they are," I happily pointed.
"Thanks," he said before squeezing past me to fix promotional advertising on to the shelf next to the Kit Kats.
I was still pondering my treat when he turned to me and asked: "Can I get a picture?"
"No problem," I replied, quite chuffed that my fame as a columnist was gathering pace.
"Where do you want me?" I asked my new fan.
"Over there," he replied grumpily, waving his arm and pointing a few feet away.
By now I was confused at his apparent surliness but I was still prepared to pose for my public.
"I only need a picture of the promotional stuff to prove to my boss that I've been here," he explained, before taking a picture of the shelf.
Well, that brought me down to earth with a bump.
MY FRIEND Mae had decided it was time to get a new printer for her house.
"I've got lots of family pictures I want to print off and since I got a new laptop for Christmas, I thought I might as well get a new printer too," she told me.
So off she went to search online and quickly found herself completely bamboozled by the technical jargon.
Befuddled, she decided it was a better idea to speak to someone in person and headed to the local electrical store.
"Hi there," she smiled to a young shop assistant.
"I need a printer to link up to my new laptop, but I don't really know what I'm supposed to buy."
"No problem," answered the commission-based shop assistant, clearly thinking this would be an easy sale.'
"I want to print good-quality pictures of my daughter's wedding, so I need one that will do colour pictures and one that's not too expensive."
And that was about the extent of Mae's remit for a printer.
Immediately sprinting into his sales mode, the assistant replied: "My name is James, and I'll show you what we have on offer."
He guided Mae towards the printers on the shelves.
"Wireless printers are now the in-thing." The bold James told her.
"Wireless?" Mae answer, not having a clue how that could possibly work.
"Yes," he patiently explained, speaking as if he was reading from a catalogue, "it gives you more flexibility about where you put your printer, and gives you one fewer unsightly cable to worry about."
"It doesn't have a cable?" a bewildered Mae queried.
"Most home printers now have Wi-Fi capability," our James continued, still in official script mode.
"You can print from an iPhone or an iPad via Apple's AirPrint to compatible printers."
Now he's on a roll....
"A wireless printer connects to your wireless network and allows all computers connected to that network to use the printer. Because the connection is wireless, you can place the printer in any convenient location in your home and also avoid cable clutter".
"No cable clutter," says Mae, now enthusiastically swallowing the technical gobbledegook before following his lead as they look at a few printers.
Mae finally opts for a middle-of-the-range colour Wi-Fi cordless printer.
Later that evening, she lifts the printer out of its box and is delighted with her new purchase.
"I'm going to make up albums and all sorts," she thinks to herself, her imagination running wild with the creative opportunities her new printer will provide … and all without messy cable clutter.
Two hours later and Mae was no further forward in setting up her shiny new printer.
The paper was in. The ink cartridge was fitted after having been put in and out several times. Mae pressed the same few buttons over and over again vainly, hoping the printer would somehow magically come to life this time.
By now, utterly frustrated and cheesed off, she gives in and calls her other half, Kenny.
"Hi Kenny. I hope you can help me. I bought a new cordless printer …"
And she rambles on for some time, explaining what she bought, what she's done before concluding … "I think it must be broken."
"Is there a light on?" Kenny asks, attempting to find a solution.
Mae's frustrated by what she thinks is clearly a daft question following her long explanation.
"Nope. No lights, nothing. I'm telling you - it's broken. It's going back to the shop in the morning."
Kenny was silent for quite some time and then said: "Mae, I hate to ask, but have you plugged it in?"
"Plugged it in?" she answers, now completely irritated by another ridiculous question.
"I told you it's Wi-Fi and CORDLESS," shouts Mae, proud of her new techie language. "The guy definitely said no cables".
Kenny hung up.
At least we now know who NOT to call for technical support.