I have a very expensive tin opener. I bought it in one of those kitchenware shops which make you feel you have to speak in whispers and tell the children not to touch anything. It was an impulse buy some time ago; I was seduced by the sleek design and its promise of jagged-free edges, not to mention the lifetime guarantee.
The problem is, it has never bloody worked. Not once. Over the last year I have wrestled with every single can, eventually resorted to jabbing a hole in the side and wrenching open the metal with a rather vicious vegetable knife I keep for just such a purpose. Why haven’t I just bought another tin opener? Because I already have one, of course. A Very Expensive One.
Eventually I headed back to the kitchenware shop, explaining to the frightening stylish French shop assistant that the tin opener had been faulty from the outset. She raised a single eyebrow in the way only a Parisienne can, and informed me coolly that this could not be the case.
“Theese teen-opener,” she said with a Gallic shrug, “ee is the best in the world.”
I begged to differ, but she wouldn’t unbend. She offered to demonstrate my tin opener’s world-class prowess, should I care to bring in a can. Not wanting to miss this opportunity to prove my point (and secretly hoping the resulting shredded metal would spill its contents on her white linen dress) I nipped next door to the M&S food hall, returning with a can of beans.
Mademoiselle took the can from me and opened it with a flourish, removing the smoothly cut lid without fuss or spillage. Tres bien.
“I don’t understand,” I blustered, “that’s not at all what happens at home!”
She looked me up and down with a calculating air, a manicured finger tapping the counter.
“Ees thees the same brand of teen you buy at ‘ome?” she queried.
Ah. A sense of foreboding washed over me. No, thees was not at all the same brand of teen I bought at home. M&S shopping in our household is reserved for pants and the occasional prawn and mayonnaise sandwich; a weekly shop would devastate our finances.
“No,” I confessed, “our beans are normally Tesco value.”
She gave a barely imperceptible shudder and pushed the tin opener back across the counter to me.
“Ee knows the difference,” she said.
I sighed and drove home, returning the tin opener to the cutlery drawer, where it doubtless shrunk away from the inferior utensils around it. I think it’s time to buy a new tin opener.