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Protector of the Ring

So I finally got round to getting a proper wedding ring. I was hoping the perfect ring would come to me in a dream, delivered on a velvet cloud. But in the end it involved getting off my arse and going to the shops on a crowded Saturday afternoon, ensuring maximum flusteredness. I chose a simple white gold band just to get it over with.

The sales assistant with the pimples and gelled spikes seemed disappointed at the swiftness of my purchase. He had to act fast. “Did you know for only £6.99 I can give you Ring Protection Insurance? You’ll be covered for theft or damage for two years!”

“Ummm. Ummm.” As soon as someone tries to sell me anything, my face burns red and I lose the ability to form sentences.

“We’ll replace the ring right away with one exactly the same, or one of equal value! It’s a great deal!”

“Ummm!” Panic closed in. Ring Protection Insurance? What the hell did I want with Ring Protection Insurance for such a boring, inexpensive loop of metal? What kind of moron did he take me for?

I looked at the floor, I looked at Gareth; I riffled through my handbag as if my brain lurked there beside the scrunched up tissues and Breathmints of Yesteryear. “What do you think, Gareth?”

“Well I dunno,” he replied helpfully.

“Only £6.99 and we’ll renew the policy once the two years up if you’re still married.”

My brain finally piped up. You don’t need bloody Ring Protection Insurance. We have contents insurance! And it’s a plain wedding band, not the freaking Crown Jewels! But the words spewed forth regardless. “Okay! Okay! I’ll take it!”

“Excellent choice, ma’am.”

Back out on the street, I clenched my Ring Protection Insurance Policy in one fist and waved the other wildly in the air. I was spluttering with indignant, white-hot rage; the most infuriating kind because you know it’s your own stupid fault and you can’t pin it on anyone else.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t try.

“WHAT the hell happened in there?”

“Yeah, how come you got that Insurance? We have contents insurance.”

“I KNOW!”

“And it’s just a plain wedding ring. And how will anyone steal it when you never take it off?”

“I KNOW! I KNOW!”

“I bet he literally shat his pants on the spot,” Gareth grinned, “From sheer shock that someone actually took that policy.”

“Arrrgh!”

“He will be Employee of the Month for sure.”

“This is all YOUR fault!” I squeaked. “You were supposed to stop me! You were meant to speak up! You know I am rubbish in these situations. As soon as someone puts on the hard sell I crumble like a block of feta. CRUMBLE!”

“But I didn’t think anyone could actually say yes to a Ring Protection Policy.”

“You have FAILED!” I cried as I stomped down the street, “You have FAILED the first test of our marriage!”

Later I poured over the wretched document and realised the policy had a 20-day cooling off period. But it meant I’d have to go back to the shop and say, “Hello, I am a buffoon. Gimme back my seven quid.” I calculated that I had wasted almost $25 Australian on this escapade. Whenever I do something stupid with money I always convert it back to Australian dollars, so I can intensify the humiliation and prolong the pointless rage.

This sort of thing happens to me all the time – me handing over money to strangers on autopilot, not fully comprehending until I look down at an empty purse and scream, “SHIT! SHIT! SHIT!”. Just last weekend a dreadlocked woman approached me and told me she was a nun, and did I want to buy a CD of some crazy music? Only £7. I immediately opened my purse and told her I only had £2. She said that was more than enough to buy one of her books. So now I am the proud owner of some Hare Krishna meditation tome with no English text whatsoever.

And a few months before that I was walking home, huddled beneath my headphones. A surly teenage chick with a sidekick boyfriend stopped me and started babbling. I turned down the volume and finally heard, “We’ve got no money for the bus, can you loan us a couple quid?”. Ten seconds later I’d handed over all my change and apologised for being so rude with my headphones and all. She looked at coins in her hand, blinking in disbelief.

“Cold today, innit?” said the sidekick boyfriend.

And then they disappeared into the shop next door. Even with my headphones back on I could still hear their laughter. The bus hurtled by, spraying a mucky puddle over my shoes.

“So what does this policy cover you for?” Gareth asked.

“Umm. Theft. And stuff. IF it’s in our house.”

“Well. For just £6.99 you have bought piece of mind. If there’s a freak flood or stealthy burglar, or if a magpie flies in the window in the middle of the night and bites your finger off, we’re totally covered.”

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About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m an author, copywriter and old school blogger. I love telling stories about life and helping my clients to tell theirs. Find out more about me and how we can work together.


25 thoughts on “Protector of the Ring

  1. You’re not alone Shauny – I too by every piece of crap that people put underneath my nose. I get guilt trips when I pass Big Issue sellers on the street and I’ve already bought one off one of the other sellers. I can’t say No!

    Fortunately, my OH will reach over and hang up the phone if I get caught by a telemarketer now 😀 A pity he won’t do the same thing to the front door when we get door-knockers.

    i think there neeeds to be some kind of society, and we get special dispensation. You flash a “You’re not allowed to ask me for money” card, and the other person has to back off…

  2. That would be a GREAT name for a thrash metal band: “Ring Protection Policy”

    That, or a great name for a prison shakedown scam (yuk yuk yuk).

  3. I know! I hate it when I do stuff like that to myself from not being assertive (and not wanting to hold everyone up in the line behind me). On the weekend I got overcharged $.250 (and I always convert losses into Mars Bars – how many Mars Bars would that buy – not that I ever buy Mars Bars so maybe I should convert into Crunchies or something) by Baker’s Delight. I was standing there, holding the coupon which I’d read that week so I knew the price for this particular pack was $12.00. The sales assistant explained it was $14.50, but did I say “Oh but what about this coupon that you have on your counter that says $12?” Na of course not. I said “Oh, Ok, here you go…”
    Then thought about the lost Mars Bar/s all the way home, wanting to kick myself. So I got home and went on the Baker’s Delight website! “It’s no big deal…I was overcharged…donate the $2.50 to charity…but please tell your sales assistants the right price to charge or bring your marketing material up to date…” They emailed back an apology and said they had contacted the store. BUT really – all I had to do was point out the mistake at the time – but did I? No. Cos what if I was wrong? Yeah exactly – nothing. I might have been embarrassed momentarily but would I still be going on about it now? $2.50 is totally no big deal, it’s just that given a choice, I would rather have it. A bit like 6.99.

  4. Shauny, you make me laugh just as much as Dooce does, you know. You have a gift for funny writing, you really do. Love it.

  5. Oh, the Gouranga people are crazy! They tried the same thing on me–trying to get you to buy something expensive, and then offering something less than that when you say you don’t have that much. All their stuff is pretty crap, so now I just try to walk by them.
    They’re getting clever now, though, they’ll start out by just asking “What kind of music do you like,” as if whatever kind of music a random person might like is going to be anything like their New Age chant-y type stuff.

  6. You just say no to these things. NO NO NO. My sister gives money to anyone, you are obviously nice like her. I am a meanie.

  7. No, no, the Gouranga people are ace – you are dealing with them incorrectly. No, say that you have all the books, thank you, donate all the time. Want to donate, in fact, what wares can they sell you? I assure you there are few things as wonderful as the very rare Gouranga cigarette lighter or gouranga yoyo. AND they are always based in Lesmahagow, which is a place people in the UK really ought to be told about… And how can one claim to have a music collection which can accommodate every eventuality if the Hare Krishna music is missing??

  8. well… meet the guy who also bought the policy in case i loose my hari-krishna books….

    yep.. replaced with others of equal value *grins*

    shauna youre a ‘dunderheid’ hehe but thats why we luv ya!

  9. You make being a softie wimp look cool!

    God, that made me laugh! Mainly because….

    During the first half of my life I spent an inordinate amount of time feeling like a feeble dweeb for not standing up for myself every single time I got served crap food in restaurants, or short-changed, or made to buy stuff I DID NOT WANT.

    Was trudging through life slapping my forehead until dizzy and howling “Aaargh! Why! Why!” and weakly submitted to “But you should go back!” and “I wouldn’t have stood for it!” by baffled and well-meaning friends.

    But all the suffering paid off because! Here we are!!! I see through them AAAAALLLL!!! The Patronising Cool Chick, The Manipulative Sales Mongrel, The Sad Sucker!! And with a roar and a rip I TEAR their senseless heads OFF, even before the offending item is offered, the insult is brooked, the bad service perpetrated! Hah!

    Of course afterwards I feel bad for days, for being such a bitch….

    I really prefer dogs…

  10. At least we ALL seem to be softie wimps.

    I too have been trapped by the “what music do you like?” Gouranga people (so often that I recognise the individual sellers these days).

    Last time the monk entrapped me (on the Royal Mile) I claimed to like Nine Inch Nails, Slipknot and Marilyn Manson, which were the most “nasty” bands I could think of off the top of my head. Somehow I think my well-scrubbed and wholesome appearance may have induced disbelief…

    I did get away without buying anything, though only after about fifteen minutes. AND I felt bad.

    I always convert expensive purchases into paperback books (which I assume to cost £6.99 or so, even though I feel they really SHOULD cost £5.99). By which token you’re only one book short. But I’ll be on my guard against the ring-policy-shillers when it’s my turn!

    Glad you now have a ring, anyway.

  11. Did the ‘ring protection’ insurance have a ‘cut of finger in order to steal ring’ clause? If not I say definitely get your money back.

    And what a jerk! Insinuating you can renew the policy in two years ‘if you’re still married’. You should have punched him!

  12. Thank GOD I am not the only one this happens too. I still have a hate page on my website dedicated to the print shop in Hervey Bay that ripped me off to the tune of $48 – which I meekly handed over, and instantly proceeded to cry with white hot rage out in the car park….how can I be two days away from turning 32?!!

  13. Not me! I’ll pretty much make them correct an overcharge unless it’s less than fifteen cents. And even then, sometimes.

    Sometimes my husband will literally beg me to leave it alone, in the interest of getting out of a place. Of course, he’ll also pay ATM surcharges, even if OUR bank is only a couple of blocks away, so clearly he enjoys getting ripped off.

  14. so … i was standing in the central square in Tallinn .. waiting for my date, who, as usual, was late .. and this bum comes up to me and sais that he has some terrible sickness and would i be kind enough to give him some money for food .. i gave him a 25-er .. thats about $2 ..

    ten minutes later .. the SAME bum .. completely different sickness .. he got 50 off me ..

    ten minutes later he walks up to me .. i say .. “c’moon man! i gave you 75” .. he replied very casually .. “cant blame me for trying, can you?” and walked away ..

    whip! if he had stuck with it he probably would have gotten a cool 100 .. but no! .. he just gave up! .. really! bums these days are so spoiled .. go figure ..

  15. Well, I like to think us softie wimps will eventually get a Grayhound ticket to Heaven or Nirvana or wherever for all our do-gooding generosity …

    Naturallly, some fucker will scam our fare on the way there, but still.

  16. Smile nicely, say, “No Thanks” while raising the hand, palm outward, and keep walking. It doesn’t require any thought, and eventually it becomes a reflex to nicely deflect the crapmongers of the world.

  17. I completely understand the panic that comes with people offering useless stuff. I am a Sucker, plain and simple. A beastly personal trainer suckered me into spending $110/month for him to torture me at the gym. I stopped going after 2 weeks of barely being able to walk and lift my arms. My bf is sick of scolding me for all the money that I get panicked into giving to people.

  18. Another really good read. One of the best blogs on the net. And I’ve read a few. No wonder you won the bloggies or whatever it’s called.

  19. heh heh…I’m ok with rebuffing people approaching me on the street, or telemarketers (“No thanks.”) but t’s when I am in a shop and the item I am buying turns out to be a lot more expensive than I had anticipated that I find it hard to walk away. Which is why I once bought $20 marshmallows.
    D-oh!
    Mind you, they were pretty bloody good…

  20. you win, saara!

    $20 marshmallows! that’s fantastic!

    I hope they were sold to Save The Whales…

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