I often get emails asking me to fill in this survey and that survey,telling them what I really want, and more often than not it ends up in the bin! I had one come through today and I thought I may as well seeing as I had a few minutes to myself. As I was entering in my retail therapy habits it asked me about my homeware habits.

Do I buy cushions, throws, picture frames and candles? Firstly I share my home with boys/men (hubby, 3 grown stepsons, 1 small boy) so obviously I add my own feminine touches as and where I can. Howver all these feminine additions must be hardy enough to contend with the usual roughness of male handling. The urge to respond with ‘is the Pope a catholic?’ was overwhelming and so I resisted and selected the ‘yes’ box instead. This survey then went into asking me the ins and outs of a ducks backside – do I buy any of these items (insert massive list of options, which I say yes to most of), how much have I spent in the last year, did I buy any from this particular retailer? The barrage of questions was relentless!

Then it made the mistake of offering me a text box to write my own response in my very own words. The question ‘Why do you go to other retailers instead of purchasing from XYZ?’ Well Anonymous Chain Store Market Researcher, who I will now call Hank for short, where do I begin?

I get your little flyers through my letter box every month, I flick through them whilst hiding in the downstairs loo for five minutes, mooning over the perfectly staged homewares pages. Then I leave my tiny haven and head into my living room where generally the kids are either declaring war on each other or have made a treaty and are relaxing in the aftermath of thrown cushions and dishevelled throws. You see Hank, my living room is lovely taupe colour, the carpets (for the sake of looking ok with kids) are dark speckled brown and taupe in colour, the furniture is dark wood, the curtains are red and absolutely everything has been picked with ‘will this survive children and not look grubby by next week?’ in mind. The thought of having a ‘shabby chic beach hut’ theme running through my lounge is wonderfully whimsical, and it would absolutely look the bees knees, but my middle of the midlands home is about as far from the sea as it can get, and all illusions of calm serenity are dashed to buggary when the youngest declares he has just wet himself! I know you do cater for the darker tones, and yes I do have a tiny bit of Scottish in the family lineage, however a stag head is not top of my list I will be honest. I already have visions of one or both children using it as a weapon to stab each other or some poor unsuspecting visitor.

You see Hank, I am quite a modern mummy at heart, albeit a little dishevelled at times and slightly wild eyed looking most of the time as I wrangle what can only be described as my feral children out the house each day. But I really do like ‘simple’. I do not like ‘themes’. I want to walk into a shop with my squabbling children and grab things off the shelf that tickle my fancy knowing that whatever it was that had been grabbed will actually go with absolutely anything and everything! I don’t want tartan, fish, shells, fancy flowers or anything else. I just want to make my shopping trips for home décor as painless and swift as possible. Ninja like if you will, so fast my children barely make it out of the restraints of their car seats. I want to be triumphant with every purchase, to get home throw those cushions and blankets at my furniture stand back and say ‘damn I’m good!’ because everything I blindly picked up just goes together like peas and carrots!

I realise Hank that this is indeed a pipe dream and that the reality is this probably may never happen. But here’s the thing Hank. You asked a woman who very rarely gets asked this question, let alone given space to answer it, what she wanted! So thanks, if you need me for more surveys maybe leave out the open ended text boxes in future as the five minutes you quoted to complete the survey were short by at least 25 minutes and now my cup of tea has gone cold.

Much love, Sophie x

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