It was not as advertised, but then not much is. After all, very few car insurance transactions do involve small mammals, even at the cheaper end of the sector where staff wages are a significant cost. There, peanuts – or even chickenfeed – start to look like offering viable wage cost reductions. Especially when you consider the tarnished reputation of the UK’s educational system and its inability to produce employment-ready worker drone units.
However, as advertised does suggest it should bear some resemblance to the product or service advertised. These days though advertisers have to resort to all manner of subtle – and not so subtle – tricks to get the attention, no matter how fleeting, of a consumer immured to all forms of the hard sell.
Not that we were paying that much attention to the adverts, to be honest. At least, not since the craze for erotic knitting took our neighbourhood by storm at the end of last winter. Never before have I had so many bobble hats, scarves and mittens. But since those scientific studies were published at the end of last year showing a direct causal relationship between knitting and the female libido, wool does seem to have become the most used material in contemporary fashion.
Not only that, homemade clothing has lost the stigma it once possessed as a cheapskate alternative. Especially now that the number and variety of your pullovers, cardigans and other knitwear is a public demonstration of your virility, and the complexity of the knitwear patterning is taken as a sign of an active and inventive sex life.
So, anyway, there she was with the box waiting when I got home. We opened it in a state of sexual excitement and tension we’d not felt since our wedding night, or – to be honest – that first time round by the bins behind Tesco several years before the aforementioned wedding night.
Of course, the do-it-yourself knitting wool kit was advertised on prime-time TV with a high concept glossy advert more redolent of a pre-Christmas perfumery advert. One of those that makes you wonder what they are selling, and – more mysteriously – who to.
But then, the wife has taken to knitting with the alacrity she has only ever shown when the possibility of getting stuck in a hotel lift with Bradd Pitt and a gallon drum of baby oil was her idea of romantic yearning.
Anyway, there we were urging each other to open it.
So we did.
We looked inside.
It looked up at us and baa-ed.