Last week, I had to buy a birthday present for somebody. So, quite early last Thursday morning, I found myself in a cavernous Tesco Extra Superstore. You could buy anything there at rock bottom (close to InterWeb) prices: digital cameras, MP3 players, Ipod’s, Plasma screen TV’s, DVD recorders, SmartCars, absolutely anything

I must have looked purposeful and smart as an elderly couple mistook me for a Tesco employee and asked me where they might find bread and milk. I tried to be helpful and directed them to aisle 79 and gave them a pre-printed ‘Employee of the Month’ form to complete.

I then used the in-store guide to navigate my way to the music section. To my horror, the one item at the top of my shopping list was nowhere to be found. I checked the Top 100 Chart listing. This particular CD was Number 33 in the hit parade. Inevitably, the Number 33 position was the only slot in the miles of CD racks which was completely and utterly empty.

Disaster. Initially I thought about just going elsewhere but then I saw a young lady polishing her nails at the ‘Audio - Customer Service’ desk. I slowly approached and decided to come clean: ‘Good morning. I wonder if you could help me. I really need to buy the 33rd best selling CD inthe UK charts but there are none left on the shelves. Please could you see if you have got any in the stock room out the back (or under the counter) ?’

She paused, turned and looked at the CD chart listing. ‘Number 33 - Oh. Do you mean James Blunt - Back To Bedlam ?’’

‘Well, yes, err, but you must understand, this is a, err, birthday present for a, err, very close friend you see, and certainly not for me’.

‘Oh I understand, perfectly, Sir. I will just go and have a look for you now.’

The young assistant smiled and shot me a knowing glance as she departed. As she was gone for what seemed like an eternity, I continued to browse the shelves and, suddenly, on impulse, I decided to buy the Arctic Monkey’s CD. This was a risk as I had never heard any music by this band and my all-time favourite music reviewer had not even commented on this band yet.

The shop assistant eventually returned with ‘Number 33’ in her hand.

‘Thank you very much. And I would also like to buy this CD too. Look - this CD is the Arctic Monkeys and I am actually buying this one for myself.’ ‘Oh I see, Sir. Are you sure this isn’t a present for someone else ?’

So I buy the two CD’s and shuffle away. Then I consult my shopping list (GTD context=‘Tesco’) and I suddenly realise that I need to buy something else. Mothers’ Day is imminent and I also need to buy David Gray’s latest CD.

Enough was enough. I simply can’t take any more. Time to leave. On my way out, I spotted the elderly couple looking perplexed over in the Garden, Conservatory and Motorized Robotic Lawn Mower section. I simply couldn’t face buying the David Gray CD. I couldn’t face that girl’s smirk again so I just cut my losses and bought 24 contraceptive sheaths as it was much less embarassing and promptly left the store.

So, sorry, Mum. 24 Durex (Featherlite) may seem like an odd present for Mothers’ Day but I hope this article helps to explain why.