Alert to the brush of the bell in the door,
Young Andrew is with you in seconds.
You ask him to help you to buy a perfume,
And, “come with me, darling,” he beckons.
He leads you away to the heart of the shop,
Where scent bottles fan out around you.
He talks you through citrus then floral then musk
And his stories delight and astound you.
You’re carefully studied with well-practised eyes;
Your custom absorbs his attention.
As you, tentative, pick up a bottle nearby,
He says, “Madam, might I just mention …
That this perfume speaks of the opera box,
The murderous innamorata;
Imagine the shot and the swish of her gown,
As she tucks the gun back her garter.
What about this scent? The one with the bow?
It’s light and it’s fun and it’s fruity,
So suited to ladies with your joie de vivre,
Your playfulness, candour and beauty.
Or maybe it’s this one that you would prefer?
It’s vanilla with top notes of cherry.
It’s very Star Baker, so sweet and intense,
And who doesn’t love Mary Berry …!”
“It’s a little bit ‘frilly’ for me,” you declare
And nods as he ‘yarps’ understanding.
He muses a moment whilst thumbing his tweeds,
Chin raised, looking thoughtful, commanding.
“Try this,” Andrew says, with a flick of his quiff –
It flutters on top like a feather –
He leads you to more of a masculine scent
With notes of tobacco and leather.
Your eyes start to water as you spot the price,
You cry, “Goodness me! That’s expensive!”
And Andrew, who smells like he bathes in the stuff,
Starts to fidget, becoming defensive.
“But madam,” he sneers, in his smart London drawl,
(So smooth you can scarcely believe it …)
“This perfume’s beloved of the Hollywood stars!”
You say, “thank you mate, but I’ll leave it.”
As you leave with a wince it’s the look down his nose –
So disdainful! You can’t help but say it:
“If you try to sell perfume at the cost of a car,
I’ll tell you where you can go spray it.”