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“....and you touch the distant beaches with tales of brave Ulysses, how his naked ears were tortured by the sirens sweetly singing.”
Argos was the faithful pet of Odysseus who waited more than twenty years for his master to return. It is not recorded if Argos subsequently opened a UK catalogue store selling stuff in all of its multi-plasticated forms, but still, the name is an apt one for there actually exists a UK catalogue store, called Argos. And indeed, it is a place where no customer is ever more than twenty days away from being served. This Argos can therefore be defined either as "not a dog" or the "working man's version of Portabello Road, except with much more plastic and a faint damp whiff of sweat" or simply: "laminated hell".
Argos stores exist for the sole purpose of taking advantage of those who are too scared to shop using tinternet. Thus, they still rely on the traditional methods of service, such as the sneer, the blank stare and outright rudeness.
Ordinarily, the process of shopping means going in to a store, picking something up, bringing it to a tillpoint and paying. Argos, however, have simplified and streamlined this process. At Argos, you simply go to a store, queue to read a book, look around for a pen, write a number on a piece of paper, collect a ticket for more queuing, wait for your turn, pay for the item, forget your number, check the book again, queue at a large table, collect your item, bring it home, realise it is the wrong one and go back again.
When you forget to write down the item code before leaving for the store, Argos' special computerised system means that you can guarantee that the item you want will either be out of stock or the page containing the ID number and details will be missing from the in-store catalogue. All of which means you'll have to come back tomorrow for that Bubble fish lamp you so desperately wanted.
Additionally, that next generation XBOX 3000 try before you buy console is always being used by some snotty eight year old kid whose parents wouldn't buy him one for Christmas. He can't even get past level one on Super Mario.
The Argos Catalogue
Argos pride themselves on providing any item the customer might need, including Batman costumes, giant inflatable boxing sets and kung fu hamsters. These are all documented in a neat and not-so-handy bible.
Argos catalogues are stacked in enormous piles metres wide forming garish green walls stretching from one end of the store to the other. They exist to create a barricade between the mere members of the public and the wealthy capitalist forces that exploit them. That is, until, some dodgy looking blokes appear, shiftily and hastily stuff them into their massive backpacks and sports bags, all the time keeping watch for the all seeing eye that is the CCTV camera. I dunno why, because they are supposed to be free for anyone to take. Even so, for some reason the store security guards don't want people to have them.
It's all a swiz
After the sale of the Statue of Liberty to a Liberian road sweeper, the catalogue is one of the greatest cons known to man. The designers are guilty of making the items for sale look desireable on paper when in actual fact, much like supermodel Jordan, they are made from cheap plastic and are heavily inflated. Due to the magic of computer airbrushing, that real farting Homer Simpson action figure looks like the perfect gift for your little brother in the actual catalogue. When the item arrives, however, you find a self-assembly kit full of nails, holes, small meaningless ingestible parts and a set of instructions in Japanese. That £9.99 you paid now seems less justified and more like the cry for help it actually was.
Uses for the Argos Catalogue
As every self-respecting tramp, cheapskate and general citizen of the United Kingdom knows, the Argos catalogue is a handy item with many uses, not only in the home but outside as well-
Parents: is your kid pestering you for that £500 Argos wendy house with the floral patterns and fully furnished interior? Worried you can't afford it? Worry no more. Collect two hundred Argos catalogues and you will have enough building material to create one yourself, only with "electric hair curler and automatic bread maker"-patterned wallpaper. Which is even better!
As all Argos catalogues are 65% recyclable, other retail superstores make use of discarded catalogues. The Tesco Value Ferrari is made up of 85% genuine Argos catalogue, as are Morrisons Bettabuy 'thirty for twenty pence' Fish fingers.
Argos's main market force comes directly from
lefttakeovers of other catalogue companies, which it ingests on an almost monthly basis. However this can not sustain the company permanently. Usually, Argos sell most of their goods to kids pestering their mums for a new Action Man or Barbie doll, because a cat shaped lamp shade teaches them to shut up nicely. During most of the year, that is, all months except December, Argos have to resort to other techniques to pulp the customer into submission sell their crap.
During the mid 00's, customers began to notice that Argos was selling so much that the catalogue was becoming so big that only Arnold Schwarzenegger could carry one as far as the door without collapsing like Cristiano Ronaldo. To combat this, Argos began to distribute bags with every catalogue to ease the strain of carrying such a grand tome. Now customers can get blisters on their fingers rather than pulling their arm muscles, and then when they get home, they have a bag to be sick in.
As Argos's success grew, Customer Service groups were becoming worried that the items such as samurai swords began appearing in the children's toys section. As a result, Trading Standards decided it was time to take action against the company.
This was a long way from Argos's last lawsuit, when a disgruntled parent successfully sued the company for making their child believe they could actually fly if they bought a Superman suit and cape. The child was relatively unharmed, sustaining only a bruised knee from the incident, but Argos suffered a loss of £30,000 as a result of the heavily publicised trial.
There are two types of employees that Argos exploit, widely summarised as those the public see and those they do not. The workers on public view are a strange breed. It would seem that every clock in the store always displays ten past ten. This is because all Argos workers are frozen in time, August 23rd 1976 to be exact: the precise moment when customer service died. Alternatively, this could be due to the fact they can't be arsed replacing the batteries every three hours. 
The employees the public do not see are usually lurking in the vast, dark, contentless expanse that is the Argos warehouse. These warehouses, which are connected to the back of the shops, do not actually store the goods for sale, but a complex labyrinth of chip butty-eating hunch-backed tramps and workers having a fag break.
- The Royal Family have been known to shop at Argos. Really. I saw Ricky Tomlinson in there the other day.
- Argos started off as a small country in a flat in North-East London.
- Argos is not to be confused with the Greek region of Argos, though it is rather hard to tell the difference between the two, what with the Ancient ruins and reams of old people pottering about.
- ↑ Click on these Argos item page links at own risk.
- ↑ Figures correct at the time of going to press, fish perhaps less so.
- ↑ Lazy sods. As if they don't get paid enough for it.