I tell you this not to show how impressively and obsessively-compulsively organised I am, but to explain why it was that I found myself in highly desirable home textiles store, Third Drawer Down , early on Saturday afternoon.
I was buying stocking fillers, and my purchases were predominantly for children - a make-your-own monster kit, some crayons shaped like brightly coloured pebbles, and some animal hands temporary tattoos were among my choices. Jemimah and her Daddy were around the corner shopping for - well, lets say I hope that they were shopping for - a certain somebody who, at that very moment, just happened to be in Third Drawer Down. Anyhow, were were to meet to continue our shopping imminently.
After making my selection I queued at the desk to pay. I was behind a couple who were also shopping for children - in her case, a baby's grow-suit and bib set. The cashier neatly wrapped the parcel in attractive paper, and then after finalising payment, she slipped the package into a brown paper carry bag for the couple to carry away.
Only then she did something that absolutely floored me: On the side of the plain brown bag she affixed a large white sticker emblazoned with none other than the 'F word' in great big letters.
On the side of a baby gift.
A grow-suit, for goodness sake.
Well, I'm sure my mouth dropped open almost to the ground. I may have even begun hyperventilating, I was so astounded. I was, well, I was gob-smacked, to be honest. I was also frantically trying to decide how I would handle it when the attendant came to attach a similar sticker to the side of my bag.
Then I began to wonder - am I alone in my dislike for obscenities in print? Was I wrong to worry what people would think of me walking along Gertrude Street with a bag saying...er...that? Am I prudish to be concerned what my eight-year-old would say as she read it? Was I being irrational and too OTT for words? Was I?
Are the mug, pennant and badge described on Third Drawer Down's website unacceptable?
Should the controversial trademark British clothing company, French Connection, choose for their stores upset me?
"Your lordship may find it offensive. I might find it offensive. But young people who buy clothes do not find it offensive, they find it amusing."(Am I the only one who is saddened when I read that lawyer's comment?)
Am I really in a minority when I get concerned if books actually marketed for children contain foul language?
I do not use expletives. When I drop a heavy weight on my toe, I say 'Ouch'. It might be accompanied by a whole heap of over-dramatic hopping around the room, but that's what I say. It just comes out, really. I don't find a need to include any of the currently common obscenities in my every day speech, not even the relatively mild ones.
Personally, I even find it offensive when another word is substituted for the actual profanity. The characters saying "What the cuss?" in Fantastic Mr Fox, for example. Sorry, people, this does not automatically render the film 'clean' for a young audience. Far from it - to me it suggests that insertion of curses into speech is acceptable and normal.
Are these words disgusting, or are they common and harmless? That's the question. Certainly the line between amusing and offensive is arbitrary. People will always find new words to offend with and to be offended by. There is a word that I use that was used by mother before me, which upsets my husband. I try not to use it now... at least, not around my beloved, despite the fact that to me it is cute and certainly not rude. No, I won't tell you what it is. Not in polite company. If you know me in real life you probably know the word to which I refer anyhow.
Given that words of the type I refer to are offensive to at least some people, I find it perversely illogical that a store would deliberately choose to employ them as part of their store's identity. Do they use them to upset customers? Does it concern them if they do?
And maybe that's where I'm deluding myself. Maybe it is me that is wrong to care in the first place.
Maybe there's nothing wrong with the F word anyhow.
What do you think?