Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Donald MacInnes: 400 M&Ms for my sweetheart has soured my internet experience


It probably doesn't matter any more, as by the time you read this Valentine's Day will have passed and I'm crossing my fingers that I was able to clean up what had become a heart-shaped mess before my missus opened her present. At least everything was fine with the card I got her, which covered all the bases: pink, Paris, platitudes.

No, the problem lies with the present I ordered. Actually, I should go back a little further. It was a previous internet purchase which made me realise that I am getting too old for non-face-to-face purchases and should stick to actual shops.

My troubles are really the result of the appalling weather we have been squelching through. So dark and soggy have been the nights that I am usually rushing to get the front door open before the security light goes out (a handy 2.4 seconds) and before the torrential rain ruins my trainers.

As a result, I decided to get a little torch which could hang on my keychain and illuminate my homecoming. I trawled around online and finally found one that was also a laser pointer. I have always wanted one of these. I'm not sure why. Maybe I just like the idea of owning a laser. It makes me feel like Han Solo.

Anyway, last week a package arrived while we were watching TV. I skipped to the door and skipped back, excited about my new space gun-hybrid/bargain basement torch. I retook my seat, ripping open the padded envelope and producing the gadget, which was half the size of a ballpoint pen. "Where did you get that?" asked my wife. And it was at this moment that the mask of modernity under which I hide slipped down, revealing my wrinkled, aged face.

"I sent away for it," I answered. "'Sent away for it?!?'" parroted my wife. "What, did you cut out a coupon from the back of Reader's Digest? How old ARE you?!?"

I could see her point. While I may have been operating under the assumption that I was modern and reasonably technologically proficient, my words betrayed someone old enough to have actually "sent away for something". A little depressing.

But not as bad as my next internet purchase. I saw a television advert for M&M's, who were offering a service of printing a picture of you and your Valentine on their actual chocolate sweets.

How cool, I thought. I went online and uploaded a picture of us, along with a message for the reverse of each sweet. The ordering screen then asked how many sweets I wanted. I saw, with some alarm, that each sweet cost £3.80, but figured the printing process must be quite pricey. I ordered 20 sweets in a little net bag and put my debit card away.

Sadly, on Monday, a box arrived containing 20 bags, rather than 20 sweets. I now have 400 M&M's gathering dust. They are too expensive to eat. Anyone interested? No online orders, please.

Twitter: @DonaldAMacInnes