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Donald MacInnes: How to make a man grin like a monkey with a banana

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I wish I could offer some thrilling tale about why I had to buy a new laptop; about how my previous one got damaged by my monkey, who inserted his lunch into one of the holes in it, because he thought USB stood for "You Shove Banana!"

Unfortunately, the truth – about its dodgy Z and W keys (tricky, when you write jokes for Poland's top chat show host) – is far less fascinating. Anyway, last Wednesday morning, I awoke with a jolt to find myself in the car, driving to the retail park for a replacement (that'll teach me to buy a Horlicks-fragranced Magic Tree).

I should mention that I hate electrical chain stores. Not electrical goods – I just hate where they are sold and the people who sell them: invariably 17 years old and standing at a slight angle, due to the weight of their head (not from their huge brains, but all the hair product).

I also loathe the adverts for these chains: if a television is £699, the voiceover will gasp: "Now only six-nine-nine!" as if we're not economically mature enough to handle the concept of our purchase necessitating the deduction from our account of six hundred and ninety nine British pounds.

Back to my new laptop. Having selected a nice one in Currys, I stood unattended for 15 minutes, looking around angrily, like a muttering meercat. I stormed out and went across to Comet, where the service was just as bad (it could only have been worse if they had ignored me for 20 minutes, then followed me outside and given me a Chinese burn).

Then the fear hit me. My only option now was PC World. I had bought a "home computer" there 10 years ago and may well STILL be paying the nonsensical breakdown cover on it. Silly, given that the computer in question has now probably been reconstituted into 300 Kinder Egg toys. But once I got inside, the stomach cramps faded, so I picked a laptop and caught the attention of an assistant.

He was actually quite pleasant. Not that I understood a syllable he uttered. "It's got a modular hoo-hoo and 47 glings of storage," he said, as I nodded, mystified, like a beagle on Countdown.

Thankfully, it only cost four-four-nine, so I was soon skipping back to the car with it, grinning. Like a monkey with two bananas.

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