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How John Nice ended up spending £180 on a pair of slippers (sorry house shoes) because he was too embarrassed to admit his Christmas clanger

14:46 23 December 2014

john nice christmas

john nice christmas


I’ve always loved Christmas. The festive season in Blighty is an opportunity for us all to catch up with family, friends and loved ones.

John Nice celebrating Christmas with his dadJohn Nice celebrating Christmas with his dad

Everyone seems to have a spring in their step, and in essence, the world takes a week off and gets the chance to reflect, relax and rejoice.

Yet before you can get to that bit, you have to endure the slog of present buying that creates a whole host of problems that are generally surrounded by panic stricken faces in shopping stores.

We all endure it knowing full well that our prize at the end of it is a few days on the sofa with a plate of turkey sandwiches, whilst re-runs of Only Fools and Horses make us chuckle and doze in equal measure.

In a bid to bypass the commercial folie (shopping madness) as the French call it, I thought that this year I would try and get ahead of the queues.

So I hit the shops at the end of October with a few gifts for relatives in mind.

First up for me was a present that had just jumped out at me from a shop window a few weeks earlier.

Resplendent was the only word when I clocked a pair of slippers that had my dad’s name written all over them.

It was the sort of present that I could see myself wearing (Don’t we all end up buying presents that we would wear ourselves sometimes?) and I knew that I just had to get them for him.

The slippers are what I would describe as being a tad Hugh Hefner – he of the Playboy empire.

The personalised dressing gown was out and so was the mansion – but the slippers – well surely I could afford them?

So off I trotted to the shop to see if they had my dad’s size in stock, fully chuffed with myself, daydreaming at the prospect of my father opening his gift amidst the smell of Brussel sprouts.

As I toddled inside, I was greeted with an array of absolute corkers.

The ones I liked were velvety black with a regal purple trim – they looked magnificent.

‘Have you got these slippers in an 11?’ I asked the man in charge.

‘I will go and check for you, Sir,’ he replied politely, before clarifying the situation by adding, ‘But sir, they are not slippers, they are house shoes.’

Off he trotted up the stairs before swiftly gliding back with a pair of 11s. These boys looked the business close up so it was the easiest decision of the year to say ‘I’ll have them.’

Before long we were at the till and I was digging deep into my pocket with the sudden realisation that I hadn’t discussed the price.

Now these were a top notch product so I was expecting to pay handsomely.

Normal slippers are what: about £20? So, I was thinking perhaps around the £50 mark.

How wrong I was.

‘That will be £180, Sir,’ he said, without flinching.

I almost fell over.

That was almost half my Christmas budget on one item.

I couldn’t afford these. But I was committed.

I suddenly became overwhelmed by a wave of quintessential Englishness.It was like one of those scenarios in the ‘Very British Problems’ book. Perhaps I should have just bought Dad that?

The problems in the book are very real but specific to our culture.

An example being a time where you try and force everyone to have the last piece of cheese from the cheeseboard in a restaurant, when secretly you want it for yourself.

Here I was in my very own British problem predicament and like all good fellow countrymen I said nothing.

I simply sweetly smiled as I handed over nine crisp £20 notes whilst inwardly I was dying.

I came out of the shop feeling a mixture of elation and deflation and headed straight home for a cup of tea.

On reflection, with tea in hand, there was no turning back.

The deed had been done and my father’s gift will now take pride of place under the Christmas tree.

I won’t be able to tell him how much they cost as he is a man who loves a bargain who would be absolutely horrified if he knew.

So, I shall have to smile sweetly when he says his traditional refrain, “I hope you’ve not been spending your hard earned money on me”. And when he schleps around the muddy field in them, as he always does in his slippers when he goes out to take the dog.

I may be a victim of my own Britishness but my father will soon be the proud owner of some of the most expensive slippers (I mean house shoes) in history.

May I apologise in advance to all other members of my family for the meagre gifts they are about to receive.

I only hope he likes them – if he doesn’t, that really would be a very real British problem.

That said, being British, he probably wouldn’t tell me anyway.

Share your #FirstWorldProblems with us on Twitter using #ChristmasClanger


  • Who says that local journalism is a purile waste of time, when you have such informative, entertaining and educational pieces such as this.................. and please don't tell me that Archant actually paid for this article?

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, December 24, 2014

  • What a load of tosh!!!!!! EADT..... get a life, if this is the best you can do for a page filler. And as for Mr Nice, what a numpty.

    Report this comment

    Al Gurgleman

    Wednesday, December 24, 2014

  • fictitous story time

    Report this comment

    barry chark

    Tuesday, December 23, 2014

  • 10 negative comments (and ZERO positives) at the time of writing and they still show it as one of the main stories; desperate for a filler or just deaf to what their readers think???

    Report this comment


    Tuesday, December 23, 2014

  • Words just fail me..... and that "snap".....

    Report this comment


    Monday, December 22, 2014

  • How ironic that this person would rather spend £180 than say "I made a mistake" but will then go to print to tell the world all about it. It's basically a story about a bloke mugging himself.

    Report this comment


    Monday, December 22, 2014

  • No to the Shoes and No to the Story Full Stop.

    Report this comment

    David Brown

    Monday, December 22, 2014

  • What trash. Are there no decent journalists or interesting stories in East Anglian? As for the Christmas photograph......words fail me. .

    Report this comment


    Monday, December 22, 2014

  • I did not realise this writer was a College lecturer 'deeber'; who would have thought it. Did she not realise that "(sorry house shoes)" could be an apology to house shoes and not, as I think was intended, a (failed) attempt at humour by upgrading the status of slippers? I think that a comma could change the sense, as in "(sorry, house shoes)". But I am only an ordinary man, not a highly-esteemed lecturer working for one of the world's leading newspapers! Btw, does anyone know what the word 'sarcasm' means?

    Report this comment


    Monday, December 22, 2014

  • Dear oh dear...what utter drivel! How this was given permission to be printed is beyond me...I think it is now time for certain reporters to finally be put away their pens and be put out to pasture...sorry, but not newsworthy.

    Report this comment

    Chris Ward

    Monday, December 22, 2014

  • An article of little importance which is nothing unusual. Lets have an article of when will this town be allowed to expand and flourish ? when will Ipswich Council stop wasting money ? When will Ipswich sort the roads out and re-route traffic around the Waterfront and not through it ? When will we compete with other nearby towns and cities and attract shoppers and visitors and tourists ? Do we really want city status and why don,t we qualify ?

    Report this comment


    Monday, December 22, 2014

  • Very polite J T B ... The infamous Liz nice has a habit of producing such rubbish... To think she is a college Lecturer in the subject. ..Her most famous article was (banning Luis Suarez is wrong and boring) ..to think she got paid for this too.

    Report this comment


    Sunday, December 21, 2014

  • I clicked on this article because I thought it might be interesting and amusing; I was wrong. Firstly I had to read many lines of drivel before I realised it was one of your own filling up the empty pages of our local rags and then I thought it rather self-indulgent and pointless. Just my honest opinion.

    Report this comment


    Sunday, December 21, 2014

  • Well he will know how much they cost when he reads this! And besides you could always have taken them back later for a refund.

    Report this comment


    Sunday, December 21, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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