From the first moment a limp hand is extended to shake yours, the minute you set gaze upon the simpering smile (faker than a tan in Stockport), you know the following interminable collection of minutes will pass with your mind trying to heft itself from your skull and go play in a field with bunnies.
And so it began: â€œThank you for coming in and seeing us todayâ€¦â€
Itâ€™s not like I had any choice in that matter; I received a letter demanding my presence. It could have been a bank manager – if they existed anymore. It could have been a person dressed up as a police wanting to see my documents or have me explain why I was hanging around outside Carpet Supacentre at four in the morning. It wasnâ€™t.
As the meetingâ€™s host was enjoying himself, by reading directly from a screen he wouldnâ€™t let anybody else see, I wondered how his appearance would be improved with the aid of a two-foot metal spike. â€˜Hang on a minute,â€™ I said to myself as he explained to the table how this meeting was automatically generated by an email complaint, â€˜this spike could work for vape shop thieves too.â€™
My grandma always used to harp on about how the old ways were the best. Sheâ€™d say that weâ€™d lost touch with true values and society was descending into a moral abyss, and that her deity would smite us all for being heathens. Goodness knows what she used to get up to when she was young because he smote her before me. And Iâ€™ve done some nasty stuff. She was right to a point – the point Iâ€™m mentally burying in this blokeâ€™s left eye socket as he explains that the estates department wrote the email.
The thing is that the police are now like nurses â€“ you canâ€™t tell which one is genuine because most of them are uniformed unqualified assistants. This isnâ€™t knocking them, we love and respect our emergency services, itâ€™s just that the truth is that there are now only three actual officers in the entire country. Thereâ€™s Constable Keith in Gosport, Sargent Debbie in Luton and Chief Inspector Clive in Stoke (but heâ€™s off on the sick). The rest of the police are civilians and cardboard cut-outs; they canâ€™t solve your crime no matter how much they want to (although the clear-up rate from the cut-out in Ketteringâ€™s Poundworld is quite impressive).
So hereâ€™s the solution for the vape community: we stop vape crime by adopting the old waysâ€¦the bloody Dark Ages old ways popularised in Game of Thrones: pits with spikes, stakes with heads on, iron maidens, hot pokers and dungeons. Dank, rank dungeons.
And if any owner fancies testing out their new theft deterrents I know of a chap who has just wasted 43 of the longest minutes of my life.
*Stealthvape does not advocate physical violence and has replaced the writer of this article with a gerbil.