For years I have done no more than wander past Worcester Park's old curiosity shop and gaze with puzzlement and slight suspicion at the knitted baby clothes, doilies, combs and other assorted items in the window display.
I would pause to read the hand-written note on the door, scribbled on a piece of old cardboard declaring that the shop was too small to accommodate prams before shuffling off down the hill, wondering if anyone actually shopped there (how many combs and doilies could one person need?).
Today I completed what was a long-overdue Worcester Park rite of passage stepped into the world of Broadway Bargains.
I have fallen in love with the place.
Anywhere where you can buy things for just 5p has to be a good place. Who cares if you may never need that spare zip fastener - at only 5p you can afford to be prepared.
They also sell those awful gaudy old-fashioned birthday cards given out by great-Aunts who smell of wee. Now I know where they get them from. Come to think of it I've never seen anywhere else that sells them - perhaps Broadway Bargains have cornered this lucrative market.
I didn't actually need that ballpoint pen, but it was only 10p. No harm done. I can keep it in the same drawer as the spare zip fastener.
Then, having resisted the temptation to buy a shuttlecock, I found myself in a queue. It was rush-hour in Broadway Bargains. One of the women behind the checkout was called Brenda. I'm hoping the other one was called Doris.
I absolutely love Broadway Bargains - pocket money toys, fabric and ribbons, shuttlecocks, zip fasteners, gaudy birthday cards, cobwebs, Brenda and Doris and all. If you've never stepped inside you don't know what you're missing.
It must be given protected status in Worcester Park so that the shop and Brenda and Doris can be preserved forever and then all will be good in the world, and we will never ever run out of doilies.