Portsmouth’s U-Need-Us closure is all our faults – Zella Compton

U-Need-Us is to shut after 96 years. I loved to visit that store when I was a kid, walk the boards and fantasise about being super rich and stunning the world with my super trickery.

Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 3:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th February 2019, 4:40 pm
Joke shop, U-need-Us, in Commercial Road, Portsmouth is closing down after nearly 96 years.

But I haven’t been there for years and never even took my children for that particular pleasure.

It’s all well and good for us to bemoan the closure of the high street but yet again, it’s up to us to use those shops – the quirky, the irrelevant, the local.

Yes, it may be easier to shop online, but children aren’t going to remember sitting on the couch in the same way as they remember counters of fart and sneeze powder.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

I’m sorry, U-Need-Us, you needed us and we didn’t come.

I almost came a cropper stranded miles from home

Here’s a thing that might save you money, hassle and frustration.

 I pulled up at a garage the other night in need of immediate fuel replenishment as I was about to get on the motorway. 

The cheap unleaded option had one of those covers over it, on every pump, so I had to settle for the more expensive version – suddenly my half a tank refill was dropping to a quarter.

Except it wasn’t as I couldn’t get the petrol pump’s nozzle into my car’s tank.

It wouldn’t fit, and in all the 30 years that I’ve been driving I’ve never had that happen.

But it’s my husband’s car, so I was thinking that perhaps I’d inadvertently locked it or some such, but even with the flicking back and forth, nothing was doing.

This was a very difficult state of affairs, it was late at night (gone 10pm people – you know what that feels like) and I was miles from home.

It was one of those moments where you take a deep breath and start again.

And it was then that I realised.

I’d matched the yellow of the covered-up unleaded to the yellow of the more expensive unleaded.

Except that the second yellow pump was diesel, not unleaded, and this particular garage had decided to colour code it’s pumps on price, not on product.  

So the more expensive unleaded was red, as was the more expensive diesel.

Has any one else ever heard of such a thing?

Luckily for me and older-Ford Focus owners the world over, the tank wouldn’t accept the wrong nozzle so I didn’t end up with a quarter tank of the wrong fuel.

Not so lucky for the young man in the car next to me who’d done the same thing – filled his unleaded car with diesel and was waiting to be rescued by someone or something.

This filled me with glee as it proved that it wasn’t just me having a moment, it was the garage forecourt’s dodgy design. 

Anyone can make a mistake, but here’s my gift to you….

Be super careful when it comes to buying fuel, not everything is as it at first seems. 

If we want a sustainable future we must act now

Insects are dying out – well, being murdered by us – and are expected to be gone in 100 years.

That’s definitely in our grandchildren’s lifetime.

When I was young the threat of nuclear extinction hung over us and I spent quite a while deciding which table in the house would make the best defence against radiation. There was nothing I could do to stop that. But we can do something about insects. Put pressure on governments and businesses to behave responsibly with chemical use, and look for friendlier solutions in our gardens.

It’s hard as who doesn’t love an unmunched flowerbed? But I think we’ll love feeding our grandchildren more.