It's 10.03am on Monday. My phone rings and I don't need decent Paddy Power odds to know it's my mother. It's the Friday before everyone goes back to work, so I know that the entire world is in bed with a hangover.
In the background, there is a horrible cacophony of off-key muzak, a child screeching and a booming announcement by a security guard, who sounds like Vincent Price in the Thriller video.
"Jesus. Where are you?"
"For the sales."
The Arnotts voucher she got for Christmas is clearly burning a hole in her pocket. It's as if she imagines that all vouchers become null and void a week after Christmas Day.
"You are insane."
"I'm just after a bargain."
"Buy something in Penneys -- year round."
"Ah it's not the same."
"It's Baltic outside. What have you bought?"
"A cardigan. But only because your father took so long parking the car that I went into this shop out of the cold while I was waiting.
"Anyway, I'm calling to say that there's a lovely 32-piece dinner set here. A bargain. You want me to get it for you?"
I vaguely recall lamenting my lack of plates on Christmas Day.
"Mum, there are only two of us. Why would I need a gazillion plates and bowls?"
"But they're so cheap ... "
An image of Dunnes' own-brand lunch bars flashes into my head, explaining my childhood.
"So you don't want them? We were going to drop them in on the way home."
I have a sudden brainwave.
"I don't thanks, but seeing as it's freezing, could you pick me up some milk and a Galaxy Caramel instead? Thanks, byeeee."