Today I have been mostly...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Doing very little…

Well I’ve been ill – and my energy levels have been zero. However, I did venture out to Sainsbury’s last night – but a very slow walk round there left me feeling like I had run a marathon. (Not that I actually know how that feels, but I was bloody knackered).

But while we were there we encountered the shopper from hell.

We were on the 'hand-basket only' till - there weren't too many people in the shop at that time, but there weren't many tills open - and we carefully avoided the deranged extra slow checkout operator - the one that handles everything like it's a ticking bomb!

There was a guy waiting to be served, and one person already being served when we joined the queue. There was a loose grape on the end of the conveyor belt thing, and I was contemplating putting a 'next customer stick' across so that it looked like someone was just buying a grape, and seeing if it actually weighed enough earn itself a price - and if it didn't, would this mean it would be possible to acquire grapes individually and get a whole bunch for free (although clearly this would be a tedious process).

Then the bloke in front of us got his turn. All was going well until he got his wallet open to pay. He decided that before he could part with his money, he would start telling the woman on the checkout that when he was in previously, he had been complaining about some potatoes - apparently they didn't quite look "up to scratch" - but despite this fact, he had bought them and "thrown them on the barbecue" anyway. And guess what - they were not horrible at all. There he was, having complained about them, but they were, in fact, somewhat delicious.

Ah - we thought - this surely must be the end of his ironic little story...

Sadly this was not the case.

He continued... and – guess what - there was a twist in the tale! He happens to have some kind of ulcer - from where he pointed it would appear to be in the throat area. The delicious, but previously thought to be horrible potato, somehow got stuck in his throat...

(Oh dear - we were thinking, this is going on a bit – but maybe he lives on his own and this is his only chance of talking to another human being... we were mildly irritated... and the queue was starting to grow behind us...)

Anyway - because of the ulcer thing, and the potato, blocking his airway, he realised pretty quickly that in order to survive this ordeal he would need to take a few sips of water in the hope of washing it down.

But no!! He couldn't swallow it. He started to panic slightly. He knew he was about to die, although, as he pointed out, his life didn’t actually flash before him. (Well obvious really – wouldn’t that only have happened had he actually died? And as he was in Sainsbury’s, he presumably must have survived – although the thought did cross my mind that he may have been some kind of zombie.)

By this point I was quite willing to put him out of his misery myself and I’m guessing a few people in the queue had gone to look for some of these potatoes with the vague hope of ending it all.

But (the man continued) luckily he called to his wife… (so he could still speak then?) (This guy is married??) …and she ran to his rescue and saved the day!


So, he then concluded by recapping – TWICE - (just in case the checkout woman wasn't entirely sure of the point of the story) - that he had originally thought the potatoes might not be nice, they were in fact, nice. But they nearly killed him - so he was right all along - they were not THAT nice. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Hmmm - let me think now - if I went to customer services every time I bought something that might kill me, I'd be there an awful lot.

"Oh Sainsbury's - what are you trying to do? Are you trying to kill me with this Coke? I might empty it into a bowl, place my head inside, and drown."

"Oh Sainsbury's - you brute. You have sold me this cling-film and I might wrap it round my head and suffocate."

"Oh Sainsbury's.... matches.... how could you?"

Surely the consumer has some sort of responsibility to use the products wisely? I am guessing that the reason he nearly choked is because he was probably talking while he was eating.

Anyway - he FINALLY paid - by this time his shopping had been packed away. I didn’t see what he had bought, but I am imagining something along the lines of a multi pack of extra sharp razor blades, some head sized plastic bags and (with any luck) a gun.

Then she asked him if he had a Nectar card....

Oh God, no.... now what?

He had to send off for a new one - now I don't know if this was because his wife had to use the old one to perform some sort of lifesaving potato related operation (one I have yet to see on Casualty). But anyway - he finally left the shop.

Words were not spoken, but several glances were exchanged. You have to be a bit careful - it might have been her dad. But anyway - sighs of relief all round.

Next thing we know - the old bugger is back!! He felt compelled to return, and add one final bit to the story...

Guess what!! (Shock, horror!!) When he rang up for a new card, he was put through to a call centre in INDIA!!! Oh my God. Can you believe it? India?

So effing what matey? You’re getting a new card aren't you – as long as you get your card, it wouldn’t matter if they put you through to a call centre on Neptune.... His reaction was as if someone had put him through to a call centre in a parallel universe, or in Victorian times...

"I rang up for a new card and spoke to Isambard Kingdom Brunel!"

I would imagine he would be the type of guy who would have been really confused when Tom Baker was doing the voice of the speaking clock (some time ago).

"Oh God no - what's happening? A time lord in charge of time? I rang up and got put through to the TARDIS"

I bet his wife sends him out shopping every single night for a bit of peace. You can just imagine it can't you, "Oh Algernon, just pop out for some Spam would you? Oh and don't forget to tell everyone about your near death experience."

It is awful though isn't it when all you want to do is get home as quickly as possible? The woman on the till was desperate as well, you could tell - she was holding out her hand for the money - but he had a captive audience, there was nothing she could do till he handed over the cash, and it would have been rude to just demand it. He got his timing just right for maximum disturbance.

Obviously next time I go there in the evening, I will check the queue for this guy – and if I spot him, I’ll take my chances with the “ticking-bomb” woman.

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