Saturday morning, the morning after a god awful night, working in the lightest drizzle that had seemed intent on seeing out the shift with me right to the punch of the clock and, having got home, I still had the weekly shopping run to do.
Well, it's all pretty much routine really. Buy a newspaper, get some cash from a hole in the wall on my way to the bus-stop and get my sorry worn out old bod to Lidl's.
Lidl's was plain sailingl. I visited the local Library and borrowed a couple of books and so far it was so good but that was all about to change. Asda stores here I come.
It was all going pretty much to plan. I know where everything is. I started at one end zig-zagging my way through the store then made my way to the checkouts and still, all good, working like dream. How could it not?
The checkouts were busy. I craned my neck trying to spot one that might offer the quickest checkout, not that I'm ever in any kind of a hurry, I thought I'd spotted one but I dithered and as I got there another shopper, a woman with quite a load, I have to admit, saw me coming and darted in before I could get there. Damn!
Our eyes met, she had this smug look on her face then she went all doe-eyed on me, half smiling half feigning guilt and embarrassment and giving me a look that said " what? "
As though pleading her innocence almost.
" I got here first ".
I wish , with hindsight, oh hindsight, what a wonderful thing, that I'd giving HER a bit of what for, in jest of course. Another opportunity wasted. Next time perhaps.
I just walked on by giving her my very best " hang-dog " look. I wish I hadn't but that's me I'm afraid. But I'm trying, I really am. I've forgotten how to smile. I really could use some help there. It's not a physical problem. I just don't know how.
And then it happened.
" Here you are sir, there's a gap down here. No queues today sir, we'll have you out of here in no time."
They do have these people in their green and yellow fleeces guiding shoppers to the least busy checkouts. It keeps things moving I suppose and so I followed this, this,seemingly, really nice man but there was a problem. We were getting up quite a head of steam and rapidly running out of checkouts. The self-service area was getting perilously close. Hackles were beginning to rise.
"It's not self-service sir. There's a woman there putting things through".
That stopped me dead.
" I can put these back on the shelves."
I wasn't joking and he knew it. He was speechless. At least until I'd turned about face.
I took a gentle stroll back up to the checkouts leaving mutterings of " you can't help some people ". I let it go, I was seething but I let it go, found a checkout and waited my turn. Next time, and there will be a next time, I'll be primed, loaded for bear, and a hunting I shall go.
Now this is where a Carnegie-fan might take issue with me. No they wouldn't they're too nice. So let me play devil's advocate here. In the nicest possible way with absolutely the best of intentions.
A Carnegie student/subscriber/whatever might think " well how nice, what a decent thought, thank you".
I, on the other hand thought, " you ephing [person born out of wedlock]. How stupid does your boss think we are? How stupid does he think YOU are?
What I wish I'd had the presence of mind to say was, well, what I'd thought and some.
" Can we discuss this or should I e-mail the store?" I wouldn't mail them of course, I don't want to pick a fight with them. I like shopping at Asda's. And after all, when all is said and done, he's just a lackey doing their bidding.
The whole point of their really nice " happy to help you exercise " is that having served you at one of their self-service checkouts you might think " well how easy was that? I could do that. "
Well screw them. I don't WANT to... "do that".
I'm not one of the millions of sheep to be pushed cajoled corralled and herded to the next best money-saving profit-making job-cutting conspiracy. I won't do it. I won't go there.
To exponents of the Carnegie way. No offence intended. It was just, in my mind when I posted this.