I am trying so very much to not to turn into a be-Scrooged Grinch in the run up to Christmas but it’s becoming increasingly possible that I’m going to rein act the most bad-ass scenes from that Michael Douglas film “Falling Down” if I don’t take a chill pill soon. If it isn’t hoards of miserable shoppers, screaming kids and doddery old farts in the shopping centre it’s boy racers, school run tanks and even more doddery old farts on the road.
Why is that when I pick the queue with the least amount of people waiting it ends up taking twice as long as the one with the longest queue? I tell you why, it’s because everyone else has some kind of 6th sense that I seem to lack. It’s the ability to see that the checkout is being manned by some youth who makes Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels characters from dumb and dumber seem positively brimming with intellect. They manage to work out that the only reason there’s an old lady with a few small basket items and a freakish oath with just a bottle of chocolate fudge milkshake waiting in line spells T.R.O.U.B.L.E.
Aside from the checkout boy’s complete inability to do anything other than completely fudge-up the checkout computer whilst trying to put through the hundreds of coupons that the old lady is trying to use (and managing to make her shopping come out even more expensive than it should be in the process), the oath in a grey tracksuit with weird stains around the bottom area smells really bad so much so you can actually see the fumes rising from his clothing.
“Why me?” I ask myself as I ponder moving to another checkout queue but the old lady is now ready to pay so I decide to stay. Five minutes later and the checkout boy is still struggling to give the old lady the correct change as she swears blind that she gave him a £20 when she actually gave him a £10. I know this because I saw it. It was an orange brown colour, not blue. I’m about to jump ship when the supervisor arrives, sorts out the problem and in less than a minute old lady is on her way.
If I thought it would be plane sailing from here I would be sadly mistaken. The simpleton checkout boy only has to scan a bottle of chocolate fudge milkshake, how could he possibly fudge that up? How indeed, whatever he did he managed it. Oath looks at simpleton checkout boy and says “Wot you’s fink I am, a millions-aire or summit?” I manage to overcome the stench of the oath to get close enough to take a peak at the price, £5.95, for a milkshake. I’d be pretty peeved too.
The supervisor is called and this time promptly comes to the aid of the struggling teen. The problem is sorted and checkout lad asks for the balance. However, when I finally think the ordeal is coming to a conclusion Oath takes out the contents of his pockets and spreads them across the checkout. Picking out pennies from screwed up receipts, a pen lid, a bit of string, a condom (still in its wrapper but looks like it expired a decade ago), a couple of mints, a paperclip and a fingernail he slowly counts out his change.
This was now way beyond tedious. The biggest queue was already down to the final two people and I was tempted to just bite the bullet and move but no sooner had that thought entered my head Oath man and boy wonder had finished their exchange and it was my turn in line. Placing my basket on the till I notice the checkout lad glaze over as I place a bottle of red wine on the counter.
“Scuze me sir, do you have ID?” asks the jumped-up little sod.
“ID? I haven’t been asked for ID since I was 15 and I’m nearly twice your age now” is my restrained reply.
“I don’t know that sir”, says the little weasel.
“Bloody hell, where did that confidence come from?” I banter to blank looks, “never mind, here you go”.
I hand over my driver’s license showing that I am indeed nearly twice his age. He pulls the wine through the scanner and it’s like someone has just escaped from Alcatraz. Sirens go off, lights flash and I feel a sense of panic. Fat security guards look over as other customers look at me in shame. The checkout lad then says rather sheepishly;
“I’m sorry sir, I’m too young to serve you alcohol. You’ll have to use another till”.