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8:37am on Wednesday, 18th January, 2006:

Carrier Bag


My younger daughter has a cold, and for some reason seems to think that this entitles her to a packet of mints every day. We ran out, so this morning at about 7:15 I went to the local shop to buy some.

At that time of day, most people are there to buy just one item, whether that be a newspaper, milk or (as in my case) Polos. However, the person in front of me in the queue was a generic Little Old Lady who was buying all she needed for that one day but nothing more.

It's the shop assistant who served her that I'm going to talk about, though.

The signs were bad early on, when the sharp-eyed LOL spotted that the shop assistant was typing in the bar code for a couple of pork chops which had failed to scan, when she'd already just scanned an identical packet. "It's OK", said the SA, "this one is cheaper!".

Hold on, so that means the other one — in exactly the same packing and of exactly the same weight, probably from exactly the same pig — was more expensive? Shouldn't they have been the same? But no, the SA seemed to think that the LOL was getting an illicit bargain on the lower-priced packet rather than being ripped off on the higher-priced one, so she continued.

The LOL's shopping filled a single carrier bag, except for a packet of sprouts. The LOL had a shopping bag with her, and wanted to use that for the sprouts. Here's how the conversation went.

LOL: I'll put those in my shopping bag.
SA: Do you want a carrier bag?
LOL: No, I'll put them in my shopping bag.
SA: Don't you want a carrier bag?
LOL: No, just give them here and I'll put them in my shopping bag.
SA: You can have a carrier bag.
LOL: I don't want a carrier bag. I can put them in my shopping bag.
SA: They're free.
LOL: I know they're free, but I don't want one just for a kilogram of sprouts.
SA: Don't you like carrier bags?
LOL: I don't mind them, but I don't want too many of them.
SA: Is it that you don't like having too many of them?
LOL: Yes. Can I have my sprouts please?
SA: You can bring them back here for recycling.
LOL: I'd rather not make the journey.
SA: You can collect them and bring several at once.
LOL: I don't want to collect them. I just want my sprouts.
SA: Sprouts? (laughing) Oh, sorry, I was forgetting.
Thereupon, SA automatically takes a carrier bag, puts the sprouts in it, and hands it to the LOL.

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Copyright © 2006 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).