The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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5:44pm on Saturday, 27th January, 2018:



I went to Sainsbury's today, as I usually do on a Saturday, and picked up one of their hand scanners. I did the weekly shopping, it worked fine, then I went to check out.

"Approval needed", said the machine.

This is what it says when I buy something not allowed to be sold to anyone under 18. I hadn't bought anything like that, though. Maybe the stuff for cleaning the sink? I looked at the display and up came a list of things I hadn't bought. Marmite, steak, sweetcorn, crumpets, ... None of it was mine.

I told the person who came to give me the approval that this wasn't my shopping, and she went off and checked at customer service. It was my name that showed up on the scanner, but not my shopping. I guess I didn't have to admit it wasn't my shopping, but that would have been little dishonest of me.

The transaction was cancelled, and I was given the option of either taking everything out of my bags and rescanning it or going to a regular till. I opted on the latter: if it all had to be rescanned, it may as well have been done by someone whose job it is to scan things.

I went to where the person holding the "next free till" paddle was indicating. Pushing my way past the trolley of the woman on the adjacent till, who seemed to think that it was protocol for her to use the whole aisle, I got my stuff out of my bags just as the person ahead of me in the queue started to pay.

At this point, he noticed that the head had come off one of the roses in the bunch of yellow roses he'd bought.

The woman on the till pressed a button to summon someone to get a new bunch. It didn't work. The paddle-holder suggested she try the button for the next till. That didn't work. The paddle-holder then suggested that the woman on the till look out for someone to go and bring the person who, had the button worked, would have been summoned by it. The paddle-holder did not appear to consider herself to be such a person, and wandered off to another aisle.

It took five minutes before the till operator was able to attract the attention of a passing colleague, who duly went off and got a fresh bunch of yellow roses.

The man before me in the queue had already paid. The till operator could have run through my shopping and that of the bloke behind me in the time it took for that fresh bunch of roses to appear. She didn't, though, because she was trying to attract the attention of random, passing colleages.

I suppose I could have gone off and found someone for her, but then so could yellow-rose guy. Indeed, the cashier suggested he do just that, or get the replacement bunch of roses; his withering look in response did not need any accompanying words. Wait we did, then.

If the flowers had taken just another few minutes to arrive, I could have finished reading The Guardian and maybe escape having to pay for it. No jury would have convicted me.

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Copyright © 2018 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).