We only had three items…


The last month or so has made for very sombre reading. Perhaps I’m spending too much time watching the news. This misery has been compounded by my moving to another site – one where I have to contend with rude smelly truckers and a till that opens with sufficient force to break bones. I can only assume that in some factory somewhere, a box marked ‘sensible till-opening springs’ has been replaced by one marked ‘ridiculous car-flipping springs’.

I feel as though this blog could benefit from an injection of levity – and I am determined to bring it about. So determined, that I am willing to overlook the prospect of a shattered ulna in order to achieve it. The trouble is that it’s quite difficult to see how such an injection of levity could be brought about; everyone from Mosul to Missouri seems to be getting shot or tear-gassed or blown to bits.

I think, in relative terms, the weekend’s trip to Morrison’s might prove sufficiently trivial (Yeah, Morrison’s with an apostrophe, motherfuckers – but that’s for another blog). But that’s not to say I don’t treat what happened there very seriously indeed.

We went to buy three things, because we only needed three things: sausages, a loaf of bread and some eggs, if I recall correctly, but that’s not important. What’s important is the quantity. We only had three items.

It took about two minutes to collect all of these items. When we finally arrived at the self-service checkout, however, we encountered a problem. We stood for awhile at the back of lengthy, stationary queue. A horde of pensioners began to swell behind us, like Uruk’hai amassing at the foot of Isengard. What the fuck could possibly take so long? I scout ahead to find that two of the four tills are not working. The area is choked with trolleys.

Trolleys!? You don’t need a trolley, here! If you needed a trolley, you could go to one of the other tills. This isn’t for you! You’ve got thirty items! I’ve only got three! Get the fuck out!

A great vast sign above this lane demands fifteen items or less. Or, it doesn’t demand, it merely suggests. It should demand. What’s more, this demand should be policed via the pointy ends of a bat’leth. There are only two self-service tills available in the whole supermarket, and yet still people flock toward it. This is one computer that draws retirees like shit draws flies. And most of these retirees brandish trolleys. No-one, it seems, is capable of telling an old person when they’re being a fucking dick. Once you’ve lived long enough, it seems, you can be as inconsiderate as you damn well please.

Can we blame Morrison’s for this debacle? Can we really expect the staff of Morrison’s to explain to people which tills they can and can’t use? Let me tell you, I’ve had some tedious confrontations in my time, and I’m shuddering at the prospect.

Retail staff are like the Rohirim. Their management are like Gandalf; except the management at Morrison’s don’t ride in to tell everyone they can’t put fifty billion items through the self service. Management at Morrison’s are like a really shit Gandalf who gets there a day late to find everyone already dead.

I think the final straw arrived when the woman in front of me asked one particularly inconsiderate old man whether he needed a hand with his gigantic pile of shopping. Hey lady! There are already places where people can get a hand with their shopping, if they require it. They are called ‘manned tills’. If you were to rotate your head thirty degrees clockwise you might see fucking ten of them right there!

It was at this point that we had to make a hasty retreat; any delay would have resulted my girlfriend going into full hulk-rage mode and bludgeoning this woman to death with our shopping (though this would have taken a very long time, as we only had three items).

We abandoned our basket. I’ve never walked out of a shop before – at least not for this reason. It felt strangely liberating to walk across to the nearby Aldi and buy exactly the same three items in about thirty seconds. It even felt exciting, maybe.

But this excitement was tinged with regret. Even now, four days later, I feel guilty about abandoning those sausages in a non-chilled environment. What if no-one picked them up to put them back in the fridge? I fear their sacrifice may be in vain. What a tragic waste of perfectly good Cumberland sausage.

It gets busy in Aldi, too, by the way. But in Aldi they say ‘hey dude, you’ve only got three items, I’ll serve you first’. The woman who served me looked as though she’d been awake for thirty-five thousand hours, thanks to some diabolical cocktail of relentless and speed, but at least we got served quickly. We only had three items.

I suspect this blog is another signpost along my decline into domesticated middle-age; I am, after all, complaining about a shopping experience. I’ve done it before; I’ll do it again. Bring it on. I embrace it. I look forward to my decline into old age, where I can act like an inconsiderate tosser without anyone even considering tapping me on the shoulder to say ‘hey man, fuck you.’

Until next week.


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