Monday, 27 October 2008


It’s Friday afternoon after work. You’re at the supermarket to pick a few things up. You’re in the “12 Items or Less” checkout lanes. There are 3 of them. Only 1 has a person behind it.

Oh my, look at all the people in this line, you think to yourself. Oh dear, I’ll be here for hours, you think. Frantically, you spin your head this way and spin your head that way looking desperately for a queue that isn’t a queue, something that will deliver you from the injustice of having to spend … oh, 5 minutes of your life, your precious, special, extraordinary life, in a situation so banal, so beneath you, so not deserving of your valuable and valued time in this squalid little supermarket shithole full of queues.

Oh my, you think to yourself, I wonder where the other 2 people are? Slacking off, most probably, you think. Can’t they see us all waiting here? Can’t they see ME waiting here? Who do they think they are, keeping us all waiting here while they fritter away time doing God-only-knows what but I bet it’s certainly not work, you fume, your eyes narrowing to little rifle-slits and your lips twisting themselves into two snarling ribbons like a couple of shagged out flatworms. The only person they do have is taking an awfully long time with things, isn’t he, you think to yourself, not taking much notice of the fact that everyone he’s dealing with insist on buying their 2 or 3 items of goods for a grand total of $7.87 by using EFTPOS and getting some extra cash to go, thanks, ta, oops, wrong number, I’ll swipe that again.

Oh, here comes someone now, you notice. She looks rather harried, and is wiping her hands, most likely from a quick dash to the mall rest-rooms for a much-needed waste-expulsion and subsequent ablute*.

Well, you think to yourself, that’s understandable, I suppose, fair enough. Though you’d think they’d call up a relief for such circumstances, wouldn’t you? I mean, look at all these people just stuck here in this horrid line! And all because someone went to the toilet. What is the country coming to?

Anyway, there are three checkouts, where’s the third person, then, hmmm?

Of course, you haven’t really noticed that the third person has been stuck out of sight at the cigarette counter for the last ten minutes patiently trying to explain to the brain-dead dingbat on the other side that the 2-for-1 special only applies to 2 items of the same thing and that no, you can’t get 2-for-1 for 4 bucks when you’ve only got one of the things that are on special and the other thing you have is a half-kilo block of tasty cheddar which sells for about 7 bucks by itself, so no, that doesn’t count, I’m sorry, would you like us to go and get you another box of Chicken-In-A-Biscuit, ma’am? … No, ma’am, the cheese isn’t on special. It’s the biscuits that are on special …

Oh, there’s the other person, you notice as you inch ever closer to your destination. At the cigarette counter.


I don’t know why, you think to yourself, I don’t know why the smokers get precedence in service over those of us who look after ourselves and take care of our health. Surely, they should be the low priority when it comes to attention. I mean, shouldn’t they? It’s only right.

Oh, look. Here you are. At the checkout Well, at last. After all that wait and bother.

Honestly, if you were a person of temper, you’d have more than a few words in their ear about this appalling state of affairs, leaving us all waiting here for so long with so few people to take care of us. Given the prices they’re charging these days, I can’t remember the time I last had a decent piece of meat, but given the prices, you’d think they could afford to put a few more people on, wouldn’t you? Why, they must be making a fortune …

But no, not being a person of temper, you won’t say what's on your mind. Not so much as a peep.

Instead, you’ll take your little bag of hard-queued for goodies and go home to spend the rest of the afternoon sprinkling ground glass into your husband’s "Just Right" before he gets home drunk from the pub again.

*Not a real word.

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