Check Out

More angst at the checkout. The queue of impatient pensioners was building up behind me, the tuts almost audible, as they diligently fought over the placement of territorial dividers. Clearly, they had far less time on their hands than I. As my stuff piled up I noticed a hole in my BAg for Life, out of which potatoes were tumbling. The kind assistant said she would replace it for free. ‘Thanks,’ I said, ‘but this is a sad moment for me. And I will need to change my will.’ She was sympathetic but obdurate, explaining that I could not keep my original damaged but much cherished bag, even if we had been through a lot together. It was not policy. I conducted a small but poignant ceremony of parting. Once the bag was filled up, she asked if I had a nectar card. I explained with sorrow that I do not keep bees. She shared with me the fact that she did not like bees either, but even less so wasps. I felt the need to share that I love bees, but do keep them, lacking a hive. This conversation was developing nicely, breaking through the transactional to the relational level. By this time the trollied crowd were surging forward, practically pushing me out of the door. After a long conversation about the fact that I did not need school vouchers – as I did not at this point plan to open a school – I bade her a fond farewell as I waved my shiny new born-again bag, while wishing all my fellow shoppers a human interaction-free day, tripping over the piles of pumpkins and Christmas chocolates on my way out.

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