Dulltown, Europe: Today’s instruction is to wet it down completely with a hose pipe, sprinkle goofer dust over the central area, then walk around it six times in an anticlockwise direction with closed eyes, humming Abba’s hit song ‘Money money money’. (G.D.)
So, I placed my bits of shopping on the checkout moving belt: a nice head of broccoli, three brown onions (large) in their red fishnet stocking, a sliced wobbly brown loaf with many seeds in it, a tube of plaque fighter toothpaste, a single asteroid-shaped dirty orange sweet potato, next week’s copy of What’s On TV, a transparent oblong trough of shiny green seedless grapes, and a moderately-sized block of dangerously strong mature cheddar.
The lady with the nice eyes and the coloured hair whizzed them through the scanner and without looking up said, ‘That’ll be two hundred and thirty thousand and eight pounds, and six pence please, do you have a club card?…’
‘Er, no…I haven’t…’ I said, ‘but surely that can’t be right… Can it?…’
‘Well, that’s what it has come up as sir’ she said.
‘Perhaps you have mis-scanned something? I said.
‘I don’t think so sir…’
‘Well, it seems a bit much to me… Perhaps you’d be kind enough to tell me how many items you scanned?’
She grudgingly examined her screen and said, ‘Eight items sir…’
I looked down at my heap of stuff and did a quick count, ‘Well, that seems alright, I make it eight too.’
‘Do you want to pay by card sir?’ she snapped, I think she was now getting a bit annoyed.
‘No no, not yet’ I said, and added, ‘Could you just perhaps…’
‘There’s a long queue building up behind you sir…’ she said, and for the first time looked me in the eye.
I continued, ‘…perhaps you could tell me which item on the list cost the most?’
She sighed audibly and looked down at the screen again, ‘It’s the Rolls-Royce Wraith at £230,000…’
I responded with, ‘Well, that’s not bad value for money I suppose, but if you’d care to look at my pile of shopping, I don’t think you’ll see such an item there…’
She glanced over and said, ‘Mm… s’pose so…’
Anyway, eventually she called the manager over who frowned at me, and then put her glasses on and pondered over the screen, and then over my pile of goods; she noticed the queue behind me and shooed them off to a different checkout. After a bit of key tapping and umming and ahhing it was discovered that my tube of toothpaste had scanned in as a Rolls-Royce Wraith, and my bill was reduced accordingly. The manager in a bored monotone recited a half-hearted apology and handed me a little badly printed voucher.
Once outside I decided, as the evening was a pleasant one, that I would walk home rather than get the bus. As I passed through the supermarket car park there was a sudden shout of ‘Hoy!…’ behind me. I turned, and saw a man in a suit. He called across, ‘Have you got your voucher?…’
I shouted back, ‘Yes…’ and I took it out of my pocket and waved it at him. He waved back jingling a key fob with ‘R-R’ emblazoned on it and said, ‘Just follow me sir, I’ll show you where it’s parked…’
I chuckled as we walked along because I suddenly realised that they had forgotten to charge me for the toothpaste…