Unexpected Idiot In Bagging Area…

Supermarket Checkout

I was using a supermarket self-checkout today, processing my items to the repetitive drone of “please place your item in the bagging area.” Next to me, an older couple were battling to put through their items of shopping, some (most) of which included bottles of alcohol. Most of you will be aware that when you buy alcohol at a self-checkout the attendant has to check your age. So, in this instance, their checkout light went red and a message popped up on their screen. Here is a transcript of the conversation that followed:

Lady: “Why is it telling us that we have to wait for assistance?”
Attendant: “We have to check your age to ensure you aren’t underage”
Lady: “Ah, ok. I suppose I should take it as a compliment, really? Ha ha ha…”

For some reason, I took umbrage at her stupid remark. I just about managed to hold back from vociferating in response:

“So, you think this piece of electronic equipment has a brain, do you? That’s mistake number one. Mistake number two is thinking that if it did have a brain, it would be stupid enough to think that you, a haggard old alcoholic woman who smells of musky piss and morning fresh, are actually a voluptuous 17-year-old woman with the face of an angel.”

“Oh, and, by the way, you should assume that the card payment machine thinks you’re trustworthy, that the supermarket’s automatic door likes you and that your trolley knows where your car is parked. Good luck!”

Teenage Love… In The Middle Of Costa!

Teenage Couple

Today, I have decided to work from Costa; as a break from being at home. I’ve got my coffee, I’ve got my sandwich and I’ve got my berry muffin. Unfortunately for me, I’ve also “got” a teenage couple sitting on the table next to me. These two teenagers have clearly just discovered the delights of kissing (they’re sitting there sucking each other’s faces off). Now, anyone normal would find a corner somewhere to engage in this private and newly-exciting activity. But, no, they’re literally sitting right in the middle of Costa.

I could move all my stuff (laptop, jacket, bag, coffee, sandwich) onto another table nearby. But, instead, I’m going to sit here, moan lots and think up some mischievous ideas for what to do next. I could:

  1. Tell them to get a room at a hotel (one that allows children!)
  2. Tut loudly
  3. Do nothing (and plug my earphones in)… far too sensible, that one!
  4. Hit them. Lots.
  5. Start singing. Perhaps a song such as “it started with a kiss…” by Hot Chocolate. I wonder, is there a song called “f*** off and do that somewhere else before I strangle you with my scarf and bury you both in a plant pot!!”
  6. Find the nearest supermarket, buy a can of beans, scoff the lot and… well, you can probably guess the rest…
  7. Take photographs, threaten to tell their parents and then blackmail them for everything they’ve got (£2.43 in pocket money and half a packet of Chewits)

They clearly think they’re invisible to everyone and that everyone in Costa is hard-of-hearing. I am, at this very moment, wondering whether such a public display of teenage passion is a decent motive for murder.

Maybe I’m just jealous. Do you think I’m jealous? When I was a teenager, I was just happy for a girl to notice me (usually followed by a face of disgust or a comment of “why are you standing outside the girls’ changing rooms?”). I’m not bitter… 😉

Oh crap. I’ve just noticed. I’m looking around at the other tables in here and EVERYONE is a teenager. I’ve accidentally walked into the local puberty asylum. There’s only one thing for it, I’m going to have to put on some tracksuit bottoms, spray myself with 13 cans of Lynx deodorant and don a baseball cap.

You know what, I’m going to be a bit nicer to this couple. I mean, we were all young once. I haven’t eaten my muffin yet, so I could give them that… in small pieces… projected with velocity at their faces!! No, you know what, I’ll go and buy them a present… do they sell Chlamydia Test gift tokens in Boots? 😉

The Humble Toothbrush

Toothbrushes

As someone who runs my own business, I’m used to making difficult decisions. However, today I found myself facing one of the most challenging decisions I’ve made in a while. That’s right – I went to buy a new toothbrush.

Before you laugh, just consider what a complicated decision it has become to choose a new toothbrush. I spent several minutes pondering, bemused, in the supermarket aisle because I couldn’t decide between green and blue, soft and firm, springy head or non-springy head, tongue cleaning or non-tongue cleaning…

What I found particularly funny, other than imagining the sight of me scratching my head infront of the toothbrushes, was some of the marketing on the toothbrush boxes themselves. For example, the toothbrush that I ended up buying (because it was on special offer) was labelled as ‘professional’. Now, what exactly does that mean – can I call myself a professional tooth brusher? There seems little justification for being awarded this title. Surely I should have attended a training course, passed an exam and been presented with a certificate before achieving such an important honour?

Having graciously accepted this title (by agreeing to pay £2.50), I wonder whether it’s time for me to update my CV to include “professional tooth brusher?” Perhaps I could also include the fact that I do a ‘professional’ job of wiping my own backside too? (though I do say so myself!)

Onto another point now, regarding product marketing. I bought some toilet rolls today and on the packaging was a big star containing the text “Voted product of the year – consumer survey of product innovation 2009”. Have I been transported back in time several centuries? According to Wikipedia, “the first documented use of toilet paper in human history dates back to the 6th century AD, in early medieval China.” So, they seem a little late in recognising this fantastic “innovation” (and, lets be honest, our bottoms wouldn’t be the same without it). One wonders what other products of ingenuity received awards at the same time – the wheel, the cocktail stick and the hairpiece, perhaps?

I can imagine that the 2010 awards will see another ‘hard fought’ competition, with the innovation of the year being something like… ah, yes, that new concept called the ‘bar of soap’…

The Joy Of Text

Girl Texting a Friend

Whether you love it or hate it, texting has become a major part of our daily lives. From keeping in touch with our friends to competitions and promotional offers on television and radio, these days we struggle to be away from our mobile phones for any length of time.

I saw a classic example of the promotional use of texting today whilst watching daytime television. A quiz was sponsored by a de-congestant and they were enticing people to find out more information by texting the word “mucus” to them. Lovely! What next?…

Latest offer: Win a pair of underpants. Simply text the words “I’ve soiled myself and my spare pair are in the washing machine” to 63352

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had numerous discussions with friends about frustrating text message conversations. Based upon those stories, I thought I’d write a post listing some typically frustrating types of text chat. You’ve probably been involved in some of the following types of conversation before:

Textual Harassment

This label applies to those people who bombard us with text messages. I’m sure you’ve been in the situation before where you finish writing a text message, hit send and a reply arrives back on your phone before you’ve even had the chance to put it down and take a sip of your tea. By replying, you’re signing a mini-contract to waste the best part of your day engaging the other person in pointless chatter. What a waste of bloody time!

Textual harrassers will, invariably, end up becoming stalkers and/or participants in late-night radio phone-ins. Continue reading

Close The Bloody Door!

Grrrrrrrrrr

Today I’m going to have a rant about something (or rather, ‘someone’) that really pisses me off…

The guy (or woman – this isn’t a gender-specific annoyance) who walks into a cafe on a cold day and leaves the door open. It only takes 2 seconds to close the door and save everyone from a chilling blast of arctic cold up their jacksey.

Yet this idiot, wearing his super-thick winter coat, doesn’t think about that, does he?

So, what happens next?

You get up from your chair and walk across to ‘ferme la porte‘, ensuring that you slam it hard enough that the noise resonates around the room and shakes all the pictures off the walls. Everyone looks up at you, except for the ignorant ‘merde‘ who left it ajar in the first place. You then trudge back to your seat (although in your mind you’re walking up to the man, grabbing his head and bashing it onto the counter infront of him).

You sit down, feeling irritated, and continue with what you were doing (the crossword in the newspaper, in which, coincidentally, the answer to 4 across is ‘tosspot’ – well, it’s not really, but it does fit, so f*ck it!)

Just as your mood begins to return to somewhere near normality, the inevitable happens. The guy has ordered take-away and, having paid for his sandwich and coffee by emptying the entire collection of loose change from his wallet, bag and coat pockets into a heap on to the counter, he opens the door and goes to walk out. You’re waiting for him to either shut the door behind him or give you the motive for murder.

Instead, he taunts you by doing neither and begins a long goodbye speech to the cafe owner (with the door wide open). Well, that’s enough for you – you get up off your chair, spilling the unfinished crossword to the floor, and sprint across the room, slamming the door in his face and knocking him and his coffee half way down the street. That’ll teach the little ‘4 across!’


Update: To my delight, I’ve just found out that there’s a ‘Close The Door’ campaign in the UK. Find out more about it here.