There is many a good tune played on an old fiddle.

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“Check this out”.

Posted by Big John on July 26, 2008

The car park at my local Sainsbury’s was unusually full the other morning… “Must be holiday makers” … I said to myself and thought no more of it, as I pushed my trolley (cart) from aisle to aisle.

“This is a colleague announcement” .. boomed the public address system .. “Will all till trained staff report to the checkouts”.

I took no notice as I was preoccupied with calculating how long it would take me to consume all those ‘3 for 2’ and ‘buy one get one free’ offers, and would they all fit into the fridge.

“Would all till trained staff and non-till trained staff report to the checkouts”.

Blimey ! They must be busy … I thought … then a few minutes later …

“Will all staff and managers report to the checkouts”.

By the time I reached those same checkouts it looked a bit like the boat deck on the Titanic with people jostling to be next in line. I squeezed in behind a man who only had one lady in front of him. Unfortunately I didn’t realize that she had four (Yes, Four !) trolleys overflowing with what must have been every special offer in the store.

Suddenly a supervisor appeared and explained that the long delays were being caused by a computer malfunction … and … most of this week’s much advertised price reductions, ‘bogoffs’ and the 5p off a litre of petrol (gas) offer were not registering on the checkout system. She explained that refunds would be given at the customer service desk.

The lady with the ‘shipping order’ turned pale, for she and a small army of packers were about halfway through filling her bags when she suddenly panicked and decided that because of the computer cock-up she wanted a ‘recount’ and was soon surrounded by a group of even more confused staff who had been handing out chocolates and trying to placate irate customers.

Another checkout suddenly opened and I came second in the ‘chariot’ race which ensued, only to be greeted by an apologetic manager who handed me a £2 voucher ($3.75) as an extra discount off my shopping bill. A small ‘result’, but better than a bloody chocolate.

As I left the store I looked at the queue for refunds at the customer service desk and decided against joining it as a bloke in a suit and a badge told me I could claim my refunds on another day.

I know that this is not a very exciting tale, but it did add a bit of ‘colour’ to my day and reminded me of less complicated times when we used to shop at the little grocers around the corner, where the the old brass cash register would ring up £1/2s/3d/¾d, and the nearest thing to a special offer was a brown paper bag full of half price broken biscuits (cookies).

I’ll be off to Sainsbury’s again next week and trust that it will be chaos free … Shit ! .. I just remembered … Next week is the start of …

the bloody kids’ summer holidays !   😦


3 Responses to ““Check this out”.”

  1. Terri said

    Only you could take a story like this and turn it into a gem. What a madhouse that must have been!
    And patient person that you are……I must say, you handled it all very well.
    But you turned down the chocolate? Silly man! It MIGHT have come from France!

  2. We go to Sainsbury’s every Sunday morning unless spared the chore by being on holiday. Assuming we get up early enough and hit the store by 11 am when the tills start to function (like many stores, they now open the doors at 10:30 to allow 30 minutes “browsing”), it isn’t too bad but the crowds gradually build up after opening time and the queues quickly lengthen.

    We go to Sainsbury’s only because it’s the only store available within shopping-trolley dragging distance. There is a branch of the Inevitable Tesco’s in Islington, of course, but that is some way away. They are building a new complex on our corner and we have bet with ourselves that there will also be an Inevitable Tesco’s in there.

    There is so much wrong with Sainsbury’s that I wonder how they remain in business. We gave up on their home delivery after a startlingly bad performance that required several phone calls to sort out. Their inability to keep shelves stacked with common items would only pass unremarked in Soviet Russia. Standing for ages in a checkout queue is not assuaged by a looping announcement that checkout staff are working as fast as they can. Is that what the local shops, where customers were treated with some sort of respect, were destroyed for?

    If you want to understand a nation’s temper, go and see how it does its shopping. The British submissiveness under supermarket browbeating goes a long way to explaining why we are steadily losing the civil rights that generations strove to win for us.

  3. Ferouzeh said

    “If you want to understand a nation’s temper, go and see how it does its shopping”
    How very true SilverTiger. When I was travelling I spent more time in department stores and supermarkets than visiting old monuments. I was considered a barbarous idiot but I enjoyed myself more specially checking the food shelves.
    It cheered me to no end when once at an out of town B&Q in Exeter I met a family of obviously French tourists (in Exeter one knew when a foreigner was not a resident) and I asked them what where they doing there instead of visiting the Cathedral. They replied without a trace of apology that.. yes..sure ..well ..uhm… they were learning more about the Brits at B&Q.

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