Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Another Supermarket Gripe

Credit crunch notwithstanding, the queues were long at Marks this morning.

I stood in queue next to a closed checkout thinking, "Perhaps someone would open this checkout soon."

Someone did: Manhar, an older Asian gentleman who is always polite and appears to take great pride in all that he does, whether in taking payment or stacking shelves. I've seen him coming to work (with his document case) and he is always smartly dressed. If there are two queues of about the same number of shoppers, I'll choose Manhar's.

I saw him approaching the empty checkout and headed towards it. Before I got there an older lady asked, "Is this opening?"

I said "yes" and indicated that she went ahead of me as she only had a few items in her hands. A young man was carrying her bag.

But just as she got to the checkout (like two old lady steps away), another woman, older than me (she was wearing bifocals) and younger than my first older lady barged in, virtually pushing her aside.

I heard her mutter, "... waiting for a long time."

The older lady didn't have a choice, but stepped back to let her through.

It wasn't like, "I'm sorry I've waited some time and I need to be somewhere else, could I go ahead of you?" Or simply, "I've been waiting some time, is it OK to go ahead of you?"

No, she just barged in, as if she was entitled to do so. There wasn't even a "thank you". I am sure if she had asked nicely both of us -- any reasonable person -- would say, "Sure, go ahead."

All through the checkout process: she had slippers with a barcode that does not read and so the numbers had to be punched in, and she wanted cashback, etc, etc. (in the end I would have finished earlier had I stuck to my original queue, but that is not the point) this woman had a face as black as thunder, as if she had been offended by someone.

When she walked away, lady in front of me said something to Manhar who replied discreetly, "We are all different, but best not to talk about it here."

Not exactly 'selfish behaviour', but annoyingly rude.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Only one item

I learned this from the Dutch.

We used to have to shop for the Youth Hostel and needed one, sometimes two trolleys.

Then when we get to the cashier we find a man, woman or child with a few items in the basket. We would offer to let these persons go first.

Yesterday I had to send something away by registered post.

In front of me was a lady on the phone. When she got to the counter I saw that she was applying for an Oyster Card with a passport. While the postmaster was checking her details, three more large envelopes came out of her rucksack.

Eventually she pulled out a long (and I mean long) form out of somewhere. At which point I asked, "Are you going to be very long?"

She turned around with a very gruff, "Yes."

I turned around and left. I was due somewhere else.

Knowing this postmaster, it wouldn't take two minutes to complete my transaction, but this lady in front of me didn't think to let me go ahead. She had that look on her face that said, "It is my right to go first. It does not matter how long I take. You might only need a stamp, but I will take 20 minutes or longer here if I need. Buzz off."

The thing is whenever I give way to another shopper at a supermarket because they have only one or two items with cash on the ready, it makes everyone smile in the queue.

There was no smiling at the sub-post office yesterday when I was there.