I've been out to get just a couple of items this morning. Carol had been off work for three days last week (as you will no doubt know if you read this blog on a regular basis.) but still has the remains of blocked up sinuses and sore throat. She has been taking medication, mainly Actifed, which is supposed to relieve congestion. We have several retail parks around Milton Keynes, one at Kingston, where there is a large Tesco supermarket. We did some shopping there the other evening. There are also quite a few other stores within the complex, Next, Papas and Mamas (which sells baby and children's things), Blacks, Marks and Spencers and Boots. There is also a branch of Boots at the retail park at Bletchley (just beyond Asda and IKEA's stores) as well as a Next (which is supposed to sell discounted items.) as well as a branch of T.K. Maxx, Brantano and Argos. Carol asked me to get her another pack of Actifed, so I thought that I'd go to the branch of Boots near Bletchley, and also get some Vicks Sinex, which she also uses for congestion. They had the Vicks Sinex, but didn't have the Actifed, so I bought the Sinex and came home. I had something to eat and then decided to go out again, this time to Westcroft (the other side of Milton Keynes, and near where we used to live at Crownhill.) It's a relatively short distance mid-morning, and easier in the long run to visit rather than going into Miton Keynes Central shopping centre, because of parking and the distance to walk. I went into Boots and got the Actifed, without any problems, paid and left. Then I decided to go to Morrisons, the supermarket which is in the central area (known as a local centre around Milton Keynes. Kingston is a 'local centre, with the branch of Tesco and other stores around a large carpark.) I had to buy a pot of cream to go with our meal this evening.
I walked through the door and into the supermarket and the place was heaving. I realise that it is a Friday today, and as soon as people are paid they go shopping. But it was as if a plague of locusts had decended on the place. I can imagine it being busy later, after most people finished work at around 4.30- 5.00 p.m. or even Saturday (or Sunday, as Sunday has become like any other day of the week now.) but mid-morning seemed a bit odd somehow. Christmas is several weeks away, but people were going mad, filling their trolleys with goodness knows what, as if for some sort of siege. Are we about to run short of mincepies, sausage rolls, Christmas puddings, turkeys and all the usual Christmas fare? Are the shops likely to be closed for weeks on end over Christmas and the New Year? I don't think they are likely to be shut for more than a couple of days at a time. But people's thinking is that they aren't going to be able to manage without all these things so 'buy today and forget about tomorrow.'
Well, regardless of all that, all the tills had queues stretching for miles (I over-exaggerate, but you surely get my idea.) and so I decided to queue for the 'self-service' tills. (I have written in an earlier post about my dealings with these devices.) I eventually reached a vacant one. Having just one item to scan and pay for, it shouldn't have taken too long. I managed to get the thing to scan the pot of cream, but I couldn't get it to complete the transaction. At which point a member of staff appeared and snatched the pot of cream from my grasp, put it on the shelf which is intended for your bag and so designed, so that when you put your shopping items into the bag it trips the mechanism that moves the cycle of the self service till to it's next phase. (If any of this makes sense, which it would if you have ever used these self-service tills.) It was the fact that the man snatched the cream out of my hand so abruptly which annoyed me, as if I was some sort of delinquent child which needed telling off for being naughty, or at least, an adult with few enough brain cells to comprehend the workings of so complex a piece of machinery. He didn't speak to me, but just went off to deal with some other unfortunate customer who happened to come within his territory. I shall try to remember in future that you must put your items of shopping on the shelf (which is intended to take your carrier bag) as it is this which triggers the machine to finish it's cycle.) Anyway, I paid and left.