Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Ramblings: Totting Up


If someone undercharged you for something in a shop would you tell them or would you leg it? The answer for me isn’t black or white. It depends on so many factors. Is it a big multinational chain store? Was the assistant rude? How broke am I?

I was with my best friend a few years ago at a charming little plant nursery. She’d developed a sudden interest in gardening and I needed to stock up my pots for the terrace so we trundled off, like a middle aged couple on a dull Sunday.

I worry about being seen doing married couple type activities with straight women. Not for myself, but for them. I sometimes wonder if passersby look at us with pity and think: “Oh that poor girl! Her husband is so obviously gay! Should I tell her that he’s clearly a sausage nibbler on the sly?”

We selected our plants and went to the little brick outhouse to pay. There was a weathered old lady there in a nice navy blue pinny.  She pulled a small battered note pad from her pocket and grabbed a blunt pencil stub from behind her ear.

“I don’t hold with all these calculators and tills. Give me the old fashioned way any day. I like to use my brain, not like you young people.”

She was annoying. She rapidly totted up the bill and my friend paid. I know her well and could see she was slightly twitchy. We walked away to the car. I soon discovered what had happened.

She hissed at me: “Walk quickly but nonchalantly! The silly cow has under charged me by £20.”

I felt not a pang of guilt. Pride comes before a fall. Maybe calculators aren’t so bad.


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