Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Don't Say "Bungee Jumping Mermaid!" - That's Rude!

I sometimes wonder how some people manage to make it out of bed in the mornings without straining their brain.
This afternoon I was in the queue for the till in the village shop, loaf of bread in one hand bar of chocolate in the other, it's a small Co-op with tiny Post Office (pronounced 'po - stoffice' round here). In front of me in the queue was a lady of middle to advance middle years who I didn't recognise (i.e. almost certainly a tourist) and behind the counter was the new lad, I don't know his name, who is friendly and helpful but still finding his way around. She is attempting to pay and he was having trouble with her card.

He stabbed at a few keys on the till. Shook his head and apologised. "I'm sorry. The system hasn't recognised the card, could you put it in again, please?".
She pulls out and then reinserts her card. He waits for a moment. But it's obvious from his expression that the same non-recognition thing has happened again. I can see the doubt on his face. I can see him wondering whether it something he has done, or hasn't done. Should he call the supervisor? He decides to have one last go.
"I'll cancel the transaction," he tells her, "and we'll try again. Could you take your card out again, please?"
He presses a few more buttons on the till as she removes her card. The queue has grown in length by now, and those of us who can see what is going on are exchanging typically British "tut tut, I don't know..." type micro-eye contacts. The rest who are around the corner next to the crisps and can't see what is going on, probably assume that someone up front is buying a Lottery ticket, a process which any time I have seen it acted out, seems to take the entire shop staff, several keys, and a lot of apologising, "The machine is usually a lot faster than this, the lines are slow today. Was it a Lucky Dip you're wanting?"
The lad finally gets the amount re-entered into the till and asks the woman to insert her card for at least the third time. She slides it into the machine. Still no joy. He is feeling awkward. What's he supposed to do? He's new on the job. He's never encountered this situation before. He's just on the point of saying something when the woman pulls out a twenty pound note and some loose change. " I'll have to pay with cash." she says, "I don't know my PIN number for that card anyway..."


Anonymous said...

Isn't she a sweet old lady?!!

Phoebe said...


Missing CD? Contact vendor

Free CD
Please take care
in removing from cover.

Copyright (c) 2004-2007 by me, Liam Baldwin. That's real copyright, not any 'creative commons' internet hippy type thing.

(this copyright notice stolen from http://jonnybillericay.blogspot.com/)

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