Friday, October 27, 2006

A Girl With No Name

Yesterday, when I got home from Tesco, I noticed that I had forgotten to buy potatoes. I could also do with some Caribbean hot sauce. Because it is Friday, I needed to stop by the temp agency's office, to drop off my timesheet. I decided to go to the smaller Tesco, nearest where I live. The good thing about that Tesco is that it's quiet. The larger Tesco and Sainsbury's would be very busy on a Friday afternoon/evening. The bad thing is, this smaller store doesn't seem to stock everything.
Once inside, I picked up a bag of Tesco Value potatoes, 2.5 kilogram size. I checked the "reduced to clear" section, but there was nothing there which I liked. Caribbean hot sauce was on sale, eight Pence off. I noticed that American style, yellow, hot dog mustard was on sale, too, thirty Pence off, so I grabbed a bottle. I can always use mustard. I thought I would get some frozen sweetcorn, but they were out of the regular and I am not going to pay the higher price of organic. I decided to pick up another couple of boxes of Orville Redenbacher microwave popcorn, but this store didn't stock it.
I walked to the end of the aisle, by the checkout counters. I looked for the Filipino woman who had rung up my shopping the last time I was here, but I didn't see her. I stood still a few moments, thinking. Suddenly, a woman in a Tesco uniform, wearing a headset, came up to me and spoke. "If you use one of the two tills on the end, that should be quicker," she said, indicating the opposite end of the store. She had a uniform jacket on, so she must be a supervisor or manager, or something.
When I am out on my own, I don't like to be disturbed, unless absolutely necessary. My New York, automatic, sarcastic defense system kicked in. "I don't like the people at those tills," I said.
"You don't like the people at those tills?" Was she deaf? That's what I said, innit? This felt like a useless conversation. Why can't people just leave me alone? I reconfirmed for her. "Then you can use the customer service counter," she replied. The customer service is also at the opposite end of the store. Why is this pushy woman trying to get me to walk down to the opposite end of the store?
When I was younger, I would have said something like, " why don't you take your headset and go land some planes?" Instead, I said, "can't I use this one," pointing to the till closest to me. This was the till the Filipino was operating last time, but this time, she wasn't there.
"It's up to you. I am just trying to make sure people get checked out as quickly as possible," she said. What? The store is half empty. She needs to find something productive to do, like getting the store to stock a full range of products. Thankfully, she walked off. I felt uneasy, after having my privacy disturbed. My evil ex-wife, the Black Queen, never could understand that I don't like being disturbed by strange people. And yet, she didn't like cities. She seemed to lack empathy. I realized that I hadn't even finished shopping yet. I walked to the sweets aisle and picked up a package of Tesco Nutty nougat caramel bars. They are sort of like Snickers, but almost half the price.
I decided I was finished shopping and started walking toward the end of the store that the pushy woman had been trying to send me. This resulted in me passing every cashier. I looked each one over and checked how long each queue was. When I reached the second to last cashier, I discovered it was the Filipino. She had her hair down, this time, and didn't have her glasses on. Previously, she had her hair tied back. Oh, she has such lovely long, dark hair. I joined her queue. There was one woman ahead of me, with a kid. This woman looked up at me with a frightened look. What's she scared of? I am not interested in her, I am here for the checkout girl. This woman did have a lot of stuff on the belt, but I was happy to wait. Her child was standing up in the shopping trolley and gleefully making noise. It was hard to tell if it was a boy or a girl, but I suspect it is a boy. The little lad seemed happier than his mum. I noticed that, periodically, the cashier would slap her hand down on the belt, three times in rapid succession. I started imitating her. Every time she would hit the belt, slap, slap, slap, I would immediately follow suit, slap, slap, slap. I hoped she would notice, but she gave no indication that she did.
Eventually it was my turn. I checked her uniform for a name tag, but as last time, she didn't have one. Maybe she doesn't have a name. Suddenly, a song came to my mind. (read the following with the tune of "Horse With No Name," by America, in mind) "I've been through the checkout with a girl with no name, it felt good to be out of the rain. At the checkout, you can remember your name, for there ain't no one for to give you no pain." I smiled at her and said, "you don't have your glasses on, today."
"I don't like to wear them," she said, smiling, but coyishly not making eye contact. That's what she said, last time. I happen to find glasses attractive on women. I scanned her fingers, as she rung up my shopping. She had several rings on a variety of fingers. On the left hand, she had a small ring that might have been an engagement ring, although it was very small. As I had so few items, all to quickly she had finished. I tried to think of a way to prolong the encounter. Cashback! I asked her for cashback, as I was paying with a card. I almost never do this, but it was payday and I could use a little more cash in my pocket. She asked me how much I wanted. Oh, there's a question.
"Ten quid?" I asked gingerly. "Does that sound like a good amount?" She gave me a shrug and I stated that, indeed, I wanted £10. By now, there were a couple of people in the queue, behind me. I didn't feel comfortable holding up the line any further. I entered my pin as requested. She expertly handed me my receipt and a ten Pound note. "Ooooh, money back," I exclaimed. I said goodbye and walked to the exit. She really looked rather pretty, today. Ironically, she was at one of the two tills that the pushy woman had been trying to get me to use, but I found her on my own.


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