You are packing the scanned articles into your shopping bag when the same check out girl passes the bag of white, fluffy, sweet smelling marshmallows to her colleague on the next checkout so she can smell them too. No! don’t do that! These actions are an invasion of my olfactory ownership!
You have chosen a beautiful bunch of fresh, crisp, green asparagus and on getting to the checkout find they are not priced. You stand waiting while the checkout girl rings for a price. While she waits for an answer she absent mindedly fondles the lovely pointed firm tips of my asparagus, stroking and caressing them, feeling the ridges of the buds under her fingers. No! don’t do that! I am planning a superb entrée with these asparagus tips, they will be delicately poached until just tender, then served dripping with butter on a pristine white plate. How can I serve them with confidence when I know your hands have been all over them?
You get to the checkout with a selection of fast food; microwave goodies you are going to serve on those nights when you just have to eat and run. The check out girl picks up a packet of microwave spare ribs.
“do you like these, then?” she holds them dubiously, as if the pack were a dead sea creature served by south pacific islanders as a prelude to a cannibal feast. I don’t have to justify my food choices to you! Your job is to scan these items, take money and give change. Not judge what I and my family eat!
You are walking past the frozen food section when you meet someone you have not seen for months, a brief “hello, how are you?” develops into a blow by blow account of her divorce from her alcoholic husband; the recent death of her boss at the workplace; and the subsequent stressful restructuring of the company. Forty five minutes later and I’m wondering how it is I don’t have the technique to guide this overburdened woman to a secluded coffee corner, rather than blocking other customers’ access to the frozen peas.
For the next few weeks every time you visit the supermarket you see a certain persons ex husband in the wine and beers section, and take a detour each time to avoid him!
The person behind you at the queue for the check out says “hallo.” You turn and recognise one of your daughter’s old school teachers. You say “hi, how are you, I have not seen you for ages!” and she launches into a detailed description of her burnout and retirement from teaching, which continues as you both leave the check out area, standing another thirty minutes are she goes though the positive aspects of her burn out. My technique is getting better, we did manage to have some of our conversation in the relative seclusion of the supermarket car park.