Sunday, December 26, 2010


dear readers, i hope you all enjoyed a happy and peaceful christmas. the peeps had a very low-key but fun time. my boy was born a couple of weeks before christmas, not being able to wait until his due date in january, and so tends to have one big present for both. this year's present was a graphics card for his computer. this is to make the pictures on the screen more realistic, so much so that the virtual world is fast becoming indistinguishable from the real one.

because my boy had already been given his graphics card, herself decided to buy him a new dressing gown and slippers so he would have something to unwrap on christmas day. herself does not do well in crowded shops, so she planned to go along to the nearby 24 hour tesco at an hour when other folks would have something better to do. this plan, like many, did not go quite how herself would have liked.

herself's friend mrs toby spends her time between denmark, where her beloved man lives, and england, where her beloved horse lives. at some point mrs toby plans to locate both beloveds in the same country but for the time being lives a rather peripatetic life. a couple of days before christmas mrs toby was due to visit. at about teatime herself received a text message from mrs toby, who is a little averse to telephone conversations. the text said that mrs toby was stuck in tesco doing her last minute christmas shopping and would be along as soon as she could.

herself decided that there was no time like the present for buying a present and texted back to say she would meet mrs toby by the tills in tesco, and would therefore be able to give her a lift back to our place. mrs toby was easy to find as she was wearing a very big high-viz jacket. herself helped mrs toby to choose which queue to join (a fellow high-viz jacket wearer was in one of the queues and herself suggested to mrs toby that she would be less conspicuous next to someone in similar attire) and then went off to collect the dressing-gown and slippers.

on returning to the tills herself was overwhelmed by the length of the queues, which had increased yet further. the only tills that had no queue were the self-service ones. these are tills where you scan your own stuff rather than a person doing it for you. they have various crafty gadgets to stop you forgetting to pay for anything. herself and my boy have tried them before but they made them feel guilty, even though they were not stealing anything. however, in the interests of escaping tesco as quickly as possible herself approached the machine.

the slippers were scanned and a bleep went off to let herself know that she could put them in the bag. herself had brought an ecologically sound cotton shopping bag with her but the machine seemed to want the shopping to go into its own plastic bag and kept showing a message to that effect. when herself tried to substitute her cotton bag for the plastic one the machine told her that the slippers were the wrong weight. herself gave in on the bag issue and turned her attention to the dressing-gown. again the machine bleeped to let her know all was well and instructed her to place it in the plastic bag. it then told her to checkout and asked her if she had brought her own bag. herself by now was feeling decidedly misunderstood by the machine but thought better of engaging in a debate with it. she went and stood by the window to wait for mrs toby to finish paying. on the way out the alarm went off but as it seemed to be going off all the time herself and mrs toby took no notice.

i will now fast forward to christmas morning. my boy unwrapped his present and was thrilled to bits with it. the slippers fitted perfectly and the dressing-gown was as soft as could be. he tightened the belt.

"mum," he asked, "did you nick this?" he pointed to the anti-theft tag that was still in the neck.

"of course not," said herself, "they must have missed taking the tag out!" in her youth she was something of a dab hand at shoplifting, aided at times by a voluminous cloak which had belonged to her mother. she had to abandon this potentially lucrative career when she decided to train to enter the legal profession, but she has teased my boy with the promise that as soon as she retires she will resume a life of crime, so his assumption was not quite as odd as may at first appear. i should say that my boy is horrified at the idea of having to fetch his mother from the police station and has threatened to disown her if she so much as dreams of failing to pay for her shopping.

it was agreed that as soon as the shops opened they would take the dressing-gown back and have the tag removed. himself stressed the need to take the receipt along too, in order to avoid arrest.

it was not until her maamship and the prof came over for a cuppa that the reason for the tag still being there became apparent. it was when herself was describing her antics with the self-service machine that the penny dropped. the machine had been so busy worrying about the bags that it had forgotten to take out the tag...


Anonymous said...

One of Katie's gifts, a pair of sweatpants, also did not have the tag removed which now means I must fight crowds in the mall to have the frigging thing removed when it should have be removed in the first place!

Oh yeah, and Merry Christmas:)

Let Go, Let God said...

Arguing with machines never worked out for me either. Nice looking boy with the "nicked" night shirt. Happy Holidays.

Jos said...

Well ... I started giggling the minute i saw the photo of "your boy" Joker. Then I giggled all the way through as the story unfolded. Really you are a consumate storyteller and all round good egg. I should be very interested to pick up some tips from herself as I have been thinking of late that taking to a life of crime might well ease the financials somewhat. A large coat ... now there's an idea ...

Mrs Toby's comings and going sound exhausting almost on a par as herselfs!

Warmest hugs from here. xx Jos

WOL said...

Over here in Yankland, items "likely to be nicked" (DVD's, CD's, small electronic items, etc.) have a magnetic tag hidden in the packaging that must be "neutralized" by running the item over a special demagnetizing area on the checkout counter that makes a funny "sproing" noise when it accomplishes its task. Of course, sometimes it sproings to say it has when it actually hasn't and you get to the door and the alarm goes off. So then the door minder comes over and checks your receipt to make sure you've paid for it.

Glad you had a happy Christmas. We did here too. The kitties are ever so glad I've stopped hoovering and dusting with that LEMON scented dusting spray. I had mom and dad, and a long-time friend over for Xmas dinner -- my first time cooking/hosting. You would have liked the turkey -- succulent!

emily wierenga said...

wow i love how you write, friend. i'm so glad you commented on my blog so i could find you here. thank you for your encouragement re: my latest post... i hope you might join me next week for imperfect prose on thursdays. peace to you. e.

Dd said...

Herself obviously has impeccable taste, as my boy had the same dressing gown for Christmas/birthday. Also due at the end of January but arrived on Christmas Day. Despite using a normal till, we got stopped by security as the tag had not been removed.

Tip for use of Tesco self-service till - place your bag at the start of transaction and a small line will appear low on the screen asking if you are using your own bag.

Happy 2011 to you all.