Hubby had man flu.
"On your way home, could you pick up a few bits from the supermarket?" he asked.
It was late. I had been working all day and hadn't had time to get home in between, before going to my "every so often acting thingammy bob" in Cheltenham. We're all a bit luvvy with it really... but the company's great and I get the odd bit of acting work through it.
"I won't see you all day" complained Tinkerbell Mushroom earlier. "No" I reasoned, "but you will see me every other day this week, and you have got Daddy at home all day, and I am normally home by the time you get home, and I am not working at all on Wednesdays and Fridays, or at the weekends, at the moment, and I'm home for you every school holiday......." Unpacified she gave me the look which 8 olds perfect beautifully in order to make mothers feel just that tiny bit more guilty than they already feel.
I arrived at Tesco at 10.30 p.m. Naturally, as you do, you go in for a loaf of bread and end up with a full trolley. I arrived at the checkout at 11.15 p.m. It was a self scanning till. Not being my favourite pastime, I glanced around for an alternative version of paying device. There appeared to be no manned tills at all. An assistant walked past.
"Is this the only type of till available I said?"
"'Fraid so," She said. "They have taken us all off tills after 11 O' Clock. Trouble is, one of us still has to be around because there are always problems with these."
I smiled sympathetically, and grimaced as I did the self scanning. I think that I just can't be very good at finding bar codes because I clearly take longer at self scanning than other people. When I was a student I worked in various shops, but they hadn't invented bar codes then. It must have been a long time ago.
Eventually I got to the card payment bit. I put my card in. Then I remembered that I had some money off vouchers, and a club card to scan too. I looked at the machine and realised that if I were to pay first I wouldn't get my money off, or my Tesco points. So, I did the sensible thing, cancelled the payment and removed my card. Not wanting to have to rescan every item at another till I tried to put my various cards and vouchers in again, but the machine just beeped at me and flashed a warning signal. "Card removed too early, call for supervisor help." Thankfully it didn't instantly lock me into the till for non payment of goods, which was a bit of a relief.
I smiled at the attendant. "It won't let me finish my transaction I said, explaining what had happened and looking weakly." She put in her card and pressed the "override for stupid customers button." I'll be out of here soon I thought. Wrong....
Unfortunately, it was by now 11.20 p.m. and it appears the time when Tesco decides to add up its daily millions of pounds turnover. Well I suppose it might be many millions less one in the current climate, but it is undoubtedly still into the millions I am sure.
The till was having none of it. I was certainly not going to be allowed out of the store just yet. Supervisor called for fellow supervisor. More magic codes were put in. Still no joy.
"It's doing its banking" she explained. "It" being the till.
"I just want to go home." I said. "I'm tired. I've been up since 6 a.m." It was a slight exaggeration, as our alarm doesn't actually go off until 6.30... but it had been a long day nevertheless.
"Look" I said. "Can I leave you my card details, and you can take the payment tomorrow once the machines are all working again?" "No sorry." Clearly it said somewhere on the invisible card details that our cards can be on the um... shall we say...unreliable side...
It was 11.40 p.m........
11.45 p.m. She managed finally to free my shopping from the till and go to the customer service desk. But no.... that till was having none of it either.
I just wanted to pay.
Finally at 11.45 p.m. I had a brainwave. "I'll get some cash from the cashpoint outside, and I'll give you cash!"
Ran outside. Got some cash out of the cashpoint and ran back in. I hadn't got the exact change, so, I got out the amount to the nearest £5, rounding up the payment by £1.50. "Please keep the £1.50" I said. "Here's my money. You sort it out. I'm going home." And with that I flounced (as much as a forty six year old with big trolley can flounce) out of the store.
As I was loading up my car, the assistant came running out after me with my £1.50. "Did you sort it out" I asked, surprised. "No, she said, but we at least managed to get the till open, so here's your £1.50." I gratefully accepted the changed and went home arriving home at 12.15 a.m.
Hubby grovelled. "I'm really sorry Sal. I could have nipped out to the shops. I'm not that ill....."
We share guilt lovingly in our family.
Meanwhile, if the tills are still not working at Tesco Gloucester...... then I suggest that Tesco put on some more staff for their late night shifts. We didn't ask you to open your stores 24 hours a day. We simply took advantage of the facilities provided once there...
6 months ago