Am I the only one who argues with the lady in the machine - is that why she’s so stroppy?

PUBLISHED: 14:29 20 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:29 20 March 2017

I'd love to do all my shopping all over again, I really would. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I'd love to do all my shopping all over again, I really would. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto


This week Jo Malone is driven to distraction and trying not to succumb to sarcasm.

I’ve been trying to give up sarcasm for Lent, prompted by the exasperation of number one daughter Sunny, apparently fed up with the stream of asides, muttering, cynicism and general mockery.

But it’s been a difficult couple of weeks. The contents of the bathroom are all over the house while the bathroom is renovated. The bath is balancing on a couple of bits of wood, there’s no plaster on the walls, the ceiling is just rafters with adrenaline-addicted spiders waiting to leap out and land on me when I’m washing my hair, the floor is just sand apart from the bit that’s a big hole from outside to inside which keeps filling with water. It’s like one of those ‘outside rooms’ they feature in swanky gardening magazines but it’s indoors and not at all swanky.

So I’m struggling a bit, but quite happily chatting to the lady in the machine at the supermarket do-it-yourself till, telling her to wait a minute as she bosses me to put my bags somewhere and press start and chatting back as she refuses to recognize my waffles, and keeps repeating ‘remove unexpected item’ and ‘assistance needed’.

She’s always like this but today she is getting a bit irate as I moved a bag without her permission, several times, but it’s okay, I know how she feels. The walking-talking assistant comes along, several times, and does that thing with her card and code and the machine lady and I carry on bossing one another.

Machine lady gets really fed up when I try and buy some beer, I tell her it’s not Dry January anymore but she’s not having it, and starts flashing her light and repeating ‘assistance needed’, over and over.

Real life lady comes back, tells me I don’t need to talk to machine lady as she can’t hear me, and not only that but I’ve frozen her as I have ‘too much shopping’ and I’ll have to take it out of my bags and start all over again. She gives me a withering look that says she’d rather it wasn’t anywhere near her machines either.

“Why don’t you try and choose a checkout with a short queue?” she says.

Oh what a ground-breaking radical idea, I would have chosen the longest, slowest line, three people behind the man who wants to swap his lemons, and has forgotten the hard to find free-from whatever, and has a question about eggs and packs as if it’s slow motion Tetris,

Of course I’m completely happy to do that, I love food shopping. I love choosing it, putting it in my trolley, taking it out of my trolley, waving it at machine lady until she deigns to read the barcode, putting it into the bags, back in my trolley and so on. I just love it. And the chance to do most of that all over again, fabulous. Why don’t I put it all back on the shelves and go and start from the beginning? It’s not as if I’ve only five minutes until I need to pick Thalia up from gym at all, is it? Why worry about my six year old, waiting, when I can spend more time trying to buy my shopping?

The fastest moving queue, what a top plan, why, thank you real lady.

Real lady looks a bit shocked.

A till magically becomes free, a lovely security man packs my shopping and I’m out of the door before I know it.

But I’ve forgotten to get my car park token swiped. Joy oh joy I have to go back into the store.

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