Saturday, 15 November 2014

Supermarket Sweep


Due to recovering from an operation earlier this week, I’m still on a driving ban.  Consequently as the week progressed, the larder reduced.
          ‘What’s for dinner?’ asked Eleanor on Friday.
          ‘Jacket potato and baked beans,’ I replied.
          ‘I don’t like that.  What else have we got?’
          ‘Jacket potato and cheese.’
          ‘Are you trying to be funny?’ my daughter frowned.  ‘I’m absolutely starving.  I need feeding decent food.  And lots of it.’
          ‘Jacket potato, beans and cheese?’
          ‘No!’ Eleanor glowered.  ‘What about a nice roast?’
          ‘Due to nobody else doing any shopping, there is nothing else to eat.’
          ‘What’s this?’ asked Eleanor eyeballing a container of minced lamb and steamed vegetables.
          ‘That’s the dog’s dinner.’
          ‘It’s quite something when the dog eats better than me!’
          ‘Okay, I’m sure she won’t mind sharing it with you.’  I reached for a clean dog bowl.  ‘How much do you want?’
          ‘You are trying to be funny!’ Eleanor’s eyes narrowed.
          ‘Look,’ I snapped, ‘I haven’t been able to go shopping.’
          ‘But I’m hungry!’ Eleanor wailed.
          ‘Oh for heaven’s sake.  Order a take-out pizza while I do the shopping on-line.’
          I probably should have done the shopping on-line earlier.  But the thought of sitting down and doing a virtual shop had the same lack of appeal as actually going into the supermarket itself.  Sighing, I settled down in front of the computer.  Forty-five minutes later, I clicked the check-out button.  Up came an instruction:  Choose your slot.  So I chose an evening delivery for the same day.  Perfect!  I fed in my card details and congratulated myself on whizzing down the virtual aisles in a reasonable time.  Up came another automated instruction.  We will send you a confirmatory email.  You know, I nearly didn’t bother to check the confirmatory email.  But a little voice in my head suggested it might be wise.  There, in my inbox, was the supermarket’s reminder about my shopping delivery.  Except…except…what was this?  Thank you for shopping with us.  You can collect your shopping from the back of our store any time after 6 pm.  What?
          There then followed a hunt for Customer Services’ telephone number.  You know, considering we’re talking about such a vast chain of supermarkets, you’d have thought a contact number would have been HIGHLY VISIBLE on their website.  Unfortunately it wasn’t. In fact, I had to have a chat with their virtual on-line customer service lady who beamed away at me while I typed in: I have a delivery problem.  What is your phone number?
          Naturally this phone number was in India.  Which I’m pretty sure is absolutely nowhere near this particular Swanley supermarket.
          ‘Hello?’
          ‘Hello!  What is your name, please?’
          ‘Debbie.’
          ‘Thank you.  Can I call you Debbie?’
          ‘Well, it’s my name, so I think that would be okay.’
          ‘Excellent!  Thank you for that, Debbie.’
          ‘I’m calling about a problem with my shopping delivery.’
          ‘I’m very sorry to hear that, Debbie.’
          ‘I requested a delivery slot this evening but the confirmatory email told me to collect my shopping from the store.’
          ‘I’m very sorry to hear that, Debbie.’
          ‘Yes, you’ve already said that.  Can we rectify this please?’
          ‘Of course.  There are no further evening slots available.  What about tomorrow morning?’
          ‘Okay. Is ten all right?’
          ‘Indeed, Debbie.  I’ll send you a confirmatory email.’
          Which came through very promptly advising my shopping was now available to collect from the store.
          Can you believe that I then phoned Customer Services in India four more times?  Finally, I received the email I’d been waiting for.  Your shopping will be delivered between nine and ten tomorrow morning.  Hurrah!  But that cry of victory came too soon.  Five minutes later the telephone rang.
          ‘Hello, is that Debbie Vij…Viji…in…ee…oo…ahem?’
          I always have a sense of wickedness when people trip over my surname.  ‘Indeed it is, and may I just say that was perfect pronunciation.’
          ‘Oh, thank you!  It’s the Swanley store here, Mrs VijVijiineeooahem, and I’m just calling to say your shopping is ready for collection from our store.’
          So there you are.  It’s official.  Shopping on-line drives you nuts.  Which reminds
me.  In the supermarket a young mother was pushing a trolley which contained a screaming little girl. As they passed the confectionary aisle, the little girl demanded sweets. When the mother said no, the toddler redoubled her tantrum. The woman kept repeating softly, ‘Don’t get excited, Jessie.  Don’t scream, Jessie.  Don’t be upset, Jessie.  Don’t yell, Jessie.  Keep calm, Jessie.’ A woman standing nearby said, ‘I can’t help noticing how patient you are with little Jessie.’  The mother replied, ‘I am Jessie.’

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