28 March 2009

The unbearable lightness of banana

This is another supermarket story.

No, it doesn't involve fruit loaf. Nor pirates. Nor vodka, geraniums or language. There have been supermarket stories with fruit loaves and pirates, but this isn't one of them. This is a banana story ... though there are, curiously, no bananas either.

I mooched around the store, today, doing a periodic shop. With a full trolley, I orbited in to land in the checkout queue.

I would usually go for one of the self-scan checkouts, but the queue at this staffed checkout was shorter so I sideslipped into it.

The young woman on the till slid a tub of houmous across the scanner, which beeped and clocked up the price. Glancing up, I saw "houmous" appear on the display – followed by "bananas, 7.138kg".

"Excuse me", I said, pointing at the display, "I haven't bought any bananas".

She apologised, and cancelled the 7.138kg of bananas.

Seven kilos is an awful lot of bananas at one go, even if I was buying them.

She slid the next item across the scanner. It clocked up ... followed by 7.138kg of bananas.

After the third item, she decided not to cancel the bananas every time, individually, but to do the lot at the end in one go.

There were another sixty two items in my trolley, accompanied by almost 443 kg of phantom bananas.

It then emerged, after several experiments, that multiple items could not be cancelled en masse. The till operator started cancelling the banana purchases, seven kilos at a time.

After the first thirty five kilos, however, the till asserted itself and refused to cancel any more bananas without supervisor approval. So a button was pushed, a bell rang, a sign was illuminated, and we waited – as did the queue behind me.

After a decent interval, the supervisor arrived. He had never seen so many items in need of cancellation before, so he disappeared again to consult his shift manager. The shift manager, when he arrived, decided in turn that he needed to consult the store manager

The store manager arrived and searched though my shopping with great thoroughness, as if she suspected that I might actually have nearly half a tonne of bananas artfully concealed amongst my mango juice and poppy seed crackers. Eventually, very reluctantly, she entered a code to allow their cancellation.

I left the store with a very long till receipt, seven eighths of which showing bananas either entering or leaving a shadowy nonexistence.


Julie Heyward said...

Groundhog bananas.

Dr. C said...

Your mistake. You should have bought bagels.

Dr. C said...

Ned was right!

Felix Grant said...

Dr.C: I had no idea, until now, that Ned had a position on bananas! :-)

Dr. C said...

I was thinking more of the Hal model check out register.

"Golden, Ripe, Boneless Bananas, 39 Cents A Pound. - Advertisement”