Monday, 14 December 2015

A Shave Closer than Gromit's.

Self service tills in supermarkets can be irritating. They insist on giving you retrospective messages and instructions that are meant to be helpful but are actually historical absurdities. You swipe your Nectar card, and the machine says:

Have you swiped your Nectar card?

You take your change, and the machine says:

Please take your change.

You’ve just finished putting your items in your bag and are about to walk away when the machine says:

Please take your items.

I have been known to respond to such nonsense with invective that is less than polite, though usually in an undertone because there are often ladies in the near vicinity and one of the Rules of being a Romantic is that ladies must be protected from the coarser elements of masculine diatribe. It’s one of those little niceties which prove the superiority of ladies over both women and men (and I do have a ground-to-air missile system capable of atomising all known sizes of banana.)

Today’s self-service till had a seasonal sting in the tail. Just as I turned to walk off towards the safer and simpler world of the car park, I heard a mechanical baritone behind me call out:

Ho Ho Ho. Merry Christmas.

Now, having a mealy-mouthed machine intoning ‘Ho Ho Ho. Merry Christmas’ to me is a bit like telling Father Jack that he really doesn’t want a drink, so let’s throw it away and remove the temptation. It produces an immediate, irrational desire to strike out with whatever is harder than the thing being struck.

I was fortunate. The slim-and-pretty lady overseer who had just overridden the machine’s irrational desire to halt my progress had also called me ‘sweetheart.’ Such things matter, you know? They soothe the savage breast, so to speak. Amelioration is achieved and the risk of being arrested for causing criminal damage all but obliterated. The Goddess was smiling, bless her.

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