Thursday, 10 November 2016

Mysteries Solved and Unsolved.

Both the supermarkets I use have a machine near the checkouts which invites customers to use it to exchange their small coins, and they’ve always intrigued me. Exchange them for what? I’ve never known, so this week I asked the checkout operator in Sainsbury’s. This is a more or less verbatim record of the conversation:

‘Tell me how that machines works.’

‘You throw your coins into the chute and the machine sorts them, adds them up, and gives you a voucher in return.’

‘A voucher for what?’

‘A voucher to spend anywhere in the store.’

‘Does it charge a fee?’

‘Yes, a percentage of the amount you put in.’

‘So let me get this straight. You pay a machine to take money off you and spend what you’ve got left in Sainsbury’s because you can’t spend it anywhere else?’

‘I suppose so, but people put their small coins in jars and things, then bring them in here to change.’

‘Why don’t they just keep their small coins in their pockets or purses and spend them as they go along? That way they wouldn’t have to pay a machine to take money off them.’

‘Erm… I don’t know, but lots of people do it!

So the message is: if lots of people do something, it must make sense. Got it now.

*  *  *

And I was in the lingerie section of a shop today with Mel when I spotted packs of something that looked like half a bra. The label said ‘strapless, backless bra.’ It seemed the packs contained not half a bra, but two halves of a bra nestled together.

This is something else that’s always intrigued me. You sometimes see women wearing off-the-shoulder gowns, and yet they appear to exhibit perfect uplift (if that’s the right term) without so much as a hint of a strap in sight. I went over and read the small print. Adhesive bra, it said (in small print.) Adhesive? You mean it sticks to something? I went back to Mel.

‘Those bra things over there use the word ‘adhesive.’ To what, precisely, do they adhere?’

She didn't know, so I went to Plan B.

‘Do you think it would be improper of me to go and ask that young woman shop assistant over there?’


So I didn’t, and I’m still none the wiser.

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