It’s the moment that every supermarket shopper dreads – getting to the checkout, packing all the scanned groceries into the bags, reaching for the debit card to pay and – oh my god, where is that debit card?
And so I manage to bring the queue to a grinding halt in Morrison’s tonight. I quickly realise that no matter how many times I trawl through my purse full of plastic, my Smile debit card is not going to materialise.
I change tack and try to negotiate. How about if I phone my husband and he tells them his credit card number over the phone? The supervisor, who by now has been summoned by the cashier, purses her lips and shakes her head. For a moment I ponder how many points I’ve earned yet on my Morrisons Fuel Card, then remember that last time I filled my car up the cashier said that they’ll tell me when I’ve reached a fiver’s worth. And the grocery bill is £85.
Pathetically, I tip my purse upside down and scrabble together £59 in cash. I consider the contents of my trolley and realise that I’m in with a chance here. If I whittle the contents down, I may be able to pay the bill after all.
First to be sacrificed will have to be the highest value items – the alcohol that I have just carefully assembled to match my Spanish themed dinner party tomorrow night – 3 bottles of Cerveza, half a dozen of assorted Catalonian wine. This is annoying on two counts – firstly, because I have just spent ages in the wine aisle reading all the labels and choosing the bottles that are most reminiscent of my recent jaunt to Barcelona, and secondly, because this is the first time since before Christmas that I have done a serious amount of wine-buying – we are practically teetotal in our house these days, and I was really looking forward to a glass of wine this evening.
Amazingly, after the cashier has reverse-scanned these eight bottles, the bill comes to exactly £59. Reluctantly I trundle off with my much reduced trolley, admitting defeat.
I think someone up there somewhere is trying to tell me something.