I had a good plan last Sunday. I needed to go to Tesco and get the things for the cricket tea and, using my valuable 5p off voucher, get some petrol at the same time.
Tesco actually open at 10:00 on Sunday to abide by the trading laws, but they allow you to enter the store at 09:30 to fill your trolley. The check-outs don't function till 10.
So, off I went.
I got to Tesco about 10 to 10. I thought I'd get the petrol first.
Petrol stations are un-nerving places – particularly Tesco's. First you have to choose your queue having mind which side of the car the filler cap is on. I can never really remember. Then you have to guess which queue is likely to progress soonest. It's hard to guess. The people are inevitably un-helpful. That's the customers I'm talking about; I'll get to the staff later.
I suggest you get down to your local Tesco petrol station and make a short documentary film. You could call it “Anti-Social Dimwits”. Quite catchy I think. People are in front of you in the queue. I accept that. But, often the car in front is populated by idiots. Watch them and see if I'm exaggerating. They dawdle, oblivious to anyone else. They fill the tank. They saunter off towards the shop. They see their mate and stop for a chat. They pick up a bottle of coke and a Mars bar. They finally get in the queue. They reach the front. They seem genuinely amazed that they have to pay for the petrol. They fumble for their wallet/purse. They can't find their Tesco Club Card. The decide they need a bag of crisps as well and go back and get one.
And what are the people in the queue doing? Nothing. Sorry, not nothing – they are wondering where Dippy is!
Eventually they appear and, after a momentary pause whilst they wipe the drool from their lip, they start towards their car. Sometimes they go to the wrong car and gormlessly grin, excuse themselves and make their way to the clapped out Mini they came in.
Then the real fun begins. They stow their provisions on the front seat. They adjust their mirrors. They roll up (or down) the window. They exchange words with any passengers. You see the rear stop light come on as they switch on the ignition with their foot firmly on the brake pedal – as if they are afraid the beast will leap off all on its own. Finally, they start the car. You'd expect it to move; often it doesn't. They switch off and go back to the shop. They have forgotten to buy breath mints. Finally they leave.
Sometimes the car at the front pump has already left and, if you can, you manoeuvre past the troglodytes to the other pump. These are satisfyingly rare moments. I almost managed this on Sunday – except Dippy had parked too far from the pump and just as I was about to set off for the front pump Dopey pulls up to the pump on he left in his van. Not enough room.
I put in petrol. I pay for it. I leave. It really is quite simple.
It's now about 10:10. Tesco's car park is full. Can someone tell me what these Drongos are doing in Tesco's on Sunday morning at 10? Are they insane? I'm just trying to get some stuff for the cricket tea!
I find a spot half a mile from the store. I manage to get a trolley. I make it to the front of the store. Neander-Chav has beaten me by three paces.
There he is. The sun is shining for the first time this spring. It's actually pleasantly warm. Neander-Chav has taken it upon himself to declare UDD – Unilateral Dumbo Day. He got his tank top on so the tasteless tattoos on his arms and shoulders are impossible to ignore. He's got his best Bermuda shorts on – you know – the ones he always wears on holiday at Clacton. Mrs Neander Chav and the little 'uns are with him.
You have to see Mrs Neander Chav to believe her. Her make-up is an inch thick. Her blue eye shadow tastefully matches her skimpy blue dress, which rides up when she reaches for the bag of Mars Bars so you can see the thong strap between her bum cheeks. You feel the need to throw up! (Recent scientific discoveries seem to support the idea that early man did, indeed, mate with Neanderthals and some Neanderthal genes are still in the human gene pool – it is certainly possible that one might jump on Mrs Neander Chav, but some sort of pre-historic drugs would be necessary first!)
Whilst the kids run about the shop causing mayhem, Neander and Mrs Chav split up so they can shop in a dually obnoxious manner.
I rush about Tesco and fill my trolley with the essentials for cricket tea.
I make it to the check-out.
A fairly normal-looking chap is in front of me buying vast quantities of drink – among other things. The check-out assistant reaches the last item, which is some sort of Gillette razor in one of those packs that have a security tag attached. Razor blades? Crown Jewels? No, razor blades?
He's got a coupon for a few pence off the razor blades. He give it to the assistant. She informs him that it's the wrong blades for the coupon. If he wants to save a few pence he needs to get another kind of Gillette blade. Absolute magic!
So, he says to the check-out pillock that he will pay for his groceries, go to the customer services and get the correct Gillette item and use his coupon there.
Unbelievably she says, “Oh no, just go back and get the right one and bring it here.”
Right. We're in check-out aisle 27 and the razor blades are on aisle 2. The store has filled up to bursting point with more Neander Chavs and their drooling kids. Super Numptie heads off. We, in the queue, amazed, just stand there staring at the check-out operator.
More than a few minutes go by.
We stand and wait.
He returns with correct Gillette packet, pays, mumbles some kind of “sorry” and leaves.
Check-out operator gives us a cheerful, “Sorry you had to wait” and starts on my bit of the conveyor.
I pay. I head for the car. I get out of Tesco car park as fast as practicable.
I'm having a bad day – a really bad day. We lose the cricket match.
I'm not surprised.