Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I think it’s time the Chipster addressed more of the big questions that trouble us all. Such as why Woolworths employ the dimmest people that have ever struck that spark called consciousness.

I must have nipped into various local branches of Woolies, as we call it, over the last few months and my experience has been singularly miserable. It usually involves some item, the boxes of which usually litter the shelves in great abundance, but which doesn’t actually exist ‘behind the desk’. I normally discover this after fifteen minutes queuing behind somebody who has decided to pre-order every DVD box set to be produced between now and doomsday.

Take yesterday. I’m waiting in line and the woman ahead of me is ordering three series of some DVD for which she can’t remember the title or who was in it. ‘It involves a fairground and a detective who gets into adventures,’ she tells the assistant for the umpteenth time. That’s the same lone assistant who is manning the tills. The assistant, the poor thing, can’t serve because she’s trying to provide a service akin to the Internet Movie Database. To her credit, she notices that a queue has developed so she gets out her military style walkie-talkie and demands an immediate airdrop of counter staff. Five minutes later, a guy arrives and goes straight to the other counter. I walk up to him, feeling like my ordeal is over, but no sooner am I there than the assistant from the other till comes up to ask if he remembers the name of the DVD series they’d spent ten minutes trying to remember. ‘It involves a fairground and a detective who gets into adventures,’ she tells him. Instead of serving me, he tootles off to research TV series involving fairgrounds.

Woolworths provides a test of the human will that it’s rare to find in these modern days.

I consider myself a generally pleasant man. I’m always cracking jokes to make people feel at ease. And usually I think it works. But not once I've stepped over the Woolworth’s seal. I wanted to buy something to drink, so I go to the drinks section where I’m greeted a series of ‘deals’ that would have had Pythagoras stumped. ‘Buy 3 bottles, pay for 2 with a 10% discount on any fourth bottle you buy with a Wombles keyring which you can get at half price’. I finally settle on my seventeen bottles and three keyrings, which I’d worked out was the most economical buy, take them to the counter where I remarked to the woman that ‘it’s harder than a maths exam buying a drink here.’


‘I said it’s harder than a maths exam buying a drink here.’


Then there are the store detectives who, for some unknown reason, decide to follow me around. I might look shifty, mainly, I suppose, because I carry a bag on my back and don’t look particularly rich. But it’s the way they go about it. No casually watching me out of the corner of the eye, but the direct look meant as a warning. I find it very intimidating, especially as I’m jamming orange creams from the pick-and-mix down my trousers.

I’ll draw this minor rant to a close without recounting the times I’ve got home and the wrong disc has been put in the wrong DVD box, or I’ve been sold something quite different than the item I handed over the counter. Woolworths is my nemesis. If I ever go missing, I demand that it’s the first place people look for my corpse.


Blognor Regis said...

When the 'cue' formed I expected you to say she was going to start playing billiards. ;-)

Big Chip Dale said...

I guess what God gave me in the thong, he took away from my wits.

Many thanks for spotting my error.
I'm sending you the pedant's thong in the post. ;o)

It's amazing I don't make more mistakes. As with everything I write, I wrote this so quickly and then (much to my surprise) spotted the mistake, fixed it, but missed the other instance. I write so many words each day, I barely spend time checking them. And then I make a mistake and then I'm the fool of the day.

I'm going to add a button to my sidebar asking people to ignore my spelling mistakes.

02 October 2007 12:39

Lord Higham-Johnson said...

Intellect is indirectly proportional to the number of check out girls applying mascara.

Ian Appleby said...

"...I’m jamming orange creams from the pick-and-mix down my trousers."

Sounds a risky procedure for a man in your line, I would have thought. What about the potential for stains? And, frankly, I'm surprised you've room...

Big Chip Dale said...

Your Lordship, I couldn't agree more. And why do they insist on calling me 'love'? I'm not their love and wouldn't be their love if they paid me in orange creams.

Ian, I'm sure you'd agree that the risk of stains is more than worth it for organge creams. As for there being room: I never said the front of my pants. I stuffed them down the back where my amply dimpled cheeks leave plent of room.

Mopsa said...

TMI Chip, far too much info! I no longer live near a Woolies - they were the bane of my childhood. "Don't touch the pick n mix, leave those toys alone, you don't need the single of the current no.1 - you can hear it on the radio" etc etc"

Momentary Academic said...

We don't have these in America anymore. At least not anywhere near me!

elberry said...

That's funny, the last couple of times i remember being 'tail-gated' by a store detective was in Woolworth's. i'm not sure if they're trying to keep an eye on you & are clumsy, or are trying to intimidate you.

Never try to make jokes with the rabble, the only humour they understand is "nice weather, innit?" when it's raining.

They do not understand The Thong.

Anonymous said...

woolworths is great