Candice – I know her by her name badge – was having trouble with an article she had placed on the scales. She pressed lots of buttons but didn’t seem to be getting a satisfactory answer from the till. Her customer, a tall, severe looking, scandinavian looking woman looked up for help. The next person in the queue was oriental and/so she looked at me, third in line, a native with mud on his boots. ‘It’s a turnip’, I said. The scandinavian woman smiled and said thankyou and Candice looked grateful too. The oriental woman said, ‘would you like to go in front of me?’ since she had quite a lot of stuff and I had only a small carton of double cream and a pint of milk, to go with the soup that Sheila was cooking, which also involved a turnip, though a much more expensive one than Morrison’s, since it came from the farmers’ market. Candice said hello and smiled. She had beautiful dark eyes, but a little too much eye liner, going up at an odd angle like a comma or as they say nowadays an adidas tick, like that singer with a beautiful soulful voice who died tragically a few months ago and whose name I’ve forgotten for the moment.
Every day I try to be helpful and friendly, though I don’t always succeed. I think ‘it’s a turnip’ could one day be up there with ‘mummy, the King’s dead’ and ‘please sir, I’m a new boy’.
Thinking about it the scandinavian woman didn’t look any more severe than anybody else in Morrison’s this monday evening. I don’t even know that she was scandinavian. But she did look both pleased to be helped out and irritated that she had forgotten an english word which is evidently not as common as you might think. Good job it wasn’t a swede.