I’m a fool, I know I am.  I shop in Tesco even though there’s always about a 40% chance I am going to leave the store feeling annoyed.

Forget Friday’s lunchtime trip.  It was just a simple €12 overcharge, my annoyance (ok, rage) exacerbated by the fact it took them over 10 minutes just to agree I’d been overcharged and required a return trip straight after lunch to continue fighting my corner.  This is clearly the way to go with Tesco.  Make some noise.  Create some entertainment for the people patiently waiting in line at the customer dis-service counter.  In the end I had the rare pleasure of being taken seriously and compensated.

Never one to be afraid to apologise, I went back in on Saturday and found the first guy I’d raged at.  I said to him “Do you remember me?”  He looked like a rabbit trapped in headlights, wanting an escape route but too frightened to lose eye contact with me in case I pulled out a lethal baguette and wacked him about the head.  Instead I just wanted  to say sorry.  I didn’t have a lot to be sorry about but the fact is, he took the rap for the entire Tesco organisation’s incompetence.

This morning I popped in early.  At 9am my local Tesco was nearly empty.  When I emptied my basket at the checkout I suddenly realised I was minus a very important appendage.  My handbag.  Usually it dangles on my shoulder.  Where had it gone?

If you’re a pre-menopausal woman look away now.  The rest of you, you understand the problem don’t you?  It’s like you woke up one day and overnight the world had become a rather foreign place.  You forget stuff, but you’re sure you didn’t really.  Surely it was the QWERTY keyboard that changed, not your ability to type.  Surely you didn’t put the kitchen cleaner in the fridge?  And if you did, where the heck had you put the milk?  At least it solved the mystery of the strange under-sink stink.

So I knew I looked panicky as I checked all around, expecting to find my handbag on the ground or in the basket, but it didn’t manifest.  The cashier was distinctly distant.  I told her I must have left my bag in the car and please hold on while I run and check.  There were no queues of people waiting.  The only other customer in sight mooched over to the next cashier and unloaded his basket.

Lo and behold, joy and rapture unforeseen, ding dong merrily on high – there is my handbag nestling in the footwell of the passenger seat.  I grabbed it and ran back inside.  Still the store is empty with no customers backed up behind my shopping.

“Phew, I found it” I said with a sigh of relief to the cashier.  No reaction.  No eye contact.

“Sorry about that, I couldn’t work out where I’d put it” I tried.  She continued to gaze into space.

“Anyway, thank goodness it was in the car all the time…”  The cashier continued to ignore me.

I leant forward and peered at her.

“DO – YOU – SPEAK -ENGLISH?” I enunciated.

She looked slightly startled and admitted she did.

Having broken the verbal ice she then prodded the contents of my plastic bag and asked “Is this a rustic roll?”

I didn’t know and asked her what the choices were.  She admitted there wasn’t anything else on her sheet remotely resembling a bread product.  Still, she tried ringing my bread roll up as a water melon before giving up and admitting it probably was a rustic roll after all.

You might be thinking – Is that really something to feel so annoyed about?

For me, yes it is.  It would have cost that woman – four letters beginning with J – nothing to empathise, reassure, show a bit of bloody interest in me.  I pay her wages, week in, week out.

What is it about Tesco?  Why do they employ people like this?  How do they train them?

The rustic roll was delicious though.

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