Monday, October 22, 2007

Shopping for Groceries with An Spailpín Fánach

But supervillains want reward without labor! To make things come easy. It's wrong! Without labor there can be no payment and vice versa! The country cannot progress! Workers are the tools that shape America!While feeling peckish after another long day at the office, your Spailpín Fánach stopped off in his local convenience store on his way home. Outside, there was an indigent gentlemen who has that raspy voice that is the ne plus ultra of the true knight of the streets. He set a certain tone.

I entered the store, collected my item, and approached the register.

“One forty-eight,” said the young man behind the counter.

I said nothing, and handed over the two Euro bit. I saved my sally until I was pocketing my fifty-two cent of change, being both faultlessly polite and a big fan of that moment in every single episode of Columbo when your man would think he’d gotten away with shiving the wife and dumping the remains in the Pacific, only for Columbo to stop on his way out the door and say “you know, there’s just one thing that’s been bothering me...”

“Thank you very much,” I said to the shopkeeper on receipt of my fifty-two cent. “There’s just one thing that’s been bothering me. When you get a chance, you might update your prices on the display.”

“Eh?” says you man. God love him, he was too young to remember Columbo – he couldn’t hear the thunder of hooves building in the distance, nor see the distant clouds blackening in the Eastern sky.

“Yes,” I continued, placid as Saint Sebastian as the arrows thudded home. “You see, your display says one forty-one, but you’ve just charged me one forty-eight. I wouldn’t like the next person in here to make the same mistake I’ve just made.”

“I give you your money back,” says the shopkeeper, reaching for the precious seven cent.

“Oh?” said An Spailpín Fánach, the acrid smell of burning martyr filling the room. “Are you sure it’s alright?”

“Oh yes,” said the shopkeeper. “I have to get around to updating those prices anyway.”

I like to think he’s updating those prices now, while I’m writing this to remind us all that the Roman was pretty much on the money when he said caveat emptor. A bean counter of An Spailpín’s warm acquaintance tells me that one discovers in counting beans for a few different convenience shops around the town that the behind-the-counter banditry is of Olympic standard. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.

What was I buying? Cream-crackers, of course – when in Rome darlings, when in Rome. Sigh.

Technorati Tags: , , ,