The Delayers

Petty frustrations of everyday life

You know that feeling when you’re standing at a checkout and the person in front of you has just bought about three hundred and fifty seven items of grocery?

You’ve played this psychological game many times and you’ve won more often than you’ve lost.   You’ll play it again because most people will glance at your single can of dog-food (Satanibbles) and say,   Is that all you have? Ah go on ahead of me. You’re fine.

But every now and then, that doesn’t happen, and you have to suppress your resentment  because this person is ahead of you after all, and you did take that gamble when you could have stood in line behind the four people who bought single packs of reasonably-priced Czech beer, even though the last of them has just sauntered out the door.

Never mind.  You win a few, you lose a few and that’s all right until the time comes to pay.

Two hundred and eight seven euros and forty three cents, please.

Now, what does a rational person do in a case like that, when they still have fifty purchases left on the checkout table?  The obvious thing, it seems to me, would be to have your card ready and stick it in the machine while you pack away all your groceries.  That’s what a rational, considerate, aware person would do, but every now and again you come up against a complete swine who carefully puts each thing into a bag, and when the bag is full they search for another bag and fill it up and when that bag is full, they have a look around for another fucking bag until every last item is put away

And then, and only then, does it dawn on them that they have to actually pay for all this stuff.  And then and only then do they go searching for their wallet and when they find it, go searching for their debit card, or their cash.  And if they opt for cash, they will then count out every last penny while you and the twelve people who have lined up behind you, regard them with murder in your hearts.

Yes.   That.

I have a theory about these people.  I think they’re part of a secret society of petty delay-ninjas, with a mission not to destroy the world, but to frazzle our nerves.  They’re a shabby bunch of international terrorists, sent by the Prince of Insufficient Light who, unlike the Prince of Darkness, can’t damn you to Hell, but he can darn you to heck.

They’re everywhere, and they always have been.

They hide behind vans and jump in front of you as you approach the ATM.  They have a card that doesn’t work even after three attempts.  They have another card that does work, which they use to check their balance and then withdraw money.   And they have a friend’s card, just when you thought they were finished.

They drive very slowly in the middle of the road so you can’t get past them.  When they do this, they wear hats..  When they’re men, they wear broad-brimmed hats or peaked caps.  When they’re women, there will always be four of them wearing tea cosies.  Four ladies coming from bingo.

They line up at railway ticket offices with travel passes two minutes before the gates close.

The bring bags of coins into banks at lunch-time.

They get onto buses and search for the fare only after the driver tells them what they already know: you have to pay.

They crowd into doctors’  waiting rooms when they see you coming and they always have three crying toddlers who haven’t  much wrong with them.

They ask questions long after lectures have ended.  They deliberately annoy bar staff by waiting till the end to order Guinness.

Look, forget about Al Qaeda and ISIS.   In my opinion, the first priority of governments everywhere should be to stamp out the Delayers.


13 thoughts on “The Delayers

  1. These fuckers occupy a parallel universe inhabited only by…. You guessed it…. Themselves.
    You have one item to pay for—follow the Delayer to the car park….identify their car as they load up—tell them they forgot something at the checkout and when they return to the store— you have enough time to deflate one of their tyres— kinda takes the wind out of their smug sails— if you pardon the pun.

  2. The format appears differently on Windows than on Linux – there are long lines of text across the screen when I read it on Ubuntu

  3. Yep, it occasionally drops into mobile mode in Linux here as well. Still perfectly readable though.

    Re the actual article, i’ve found the solution is to stop wearing a watch!

  4. You will never stamp out the Delayers because we are omnipresent. One of the great joys of being a pensioner is watching the faces of the people behind us in queues as we fumble for that last coin at the bottom of the pocket. We do it partly for the hell of it and partly to teach you young people a modicum of patience.

  5. The supermarkets in sweden have a great system , as the stuff is being scanned by the cashier and passed down to the loading area , there is a swivel , hinged gatey type partition device that he/she can then move to cordon off the customers groceries in the loading area so that the customer can pay then pack while the next in line is getting groceries scanned , it’s the little things :)

  6. You haven’t half covered it. I get homicidal towards the big fat women with big fat shapeless handbags. After all the packing ritual you describe, they land the said handbag on the counter with a plop. Big root in it for their 3-euro glasses. Long squint at the total on the till with curled upper lip exposing gruesone gnashers. Big root for the 20-pocket purse. Big root for the debit card. Then they decide to be helpful and have another big root for the 39c odd change. Friggin’ Polish checkout girl says ‘loyalty card?’ which prompts another big root for a bunch of tractor keys, with a tiny Tesco tag attached. EVENTUALLY they get the process over, then the shapeless handbag has to be re-packed with the precision of a lunar mission before they finally fuck off. And don’t even mention what happens if their mobile rings in the middle of it all.

  7. What are we all rushing to at all, I’ve often pondered.
    I told someone behind me in Aldi recently who only had one item to fire away in front of me if he wanted. The fella in front of me was loading up his month’s supply of food on the conveyor belt, and your man I had let skip ahead of me skipped in ahead of him too, mumbling something like ‘ah I’ll just scoot in here too so, cheers’. Your mano with the trolly full of stuff had a ton or two more items to unload, so I didn’t see the problem. But he nearly went into a homicidal rage over it.
    He started talking really loudly at me ‘Where would ya get it, only in Ireland ha ha? Ridiculous.. I’ve never seen the likes of it’.
    I just kept smiling and scurried out of there as quickly as possible.
    A few days later, there were two men screaming at each other from their cars in the car park of the same store, as I was trying to get by into the store.
    Maniacs everywhere you go these days.

  8. Hi from france Bock,
    here in mainland europe, to increase their skills the delayers ALSO use cheque books to pay for their goods! and after they hand it to the cashier, she passes it through a reading/printing device & then hands it back to the client (cunt at this stage) for her approval ! at this point I put my plastic tub of melted ice cream on sweet shelf and think, fuckem, I wanted to eat it not drink it. As a postscript, my femme is one of them …….. beat that lads.

  9. Was in one of those Tesco express stores a couple of years ago behind this wan, in the only till queue. She loaded up her 25 or so items, when the dude scanned them all through she asks him how much, then walks off.

    To the fucking ATM!!

    Aaarrggh, still annoys me now.

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