We all love waiting in a queue, don’t we? It’s probably the most enjoyable activity a human being can undertake, standing there like a complete tool, shuffling forward one at a time to have our miserable purchases scanned and surveyed by our fellow shufflers in a silent mind-babble of judgement.
Oh look. He bought leeks, dog-food and a bottle of wine. What a pervert.
What the fuck are you talking about with your calorie-soaked snacks, your obese ADHD child and your ill-fitting track-top, you big knacker?
Shut up. The sooner I get out of here with my once-in-a-lifetime drill-bits offer the happier I’ll be.
Oh Jesus. I forgot the chick-peas.
I walked into my usual cut-price outlet today, one of those places that the too-posh-to-push people would never have attended in a million years, three years ago. You know, those German multiples that sell you products at half the price of the local rip-off merchants and twice the quality?
I’m a sucker for them and to be honest with you, I do succumb to the special offers. I have that compressor, that air chisel, that electric scroll saw and the incredibly cheap rock breaker that you’ll be glad of some day when you need to break lots of rock.
I am that soldier.
But I’m also the soldier who buys food and shit. Minor things. Little bits and pieces like milk and eggs and cheese.
It’s enormously sad that you can no longer walk into a city centre shop that sells such things, a shop owned and run by a family whose names you know. A family you went to school with and whose children go to school with yours. A family your mother and your grandmother knew.
That’s gone, sadly. It’s no longer possible to send the kids across the road to the shop for a pound of butter and a bag of flour, because firstly, they’ll be killed on the road by the traffic and secondly, the shops expect money up front, since they’re owned by somebody in Dublin, or London or Berlin and they have not the slightest interest in being part of your community.
That’s how cities fall apart.
And so I’d rather queue in Lidl or Aldi with their enormous choice of goods than queue in a city-centre shop where nobody gives a shit who I am any more.
I must have been exceptionally chilled today when I arrived into Lidl’s car-park to discover a half dozen buses from a school tour. I even did a little Zen-like inventory of my personal angst and decided that it was cool, so I went into the shop where, of course, there were a hundred and fifty adolescent boys queueing up at the check-outs, all well behaved, as befits their extremely expensive directly-matriculating private school, but adolescent boys nonetheless.
People are normally very courteous, as we all find if we arrive at the check-out with one or two things in our grasp. More often than not, somebody with a full trolley will turn around and look at you. Is that all you have? Go on ahead.
But not today. Even though I only had a few carrots, a bag of kangaroo scrotums and a humane killer, nobody offered to let me through.
I blame the rich kids.