I save coupons from packets of tea
Lost in the Supermarket (The Clash)
It was several days ago already when Migmar told me Lipton’s tea bags were on sale at Stop’nShop, but I hadn’t got myself there yet. This evening she said the sale was probably over by now, but I went anyway, found it still going, and picked up two boxes, at a savings of $1.30 per box. Whoop-de-doo.
At the checkout I headed for the “12 items or less” line (yes, I know it ought to be “12 items or fewer,” I’m an English teacher, but who else cares?) and got into one of those automated checkouts by mistake. Normally I avoid them like the plague on account of them putting people out of work, but it was the eve of Memorial Day Weekend and there were impossibly long lines at all the checkout counters staffed by a human bean.
As it was processing my penultimate item, the machine froze up on me. I called for help, but the help couldn’t fix it, so he called for help. She couldn’t fix it either, so she voided the whole thing and I started over, in a new line, another automated one. Why? Why? This second one worked, but the thing rang up only $0.80 savings per box for my Lipton’s Tea, ripping me off to the tune of $0.50 x 2.
Half an hour into my supermarket odyssey, and still no joy. In line again, this time at the Service counter, where hapless souls cast away their hard-earned money on raffle tickets in hopes of winning the lottery. There was a gentle young man behind the counter. I explained, he listened, he commiserated, said Yes, he too steered clear of those automated checkouts and far preferred dealing with human beans, even agreed with (or humored) me when I said that, furthermore, I didn’t want people losing jobs to machines. Though he did venture to add that it rather looked like the wave of the future.
We chatted some more—about English supermarkets and whether their even more advanced state of automation was better or worse—and then, because it was their mistake, and their policy, he gave me the first box of tea absolutely free and the second box at the proper sale price. Triumph! An hour later and about a hundred years older, I could finally bear home my two boxes of Lipton’s Tea at a whopping savings of $2.79 per box.
Here I sit, grading papers again, and I don’t care if I never see another Lipton tea bag as long as I live.
You don’t know
You don’t know my mind.
If you see me laughin’
I’m laughin’ just to keep from cryin’
You Don’t Know My Mind (Odetta)