Just experienced one of the most embarrassing incidents of my life at the supermarket. Filled my basket with £18 worth of shopping, then once I was at the till, realised I’d left my wallet at work.
Nevermind, I’m only ten minutes from home. I’ll nip home, borrow Pip’s card, and return to pick up my shopping. The woman at Tesco seemed to think this was an excellent idea, and very kindly stowed my shopping behind the counter, ready to be picked up as soon as I should return with the necessary funds.
Once home, it turns out Pip doesn’t have £18 on her card. She only has £10 left in the bank. Not to worry, I’ll quickly log on to my online banking and transfer some money over. I log on. Oh dear, I don’t even have £10. I have £7. So, I transfer the £7, but that still leaves me £1 short of my total shopping bill. Not to worry. Look! Here’s £4 in cash, lying around on the bookshelf. Pip also has an extra £5 note in her wallet, which I take with me just incase the £7 hasn’t transferred immediately through our online banking. That way there’s definitely £10 on Pip’s card, and I definitely have £9 in my pocket. Sure I’ll have to be that annoying person that pays part-cash part-card, but that’s the least of my worries right now.
Pip reminds me of her pin number, and I make a note of it on my iPhone. Are you sure that’s the right one? Because I know you sometimes get them mixed up! I took down two ‘back-up’ pin numbers just in case Pip had gotten her various pins / cards mixed up. I have three pin numbers written down on my iPhone. It’s almost certainly the first one, I am reassured, but the other two are there just in case.
So, back to Tesco I go. Ten minutes walk down the road. Hello! Sorry about that, I’m here to pick up my shopping. Sorry to be even more of an inconvenience, but is there any chance I could pay part-cash part-card? There is? Oh thank you, you’re too kind.
So, I slide my card in the chip and pin machine. How much did I want to pay by card? Oh, er… £14? (Nope, I have absolutely no idea why I picked £14 either).
The little LCD screen tells me to enter my pin, and boldly, confidently, I enter my pin. Oh dear. That was literally MY pin. But of course this isn’t my card, this is Pip’s card. No wonder it didn’t work. How very silly of me! Not to worry, I can remember Pip’s pin off the top of my head, and confidently I enter the four digits.
Oh dear. Maybe I can’t remember it off the top of my head, maybe I got it wrong. I’d best check what I wrote down on my iPhone. The woman behind the counter looks at me, smiles. She’s probably thinking I’m either suspicious or extremely stupid.
“Sorry, I can never remember which one it is. It’s one of three”
What? Why the fuck did I say that? It is one of three, but my first attempt was my own pin number, and not one of Pip’s three options. So really I’m down to one in four. But you only get three attempts at these things.
Ok. Which number do I try next? Do I try the number at the top of the list? Pip seemed fairly certain that was the one. But… That’s the one I just entered from memory. I swear I entered it exactly as it’s written down here. I did remember it correctly after all! But, suppose I punched one of the numbers in wrong? My fat fingers could have hit the wrong button by mistake.
The woman is still looking at me expectantly. The LCD screen is saying ‘Final Attempt’.
Ok, I’ll try it again. It must be this one. I probably just punched it in wrong.
Slowly, carefully, I press down on the four numbers in sequence.
Smile nervously. Look exasperated. Er…. Er… “Not to worry”, says the woman behind the till, smiling. “If the pin isn’t working out for you, there’s another way we can do it, you just need to sign the receipt”. Great! That sounds like a great idea.
Oh. No. Wait. It dawns on me that I can’t sign the receipt, because it’s not my card. Can I do a convincing immitation of Pip’s signature? I don’t fancy my chances. Plus when she looks at the front of the card she’ll probably notice that I’m not a ‘Miss’, and I’m probably not a ‘Philippa’.
“Actually, nevermind”. Here comes the back-tracking. Only moments before I was all for the signature idea. Now I’m trying frantically to avoid it. I must be a very special breed of customer. Yet the cashier maintains her smiley, understanding manner. Thank God she’s being so nice about it all. Perhaps my pig’s ear of an incident is a highlight in her otherwise entirely monotonous working day. At least I’m different to everyone else who just sticks their card in, enters the pin number correctly and offers the minimal amount of dialogue necessary to complete the transaction.
“I’ve got £9 in cash on me, I’m really sorry, I guess I’ll just have to put a few of the items back so that the bill comes to less than £9”. How very embarrassing. I’m now that person that has to put items back because they can’t afford everything they recklessly threw in their basket. What would I like to remove? Oh Christ, I don’t know. I scan the bag for the most expensive items. Innocent veg pot? That can go. Yep, and these too. Ok, how much does that come to? £9.36? I only have £9, I’ll have to get rid of this too. Sorry again.
Excellent! There we go. I hand over the cash. She hands me some change. Thank you. Sorry. Really, sorry about all that. Thanks again though. Sorry. Bye. Sorry. Done. Thank God that’s over. Now all I need to do is walk home and explain to the girlfriend that she’s going to have to phone the bank to get her pin unlocked.