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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I went into Ipswich this afternoon to do some high level banking (mostly at the cashpoint near the cheesecake shop), but I subsequently found myself standing for hours in the queue at the pharmacy in Boots. The girl in front of me was engaging the assistant in deep conversation about her choice of purchase, whereupon the assistant dutifully led her off into the store to choose an alternative brand, leaving the rest of us happy shoppers high and dry.

Naturally, being British, I chose not to complain, but instead stood there quietly tutting, sighing, and looking despairingly from my watch to my fellow queuers. As someone who buys his footwear from charity shops, it's not the first time I've felt uncomfortable standing around in boots, but on this occasion I spent the time constructively cursing people who don't know what they're doing in shops, and arrive at the counter before having completed their shopping.

Eventually the girl returned, I exchanged one last empathetic roll of the eyes with my fellow queuers, and stepped forward, by now feeling fully justified in requesting some painkillers. Having found them for me, the assistant began to scan my other items, before stopping at my two boxes of earplugs, and saying "Did you know these are 3 for the price of 2?"

I looked at the growing queue of frustrated shoppers behind me, looked at the assistant, considered the situation for a moment, then checked my sensitivity at the door and said:

"Ooooh, are they? I'll go and get another box!"

I'm sure everyone understood, as I disappeared off to the other side of the store. And I would've been back quite quickly too if it wasn't for all the women with pushchairs who insisted on blocking the babyfood aisle en route. Honestly, don't they know that's the most direct route to the earplug section?

Still, all's well that ends well. And fortunately looks can't kill, so I was able to live long enough to get out of Boots and buy up half the contents of the Mind Shop down the road. You can never have too many earplugs or too many pairs of charity shop jeans, that's what I say.