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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I went into Ipswich yesterday, which is always good for a bit of stress. By the time I got back I was in dire need of some of Crash's diazepam. So in the words of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (wife of my A-level English tormentor, Robert, or as I preferred to call him, 'gravy'), "How do I stress thee? Let me count the ways..."

1. The queue in the bank stretched halfway around the town centre (it's my blog, I'm allowed to exaggerate), despite it being the middle of the afternoon.

2. I was kept waiting for ages in QD while the woman on the till insisted on wrapping the photo frame I was buying in about six carrier bags, and tying them together to create a handle. She seemed to be treating it like some kind of craft project.

3. I rushed back to the car park to make sure I was within the hour, and had to wait forever at the ticket machine while a couple of pensioners searched for change through every bag they had. Having done so, they decided to request a receipt.

4. I have never seen anyone request a receipt.

5. By the time their receipt had printed and I'd got my ticket into the machine, I'd gone over the hour and had to pay an extra £1.10.

6. I got stuck in a school-related traffic jam on my way to Asda.

7. Asda have reorganised the store, and it took me over an hour to find everything.

8. They had no skimmed milk on display, and I had to wait five minutes for them to go and find some.

9. When I got to the tills, they only had a few open, and all had queues. I selected the shortest one, and was nearing the conveyor belt, when the store manager, who was panicking about the queues and marching up and down the line, flapping his arms and trying to help by being unhelpful, rushed up to me and told me I'd be better off at a till further down. He led me away and placed me in a different queue, which he insisted would be much quicker because the woman in front only had a small trolley. He then rushed off again.

10. The woman in front did indeed have a small trolley. Unfortunately she also had a very large trolley. Yes, she had so much shopping, she'd gone round with two trolleys. I panicked, looked back to my previous queue, and saw that it was now twice as long.

11. After a two minute wait, during which Mrs Slow in front of me did very little, I changed queues to the one next door, which was moving more quickly. Naturally the moment I joined it, the person at the head of the queue had a problem with their credit card, and the queue stopped.

12. I rejoined the queue I'd just left. Which by now had an extra person in it.

13. Ten minutes later, Mrs Slow finished paying for her mammoth shop. Whereupon she realised she had no chance of actually getting it all into her two trolleys and out to her car, meaning we all had to wait while they requested help for her by phone.

14. Meanwhile, the people in the two previous queues of which I'd been a member, were merrily dancing their way out of the store with completed purchases.

15. Mrs Slow eventually left with an escort, and I started loading my shopping onto the conveyor belt. The woman in front of me then tried to buy a birthday card, the card wouldn't scan, and we were left waiting AGAIN while a member of staff ambled off to check the price.

16. The woman finally left (I won't be sending her a card), after which the conveyor belt immediately stopped working, and I had to start passing everything down by hand.

17. All in all, I was in the queue for TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES. I've had friendships which lasted for less time than that.

18. Relieved to escape, I headed straight out of Asda...

19. ... and into a traffic jam on the A14, caused by a broken down lorry.

It wasn't a good day. And I couldn't even make that list a round twenty. But let's cheer ourselves up with a nice picture of Michael Jackson...

The defence breasts