Monday, 2 June 2014

There were no plain sultanas

in the little snack packs in the supermarket.
          "They have to have them somewhere!" the man next to me said frantically, "I don't like the cranberry sort."
I didn't even know there was a cranberry sort.
I told him I was sorry I could not help.
He looked helplessly at me.
         "I don't buy sultanas like that," I told him, "If I want sultanas I buy them like this - or this."
I indicated the larger packets.
         "They're too big."
         "Yes, but if I wanted a take along snack like that I would put them into a small container. You can buy containers about that size. It's a lot cheaper."
He stared at me as if I was speaking a foreign language.
The only other things in his trolley were packets of oats, two boxes of long life milk (twenty litres in all) and two boxes of 100 tea bags.
And then I remembered him. We had met, briefly, at the checkout some years ago.
"You're the man who lives alone and comes shopping twice a year - for your breakfast."
He looked startled.
"How did you know that?"
I explained.
"You have a good memory."
Perhaps. Now that I was sure he lived alone I said,
"Wait a moment."
I went around into the next aisle and came back with a pack of four tiny containers - intended for snacks like sultanas.
"This is what you need," I told him.
He stared at them as if they were completely foreign to him.
I did some quick mental arithmetic and told him that, if he chose the option of filling the containers he would save a certain amount - rather a lot in fact. That did interest him.
He took the containers and then said, "If I had two lots then I would only need to do it once a week."
He put the sultanas in the trolley and went around to get another lot of containers.
And then he stood there in front of me again and asked,
"But these are a different size from the packets. How do I know how many to put in?"
He was quite serious.
"Have you still got a small packet at home?" I asked him.
He nodded and, looking very pleased with himself, said "You mean I can use that to measure these?"
"That's the idea," I said and I went on my way.
What I did not tell him was that I doubt a larger packet of sultanas is going to be enough for six months. He can find that out for himself.
And yes, this is absolutely true. It would be impossible to live with him.

1 comment:

jeanfromcornwall said...

Some people are just designed to live alone - think about it - he is happy as he is, and if he shared his life with a partner, he would be making two people unhappy.