Shopping is not my favourite occupation. I wondered how Sir Woebegone might cope with a shopping spree. Naturally the whole topic came to me as a result of this week’s #writephoto prompt from KL Caley at New2Writing.com. This splendid photograph led me to a 600-word piece of Sir Woebegone’s world.
The Shopping Spree
It was wet and cold in this miserable town. Sir Woebegone’s stomach rumbled. His quest for a grocer’s shop had failed. Who could help? A friendly-looking gentleman sat in a glass shelter, open to the road, which seemed odd, since it left him at the mercy of spray from passing cars.
“Arr, you need that there supermarket. Them don’t do proper grocers like they used to.”
“Er, thank you. Are there any other customs I should be aware of? I don’t want to seem unpopular, or get into trouble.”
“Nay, just pick up a basket, put want you’m wanting in it, and take it t’ cashier to pay afore you leave.”
Sir Woebegone nodded his thanks. He rarely found anyone so easy to talk to, even though the accent was strange.
His adopted demeanour of confidence faded soon after the doors, which opened on his approach, closed right behind him. Would he be trapped forever inside? The sight of row upon row of tinned goods depressed him. He needed food, not paint. Had he come to the right super-market?
A woman dressed in some sort of costume that matched the decor approached him.
“Can I help you sir?”
“I’m looking for food.”
She smiled. “All this is food. Did you want fresh food? Over there at the back. Would you like me to go with you?”
“Er, no, thank you.”
He watched a few others, wandering around, picking tins off shelves at random, so it seemed, hardly looking at the writing on the labels. Should he try that? The idea of food in a tin did not comfort him. He knew exactly how hot or cold it got, stuck inside a suit of armour.
He headed for the fresh food. Ah! This was more like it. He put some apples and plums into his basket. He had no idea what the curved yellow things were, but vaguely recognised the orange things. He’d seen people eating them. Maybe he’d try one. He walked past all the rest of the fresh food, pausing only for a lettuce and a cucumber. How did they manage to grow cucumbers in late autumn?
He watched other people head to the front of the store. Some used machines, which beeped alarmingly and spoke repetitively. The shoppers seemed to have different cards to use. Woebegone had some cash. It was one of his priorities on arriving anywhere: get local cash, up to date banknotes and some coins.
He went to what he guessed was a ‘cashier.’
“Hello, sir. Just a few things today? Very healthy. Do you need a bag?”
He did. She kindly put the items straight into his bag and asked him for seven-twenty-five. After a moment’s panic, thinking he hadn’t got that much, he brought out his wad of cash and held it out to the woman. She took one note from the top, and handed him back some coins.
“Just a little tip, sir. Don’t bring out all your money at once, someone might try to mug you on the way home.”
“Er, yes, thank you. Goodbye. Thank you for your help.”
Sometimes it was the most mundane task that was the most terrifying.
Alert to possible muggers, he crossed the road, traversed the park and found a wet bench under a leafless tree. He concentrated on a nice late summer’s day, which appeared around him as he settled down to eat his lunch.
Could he perhaps work his time-travel skills so his shopping magically came to him in future?
© J M Pett 2021
Do you shop at Amazon.co.uk?
I’m interested in learning how many of my UK readers are as upset as me at Amazon’s announcement that they’re not taking UK Visa credit cards from 19th January. Since I shall probably boycott them as a result, I need to do a makeover to ensure people know they can get all my ebooks at iTunes (which accepts Visa afaik), as well as Kobo.
I will also not be buying anyone’s kindle ebooks at Amazon. Or anything else. It’s going to be hard, frankly.
I’m sure this is a test run for them to see whether they can oust Visa worldwide. Power-crazed.
Hmm, I wonder whether I can turn the next #writephoto prompt into a story featuring this.