I've become the customer from hell. The staff at my local Woolies respond to my presence with rolled eyes, quick whips through the store and inter-staff broadcast BBMs something in the vein of 'High Alert: The whore who checks every item on the till is here.'
Wait. I give them far too much credit. Their broadcast messages probably read, 'Da skwl teacha wot bugz us iz in da store. Get 2 ur tillz n praten 2 lyk her.'
On my last enormous, financially crippling shop, I did the big shop at Much Cheaper Shop and then hit Woolies with Much Cheaper Shop's over laden trolley. Exhausted by what can only be described as the next best activity after applying for an I'd document, I did a dash through the store to collect items that The Daughter actually eats. Then I hit the till, waited while the items were checked through, mocked charged and handed over my credit.
Then I hightailed to pay for parking - I'd been held up those extra seven minutes by an older woman with a clubbed wheel trolley and so missed my 'first hour free' parking fee concession - sprinted in the elements (a right windy, cold and wet day it was) and began loading the groceries. This task, mind you, is not made any easier by a whingeing child, desperate to unpack the shopping bags before they'd hit the boot.
And that's when it happened: nestled betwixt paid-for bags of detergents and handwash and oversized boxes of cereal, was a jar of imperative onion marmalade. Hot.
I considered taking it as part of my you-effing-owe-me-Woolies compensation. But. Ah, and herein lies the big BUT. I had The Daughter in tow. And I couldn't easily pretend like I'd actually paid for the jar of radness. Especially considering I'd just cussed in manner of, 'Oh crikey effing Moses! How the sam hell did this get past those effing bleeping thingies? Shit balls.'
The Daughter: What's wrong, Mommy?
The Pant: Oh. Nothing, my precious.
TD: Then why did you say, 'Oh crikey effing Moses! How the sam hell did this get past those effing bleeping thingies? Shit balls'?
TP: Did I?
TD: Yes. You said 'shit balls'.
TP: Sorry, my pet. I didn't mean to.
TD: You know, Mommy, 'shit' is a bad word.
TP: I know, my precious-
TD: Just like f-
TP: Woaaaaaah! Don't say bad words.
TD: But you said a bad word! And nobody put you in the naughty corner.
TP: (A quick subject change - ammunition, I imagine, of many a mother) Should we go back and pay for this?
TD: Yes. Because stealing is bad and if you steal, you will go to jail.
TP: (Well....) Exactly right, my precious.
The Daughter - unable to walk due to the inclement weather - insisted on riding hip-side back to the store. Obviously, because I've experienced nothing but luck in all areas of life not least the romantic side, my car was parked a good two miles from any cover. I returned to stored feeling just as I looked: pissed on.
The Pant: Manager Man! (Offering offending Onion Marmalade.)
Manager Man: (eyerolling certainly not lost on me) Yes, Ma'am?
(Ordinarily when a 'Ma'am' is let loose in my direction, I become weak at the knees and demand the man from whose mouth it emanates a repeat. But from Manager Man with his spiky hair and rat-like teeth - No way.)
TP: I was unpacking my trolley and found this jar of onion marmalade therein. Not paid for.
MM: (irritated now) Well, do you want it?
TP: I did put in my trolley. I think that suggests that I may want it.
MM: Well, you can join the line and pay for it.
TP: (properly irritated) Pardon? Um.... how about a freebie for honesty?
MM: It doesn't work like that, Ma'am. (This 'Ma'am', mind you, I would never have asked for a repeat of because it was said in the same tone one might say 'girlie'.)
TP: Well. Then... Forget I ever came back. I'm leaving with my free jar of onion marmalade and what are you going to do about it?
MM: Ma'am (again, very unsexy), do you see that very large man dressed in the blue uniform over there?
TP: The security guard?
MM: Yes. Him. Well, if you leave this store without paying for that onion marmalade, you may well find that I'll stroll over to the exact same man and mention that you've got yourself ten little skinny fingers on the ends of your very bitchy arms.
TP: Oh please, Mr Manager Man. You'd have me arrested over a jar of onion marmalade? Please.
MM: Don't try me.
I didn't try him. I dutifully paid for said onion marmalade, which (might I add) is such a pleasure on the tongue when paired with a ripe brie that I have almost forgotten the incident. Almost. But not quite.
Because now, when I go into said store, I make sure I get every last penny of my shopper discount. Every. Single. One.