Shopping for groceries can have its lighter side if you keep your eyes and ears open. I recently popped into the supermarket for a handful of items and, as I was in a hurry, I joined the Express Till 10 items and under queue. Even though it was far longer than the queues at the other tills, I could tell it was at least moving.
Inevitably, I got held up about three shoppers away from the till as the customer was experiencing difficulties with her credit card. Despite my hurry, and before my ire had time to rise, my attention was drawn to an attractive young woman dressed in tight black pants and a loose white top, who lifted the lid of the small ice-cream freezer right next to me. She immediately began pulling out handfuls of ice-creams on sticks and dumping them into a wire basket at her feet. Every now and then she would pull at the back of her white top and then resume digging her hands into the freezer to haul out and dump more ice-creams.
Within minutes she was joined by a slightly older looking man. He wasn’t nearly as adept as she was, picking up only three or four ice-creams to her ten or twelve. The two of them murmured to each other as they bent down together. Now and then the young woman would stop momentarily to feel an ice-cream or to smell it. She would murmur something to her companion and then toss it into the now almost overflowing basket.
I caught the eye of the tall, curly-headed man behind me in the queue. He too had been watching the proceedings in awed fascination. We both shrugged our shoulders and smiled at each other. Then he leaned towards the young woman and asked loudly, “Are you pregnant?”
She paused briefly and stared at him. “No!” Her male companion turned scarlet. “Why do you ask?”
The queue man smiled broadly. “It’s all those ice-creams you see. I was wondering if you had developed a severe craving.”
The young woman caught the teasing note in his voice, shook her long black hair and returned to the task, a smile skidding around her mouth. Her companion straightened up, coughed slightly and addressed us both. “The freezer stopped working and the ice-creams thawed.” He held up an ice-cream by way of explanation. “When the freezer came on again these guys [presumably the managers/owners of the supermarket] let them freeze again and are happy to sell them like that.” He tapped the ice-cream against the palm of his hand. “The trouble is that you can’t refreeze ice-cream.” He resumed lifting out a few at a time. I was now just one person away from the till.
“The pigs around here won’t go hungry today.” The man spoke into the freezer.
“So,” said the queue man to the young woman, “you’re not pregnant.”
This time she flashed him a pretty smile. “Not a chance!”