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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Not even for ready money!

It being the last Saturday of the month, Lady Bracknell betook herself early this morning to the farmers' market in search of specialty breads and local cheeses. (Which operation would be rather more straightforward were it not for her ladyship's need to continually avert her gaze from the multiplicity of stalls proferring comestibles fashioned from the innards of various breeds of domestic animal.)

Having made such purchases as she desired, and having run rather short of milk, Lady Bracknell then bent her weary steps towards her local branch of Tesco where her eye was caught by a special offer on some rather fine, plump aubergines, one of which, in an uncharacteristically impulsive moment, she added to her basket.

After an inordinately long time spent queuing for the till in temperatures and humidity levels somewhat akin to those prevailing in the average tropical rain forest, Lady Bracknell presented her intended purchases to be scanned by the mysterious bleeping device.

All was going well until the mysterious bleeping device flatly refused to calculate a price for the aubergine. Lady Bracknell understood little of the discussion which ensued between two of the shop assistants, but it seems to her that they key issue may have been a lack of "code" for aubergines.

"We're very sorry", they said, "but we can't sell you the aubergine".

By this stage, Lady Bracknell was in too advanced a state of heat exhaustion to protest. But it has since occurred to her that, aubergines being quite perishable objects, and the fault lying with the shop rather than its customers, it might be preferable to give the aubergines away to those who were entirely willing to pay for them, rather than to have to discard them when they become bruised and soft.

In short, Lady Bracknell is now rather of the opinion that she is owed an aubergine: particularly given that the courgettes she chose to cook with it presented the mysterious bleeping device with no problems whatsoever.

Whilst not wishing to give the appearance of being an out and out technophobe, Lady Bracknell cannot help but point out that, when tills were mechanical, she cannot recall any shopkeeper ever being entirely incapable of calculating a price for any of the items he was holding out for sale.


Blogger BloggingMone said...

A supermarket not being able to sell and aubergine is weird! Why did they put it on display in the first place?
Ts, ts, ts.....

4:42 pm  
Blogger Kerrio said...

How do you like your aubergines? Grown in my own garden thanks.. so I don't have to fight to buy them.

Oh well, a triumph of technology.

8:21 am  
Anonymous SphinxQueen said...

You must have encountered a particularly dozy pair of employees (I hesitate to say "workers"...). What happened to going to the display, finding out the shelf price, coming back and doing a manual override?

Customer service is a wonderful thing. If you can find it.

11:31 pm  
Anonymous Boogaloo Dude said...


I am so sorry to hear of your recent aubergine trauma.

Although this is by no means a new issue (I fell out with B&Q many years ago over their “inability” to sell me a single cork tile, even though there had been a loose pile of them on display in their showroom), it seems that Tesco have taken “Computer says ‘Nah’” to an entirely new level. My own recent experiences of this in Mr Cohen’s Grocery & Novelty Emporium go some way to explaining why they recently found themselves amongst my top nominations for Room 101 on Dame Honoria’s estimable blog.

However, whilst I share your preference to mechanical tills over “bleeping” computerised stock control, I have a sneaking suspicion that our respective experiences have less to do with computers making poor masters than with the observable phenomenon that if you prescribe everything your staff may say, think or do in every conceivable circumstance, you end up with staff who are too frightened to, or simply cannot, make decisions.



4:55 am  
Blogger kelly said...

You should probably be thankful that the silly gooses didn't sell you the aubergine (eggplant?), because if the cash register failed as well, they would have been incapable of calculating the change as well.

The mind boggles.


p.s. aubergine is to eggplant as courgette is to...?

11:41 pm  
Blogger Elizabeth McClung said...

Yes, one of the great all time frustrating statements to me is "The computer won't let me." - odd, since I was pretty sure a computer is there to ASSIST a thinking human being, not to supervise or be the lord and master - when did a till machine start dictating life?

7:30 pm  
Anonymous Boogaloo Dude said...

... zucchini!

3:22 am  
Blogger Jess said...

Pair of bloody jobsworths, it sounds to me. You're owed an aubergine and an apology: I have spoken.

Though I much prefer courgettes myself. I've been eating the "sunburst" variety of these lately. Fun and rather tasty if you can find them.

/Worrall-Thompson blog

2:42 pm  
Blogger Katie said...

I'll sell you an aubergine.

I once went to my local 24 hour shop and picked a bottle of continental lager off the shelf.

"We don't sell those," said the cashier when I reached the front of the queue.

2:28 pm  

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