The thought for this letter was inspired by a recent visit to Tesco, South Street, then to Holland and Barrett, North Street. Very recently, and very suddenly, for the first time I felt old (which is what I am).
I am also partially sighted, so in supermarkets, even small ones, I fuss about, peering uselessly at the shelves, and in the end seek the help of an assistant. who is usually on his or her knees stacking shelves, or armed to the teeth with large cardboard boxes, but is nonetheless always willing to stop and lead me 25 yards round the store then point out the object of my quest, be it only savoury biscuits or massage oil. Often there is a short chat as we go, and especially if the assistant is big and brawny (as in said Tesco), there is fun and laughter with it.
At the counter I am safest with notes , but if offering coin I put a handful into my palm and let the receiver take what is needed. This they always do gently and carefully, spelling out what they have taken.
Invariably I leave the shop feeling so rewarded – even reminded there is some fun to be had in being old, and I just want to express deep thanks to all these lovely people.
Mrs Marion Somerville