Last Tuesday I was at a well-known Supermarket, near to Saint Mungo’s, doing some food shopping for my brother, but I also needed to get ink cartridges for my printer in the office. I usually know exactly where to find them, but I was taken by surprise to see that they weren’t in their usual place, and that the space reserved for them was taken up with more Christmassy things. I searched the store high and low without success until I eventually sought out an
assistant to help me. I was told by a young lad that all the printing accessories had been stored in the back for the time being but that, if I knew the make and number I was looking for, he would go and seek one out for me. That was no problem, so, off he went on his search. It took him quite a while. In fact, I was approached twice by other assistants in the time I was waiting, standing like a statue, instead of zooming up and down the aisles, to ask if I was okay, but eventually he emerged from the storeroom with a multi-pack of what I required. I continued with my shopping and, only requiring a basketful, I made for the self-checkout to pay for my goods. After paying for them, and bagging them, I headed for the exit, only for the alarm to sound, and I then had the acute embarrassment of being called back into the check-out area. In all the palaver of getting the cartridges, I had completely forgotten that there was a security tab on them which I should have asked an assistant to remove. Feeling like a thief, and imagining half the store recognizing me and thinking that the Rector of Saint Mungo’s was being done for shoplifting, I frantically searched for my receipt which, of course, had found its way to the very bottom of my shopping bag, somewhere between the frozen chips and the fish fingers. At last, I found it and presented it to yet another assistant, who hardly looked at it before sending me on my way with a cheerful greeting for Christmas.
This wasn’t my first such experience. Any of you who know Dublin will remember the
famous Bewley’s Oriental Café on Grafton Street. It was a great place to go and spend a half hour or more, just to have a beverage, and engage in people watching, in the most quaint and magnificent Olde-Worlde surroundings. During my many years in Mount Argus, it was something I loved to do, if ever I had occasion to go into the city. On one particular visit I picked up a huge slice of carrot cake, my favourite, and the biggest mug of coffee on offer. These had to be paid for before finding a table, and this I did. Bewley’s was very busy that day, as it often was, and I had to weave in and out of the many nooks and crannies in search of a place to sit, which I eventually did. Just as I was enjoying my coffee and carrot cake, I was approached by an assistant who told me I hadn’t paid. People at other nearby tables were watching the exchange. In those days, when holding on to receipts didn’t seem to be as
essential as it is now, I would have had the habit of crumpling up the receipt and throwing it in a bin on my way to a table. Fortunately, on this occasion, I had crumpled up the receipt but, not passing a bin, I had put it in my pocket, and was, with great relief, able to produce it as proof of my payment. After profuse apologies, and the offer of a free, extra slice of carrot cake, which of course I accepted, I was able to continue my elevenses in peace. The moral of these stories is, hold on to your receipts until you are absolutely certain you won’t need them.
Out at the Passionist community house in Bishopbriggs, Father Justinian is self-isolating in preparation for a cataract removal next Monday. He will have a Covid test beforehand, and we are wondering if he might be offered the vaccine while there for his appointment. If so, he will gratefully accept it. My molar was successfully removed last Thursday although, as
expected, it took two dentists to make the extraction, with the senior dentist talking the junior dentist through a lesson on where to place her finger for leverage while making figure-8 movements with the extraction forceps, pliers to you and me, to remove the infected tooth. Anyway, I have had no problems since, so they must have, thankfully done a good job. Father
Antony and Father Gareth are fine, and still the biggest wind-up merchants you could find.
Anyway, as ever, protect yourselves, protect others, and protect Christ in your lives.