I overheard a couple of teenage lads discussing the most anonymous place to buy condoms as I was walking back from the shop yesterday and it reminded me of an incident when I was working on the tills at Co-op. I feel I owe a customer an apology.
Buying condoms is one of those big life milestones, however it isn’t one most people want to shout about. Rather one you want to do with a paper bag over your head in case someone who knows your parents sees you, or worse – a teacher. I may possibly have made this milestone a little traumatic for one poor teenager a few years back. Possibly…
It was a Friday night and I was working a 10-8 shift (most. dull. day. ever.) and it had just passed 7 so I was clock watching in the hope that this would make the time go faster. It didn’t, as always.
I was the only person on the tills as it was quiet so everyone else was on shop floor facing up and shelf stacking so the lad had no choice but to come to me which must have been embarrassing enough to start with as I was 1) a girl and 2) only a year or so older than him. He put the box of Durex on the converyor, looked panicked and grabbed a packet of chewing gum too, practically throwing it at me as if to say ‘Look, see, I’m buying this…ignore that other thing, it’s not important.’
I valiantly tried not to smirk (I may have failed) as I woke my till up from it’s snooze – it had locked itself as it was so long since I’d served anyone (or severed as I first typed…) – and picked up the chewing gum.
It didn’t work. So I swiped it again, noticing out of the corner of my eye that I suddenly had a queue at my till (customers are like buses, none for ages then three come along at once), and it failed again. Thinking it was just the chewing gum being silly I picked up the condoms and swiped them instead.
The lad was now looking slightly sick and I smiled at him and said something along the lines of ‘Sorry, the till’s being useless’ , tried one last time to scan the stuff and then decided to call my supervisor over…
…by waving the box of condoms in the air at her and shouting across ‘These won’t scan – I think my till’s crashed again.’
The lad was now bright red and looked on the verge of bolting – I was confused more a minute before realising what I had done. Oops.
My supervisor came over and tried to scan the condoms herself before declaring that my till was dead and could everyone please move over to Till 2 and I would serve them there instead.
Off we went and the lad threw a fiver at me, told me to put the change in the charity tin and left rather rapidly stuffing his purchases in his pocket as he went.
I may have laughed. The customer in the queue behind him may also have had a bit of a chuckle.
I would have died on the spot if I had been the one buying the condoms. I admire the strength of his heart for not just giving up in shame.
I know it is a bit late but:
I am sorry for making your condom-buying experience so horribly embarrassing. I do hope it didn’t put you off any future purchases.
Please forgive me,
Just while we’re on the topic – have you seen these two Durex adverts?? *snigger*