Saturday, March 15, 2014

trouble in store

It’s so perfectly arranged – Mrs Rogers on the chair with a phone to her ear; the supermarket manager standing by her right shoulder, holding her bag; the First Aider, kneeling at her feet, taking details; the vegetable section guy standing guard over the three of them, stopping people cutting through to get to the cucumbers – you’d think there was an easel set up opposite, in soft fruits, and an artist capturing the whole scene in oils.
‘Is she on the phone to control?’ whispers Rae to the manager, after we’ve stood waiting for a couple of minutes. I’ve already pointed out the bananas to one person. Any longer and I’ll be going to the stockroom for more.
‘I think so,’ says the manager.
‘Well – can you tell her she can hang up now? The ambulance is here.’
Mrs Rogers holds a finger up.
‘Just a minute,’ she says, then back into the phone: ‘Now look. Can you reassure me that this has all been logged? Because it’s not satisfactory you know. Okay? Good.’
She hangs up without another word and tosses the phone to the manager, who only just manages to catch it.
Rae steps forward to speak to her, but she holds her finger up again.
‘Did you get all my details?’ she says to the First Aider.
‘All except the postcode and phone number.’
Mrs Rogers tells him, emphatically, using the International Phonetic Alphabet, then asks the First Aider to read it back, just to be sure.
He’s half-way through the phone number when Rae interrupts.
‘Mrs Rogers?’ she says. ‘Sorry. We just need to reassure ourselves that you’re okay, then we can be on our way. Tell me what happened.’
‘I tripped over a plastic crate that someone had left on the floor,’ she says, her face and eyes hard. ‘On the floor! What it was doing there I don’t know. But down I went.’
‘Did you hurt yourself?’
Mrs Rogers rubs her knees through her polyester slacks, so roughly I half expect to see sparks.
‘Of course. I’m very sore.’ She glances over at the manager. ‘I shall want all my shopping put through the tills.’
He shifts uncomfortably.
‘Did you stand up after the accident?’ says Rae.
‘Yes. Then eventually someone had the sense to find a chair.’
She pulls up the trouser legs to expose her knees, neither of which show any sign of trauma.
‘They look good,’ says Rae.
A woman privately appreciating the weight of a large butternut squash glances across at me, then carefully puts it back and hurries away.
‘Come on. Shall we go for a stand?’ says Rae. We offer our hands; Mrs Rogers rises out of the chair.
The manager holds his breath.
The First Aider’s pen hovers above the form.
‘There! How does that feel?’ says Rae.
‘Well. Hmm. Of course, last time I broke something down there I didn’t know about it for a month,’ she sniffs. ‘Then I was hobbling about in a cast till Christmas.’
‘I think you’ve probably escaped without serious injury this time, though,’ says Rae. ‘Do you think you’ll be needing a trip to the hospital?’ She shakes her head as she says it.
‘Probably not.’
‘So you don’t really need us here?’
‘Okay. That’s fine. Well. Goodbye Mrs Rogers. I’m glad you’re all right.’
She nods to the manager.
‘We’ll be off,’ she says, patting him on the shoulder.
‘I hope this has all been officially recorded,’ says Mrs Rogers, sitting back down again and folding her arms.
The Manager smiles anxiously.
The First Aider checks his watch, then finishes writing the form.


MrTomVee said...

I half expect her to demand that the supermarket be in America so that she can properly sue them.

Spence Kennedy said...

Health & safety must be a complete nightmare for supermarkets - the combination of a huge variety of products, all the boxes and cages and crates and pallet trucks that go with them, the constant need for re-stocking, all in the context of a litigious public...

md said...

I have to admit that Mrs Rogers reminds me more than a little of Hyacinth Bucket ...

Spence Kennedy said...

Def a touch of the Bucket about her (gone over to the Dark Side) :)

jacksofbuxton said...

I wonder where Mr Rogers was during this?

Probably out with Onslow...

Spence Kennedy said...

Either that or filming the whole thing from somewhere strategic like Dairy or maybe Ready Meals

Cassandra said...

Hah. She's fine. I love how she has that contingency thrown in there, though, just in case she needs to raise a fuss later. "Last time I broke something I didn't know it for a month…" Either her pain threshold is very high, or… well… that's all I can think of. Must not've been a very bad break.

Last month I collapsed and started screaming (apparently) in a pharmacy just after picking up my prescription. (I'm fine. It was just a combination of pain and adrenal shock.) It was in another city, but it's the one I use when I'm there now. I was blacked out/had my eyes closed for the whole thing so I never saw who was who until the ambulance came, but when I was in there this month both of the employees who helped me came over to say Hi and check on me. Sweet people. And yes, when the EMTs came I thought of YOU, Spence! Don't worry-- I wasn't a trouble patient. I doubt I'd even make it onto your blog, it was so tame. ;)

Spence Kennedy said...

I very much doubt any breakages were involved - even the eggs in her basket looked intact.

Sorry to here about your 'episode', Cass. I hope the crew who turned out were nice to you (I'm sure they would be). It's nice to hear about the employees who said hi, too. I wonder if I would've written that job up. (Did you pull a whole load of product off the shelf when you fell? Was there a dog anywhere in the vicinity?...)

Hope all's good with you today. :)

Cassandra said...

Hahahaha! No, no product on the floor except the prescription I'd just picked up. I kneeled down and put my head on the seat of my walker, then went down from there. There wasn't even any head-smashing-on-the-floor. I imagine they probably didn't write it up, either. There wasn't anything that they did, really, besides get me up and talking and pushing me out to our vehicle on my walker.

(We'd been in a car accident that morning and my friend/ride was injured, though I wasn't. I didn't want her to be pushing me on the walker because her arm and leg were messed up. I have Addison's, so collapsing was a residual adrenal crisis thingie.)

Spence Kennedy said...

Wow - sounds like a fraught day! Car accident, collapse in the pharmacy. What did you do in the evening? (Fingers crossed it was a DVD and then bed).

So far I haven't gone to anyone who's crashed into a great pyramid display of cans in the supermarket (not that I think I've ever really seen a display like that). I did go to a guy who'd fainted whilst painting the outside of his house - fell back down the stoop and ended up on the pavement with a pot of magnolia on his head. Very Buster Keaton. And then a woman with a stroller walked through the whole thing and carried on as if nothing had happened, leaving a trail of paint up the street.

Hope you're good today, Cass - and your friend's arm & leg are better. :)

Cassandra said...

Yep, my friend is all healed up. Soft tissue damage, whiplash… thank goodness nothing devastating or permanent. It WAS quite the day, and not one I'd ever care to repeat. We joke about it now, of course, and we call it, "that one day, after Ren Faire". (The local Renaissance Festival ended the night before and my friend is a major player in it. Usually the crazy stories come from the antics DURING ren faire, not afterwards!) And yes, the evening went pretty much as you described. We made the trip back home (3 hours) uneventfully, though the smashed hood threatened to fly up and smack the windshield at one point, which was alarming, but other than that it was an uneventful ride and a calm evening. Thank GOD.

Regarding your fainting painter… that's embarrassing. Almost like it was staged. And the woman just walked on by?! Wait, were you guys there already? Because if someone were injured or whatever and the ambulance crew was already there I'd totally keep walking. Who wants a crowd? And I'd be in the way. I would, however, steer AROUND the puddle of paint.

Spence Kennedy said...

A friend of mine used to go to those Renaissance Fairs. They sound like fun. I wouldn't mind strolling around playing the mandolin, balancing stuff on my chin and then exit, pursued by a bear. Just so long as it didn't rain.

That's the thing about America, though. You always have such long drives to get anywhere... mind you, I wouldn't mind if I was driving in a cool pick-up ... dissolves into long, cross-US, open road driving fantasy...

Anyway - glad it was all okay.

The strange thing about that woman with the stroller was that she didn't acknowledge the extraordinary scene on the pavement at all. She wasn't even on the phone. She just kept on coming - right through the paint - on up the hill, staring straight ahead. Like a robot. I wonder what she was thinking about...?