by James LeaveyWhere angels fear to readThe other day I made the mistake of going hunting for some rolling nicotine for The Creature Who Must Be Obeyed a.k.a. the beloved wife, in a British supermarket instead of my usual specialist tobacco shop in Dublin.
That'll teach me.
Stepped up to the counter where an indifferent young female sales twit was yawning in front of an anonymous shuttered cupboard that resembled something out of an Ann Summers sex shop.
'Do you sell tobacco?' I bellowed, in an attempt at waking the twit to do what presumably she was being paid for.
She barely glanced at me. 'That's for me to know,' she muttered, 'and you to find out.'
'Don't strain your tiny brain on my account,' I replied. 'I'm only one of those rare customers standing here with folding money and not the usual plastic you're used to. I could easily spend it elsewhere.
'Now, open your beady eyes, switch on what's left of your demented grey matter and read my fucking lips: what exactly do you have on sale?'
Disgruntled, and desperate to get back to her slumbers, the twit looked at the ceiling and the long queue of patient smokers behind me, some of whom were losing the will to live, and said, languidly pointing to a wall 10 feet away, 'There's a list over there.'
I crashed my empty shopping basket (I'd only picked it up out of habit) on the counter in front of her and said, 'Don't even think about the next customer. As if. I'll be right back.'
Then I strolled to the wall, where, hanging with the aid of a bit of Blue tack was an A5 sheet of white paper listing various types of tobacco, in no particular order, printed in 2 point Times New Roman italics.
I then strolled, at a snail's pace, back to the front of the queue, ignoring the stares and muttering.
'I can't read that bloody list for I haven't got me reading glasses or a microscope. Please read it for me, if you can.'
The twit smiled and snarled, 'Not allowed to. That's the law.'
'Well, that's fine,' I responded, resting my arms on the counter and spotlighting her deliberate indifference with a full hard stare that would melt the bollocks off a donkey.
'Then you can call the manager and get him – or God Help Us – another useless object like you, you apathetic unhelpful mooning gobshite – to read it nice and slowly for me. And when we're through, and only then, you can do the same for all the poor sods behind me who have had enough of your fucking rudeness.
'And don't be in a hurry. I've got all day.'