Shopping. Some of us hate it. Some peeps, unfathomably, live to shop. Most of you probably fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. But you all have to do it at some stage, and you’ve all got our own little foibles. Nowhere is this as obvious as at the till. When you pay. In fact, customer tillerisms enable us to divide them into some fairly distinct categories…
- The super-organised control freak: These are usually ladies. They bring incredibly well pressed notes out of their immaculate, strangely flat purses, easily producing extra change if required with a careless flick of their perfectly manicured fingers. If paying by card, the card in question glides with irritating ease out of its allocated slot. One is left with the feeling that any money used is eerily replicated and replaced within seconds. Stepford shopping, this is.
- The Real Man: real men have Alpha male wallets. They are worn, but big and beefy (the wallets, that is: the men are frequently the opposite), and often have cowboy insignia embossed on the real rawhide front. Big though it may be, the Real Man’s wallet is never quite big enough, and there is always stuff spilling out: receipts, business cards, wads of cash. And an out of date family snap. This causes them to faff a lot at the till, and smile sheepishly. The Real Man secretly hankers after a manbag, but has learned to repress his feelings.
- The Student: is always 3p short. He or she has a wallet made out of recycled loo roll wrappers, and it contains more rollie stubs than actual coins. It also invariably contains a plectrum, regardless of the holder’s musical ability, as this is the epitome of student cool. Student purses are tiny, and involve much shaking thereof in order to extract anything at all. Sometimes a whip round amongst the student’s friends will actually make up the shortfall, but if not the shopkeeper is left with an apologetic grin by way of payment.
- The liberated woman: Liberated women are trying to wean themselves away from handbag use and save the world simultaneously. They either carry a range of cotton shoppers (which are just replacement handbags if you ask us), or wear cargos and parkas with an unfeasible number of pockets, or they have joined the trolley army. They are justifiably jaunty and happy with their stance…until they get to the till and cannot recall in which trouser or trolley compartment they put their purse. They also faff a lot.
- The Mature Citizen: this may actually be regarded as an age psychometric. There are quite a few mature citizens under 30, and conversely there are plenty of octagenarians who are not mature. The Mature Citizen is positively anal about change, you see. They are obsessed with giving you the right money, because they know that they have the right money, even if it means holding up a whole queue of other shoppers while they rummage. This sort of tillerism ranges from the really quite comical to the irksome, although of course in the truly elderly it can just indicate a sad and desperate lack of means.
- The Nouveau Riche: comes in and gives the shopkeeper his credit card before actually doing any shopping. They’re always male – but interestingly come in a huge range of nationalities. The NR does a lot of back slapping and hand-shaking too, and probably calls you ‘mate’. All very ‘hail fellow well met’. He really is not interested in the price of things – but the moment he thinks that he’s being taken for a ride, he’ll be out of there before you can say ‘holdiay-home-near-Malaga’. He likes to talk, the NR, and so the shopkeeper learns to allow more till time for him.
Bet we’ve missed some. Any shopkeepers reading this? Please leave your comments below…