HUMOUR: Customers by Janet Gogerty
The shop was so quiet I wondered if I had made a mistake moving to a market town. I didn’t mind the minimum wage, there was nothing to spend money on around here, but it was the boredom I couldn’t take.
I looked up as a loud voice bellowed from the aisle, was this the local looney? No, just a kind son taking his deaf mother shopping. The only other customers were on the other side of the shop, a screaming toddler strapped in a buggy pushed by her great granny, or perhaps a great great granny. The little old lady was trying to reach the disposable nappies on the top shelf. I could not leave the till and the other staff were in the stock room coping with the delivery.
And then he walked in. Tall and broad shouldered with burnished copper curly hair. He stared at me with a supercilious expression then wandered down the centre aisle, his shoulder brushing against a stack of toilet rolls, sending them to the floor. He turned into the next aisle and the mother and son moved aside for him. No one spoke. As he walked, a tower of tins came crashing down. I pressed the help button, without much hope of help coming.
As he walked back towards me the look in his eyes had turned to anger. I could not move out of his way and I was sure he intended to stab me.
At last the silence was broken as a new customer came in.
‘There’s a bull in the shop!’
The eye level horns veered away from me and he trotted down the third aisle. His head swayed and the tip of his horn caught the disposable nappies, a large packet dropped into the grateful arms of the great granny. The toddler stopped crying and called out excitedly ‘Doggy’.
My finger was still pressed on the help button, but it seemed my colleagues had decided to stay locked in the store room.
Now through the door came a hunky young man with ruddy cheeks, chestnut wavy hair and a beard to match. He strode forward whistling, a hefty rope strung over his shoulder.
‘Come on Birtie, you’ve spent all your pocket money.’
Bertie did a three point turn, demolishing all the shelves. Then he lowered his head and charged towards his fleeing master.