The world is full of such a wonderful variety of things. Unfortunately faceless people seem more and more to make our choices for us. Yes, yet again I’ve been indulging in the national sport of pensioners: complaining.
I need a bottle of Graham’s bog standard 20 Euro port. Okay, I don’t need it, but I do desire it. Of which, more anon. I checked the supermarket website and lo and hip hooray behold, they sell it. Not in Dublin 6 however. I asked the lad who was building a pyramid of six-packs and he said they don’t stock it, can’t get it and why didn’t I just buy a bottle of Cockburn’s and leave him in peace. I made that last bit up.
Well, I thought, this can’t be right, so I had the manager bing-bonged and he explained the situation to me. The word ‘allowed’ cropped up several times, as in ‘only allowed to stock things on their approved list.’ The list is drawn up by God or perhaps some higher authority, like the Deputy Chief List Maker. I said I could understand that space was limited but I wasn’t asking them to stock Graham’s port. I was merely asking them to get me one bottle, especially as they had so tantalisingly advertised it on their website. But orders for single bottles aren’t allowed. See? That word again.
By then my ambition to buy a bottle of port had been overtaken by a longing to overthrow the system. I said, ‘And while you’re here, there’s something else. Why do you play this rubbish music? Look around you. Every customer in sight is older than me and I’m no youngster. Do you really think we want to listen to this?’
And he said… yes, you’ve guessed it… ‘I’m afraid it’s the only music we’re allowed to play.’
So, Superquinn. Not so Super, after all. I often fear I’ll end my days as a former writer turned shelf-stacker but this makes me give thanks for the freedom of being self-employed. I may not know when the next pay cheque will arive but at least I can choose my own music.
The search for Graham’s affordable port continues. There’s a bottle in a branch of O’Brien’s in Limerick, apparently. Oh, the cruel tease of computerised stock control.