Dot writes: this morning my plan was to work in Dalkey library, thus saving the need to buy a DART ticket and lose an additional two hours of family time to commuting. It was a great plan right up to the moment when a teenage girl sat down opposite me who was sniffing, texting, squelchily chewing gum and listening to a very audible iPod all at the same time. I glared at her for a bit and then packed up to go home for lunch.
I had some shopping to do on the way, and it was in the queue at the Eurospar that I encountered the question of etiquette I wish to put before our readers. What is the politest thing to do when the person in front of you in the queue turns out not to have enough money to pay? In this case it was an old lady who presumably didn’t have a debit card, or didn’t have enough money in her account to use it. She asked to put an item back, but the cashier had to wait for a supervisor to provide a code before she could void the transaction; the queue grew longer and longer as the lady stood there in her embarrassment. Then she mislaid the five euro note she’d had in her hand only a moment before, so there was a further spasm of befuddlement (it turned up in the shopping bag). I was seriously tempted to offer to give her the money she needed. It could only have been a couple of euro (the returned item was a bag of muesli). I imagined airily offering to lend the money – knowing we probably wouldn’t meet again, but that it might save her face a little. But I thought even that would just make things worse. Instead, when the lady had eventually paid and apologised to me for keeping me waiting, I said “Don’t worry, it’s happened to me.” Which is true in a sense – I have more than once found there’s less cash in my purse than I thought – but I would have used a debit card. The old lady was slightly incredulous but seemed to be comforted anyway.
What would you have done, if anything?
P.S. Frank has the first tiny point of a tooth! I found out the hard way but am still delighted for him. All that dedicated gnawing had to pay off some time.