It was a quiet day at the shop. I popped across the road to the bakers during the morning to get my lunch and met friends on the opposite pavement. They asked if I had time for coffee - I went back to check with Tim and said I'd be 20 minutes. I returned, eventually, and apologised for being half an hour or so. "Hm, and the rest" he said, checking the clock.
Wednesday afternoon is traditionally early closing day and, although not many shops do still close, it's still the least busy afternoon of the week. I sat and read the paper in between serving customers. Nina came in. She is elderly and depressed, and a ten minute conversation dampened my spirits considerably.
Later, I caught a movement out of the window (there is shelving outside which means I can see out better than others see in, but the view is partly obscured). A little girl had been by the outside display and was running across the road to a car. She handed two objects in through the open window; two hands accepted them and then reached out again to help her in the window. I stalked out and across the road, looking rather more carefully than the child had. "Excuse me?" I demanded. "Did that little girl take some apples?" The apples were thrust into my hands by a child whose face went from a smile to shock in an instant. I told her that she should not encourage her little sister to behave so badly and said other suitably telling-off things. I marched back over the road and told a customer who had just entered the shop about it. We grumbled to each other and then I went back to the car. "I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to tell your mother or father about this when they get back to the car" I said. "It wasn't me, I didn't tell her to do it, I didn't know" said the child, who was about 10. "You were smiling when she came back and you took the apples," I accused.
I did, too. I told her sympathetically and made it clear that it wasn't the apples, but that I felt she should know. I'm afraid those little girls will have got a rocket. Not only was their mum horrified (how embarrassing, I was so sorry for her) at what had happened, but she had left a child old enough to be responsible for her little brother and sister for a very short time while she popped into a shop, and the 7 year old had got out of the car and crossed the road, when she had told them to stay in the car.
You know, if that older kid had been brave enough and honest enough to say she was sorry, but she had dared the little one and she would take responsibility, I'd have given her a gentle ticking-off and probably even given them the apples (local Worcesters, probably worth about 24p), it was trying to dump the blame on the child that annoyed me.
Anyway. The takings were £100 down on yesterday, but that's how Wednesdays are. Tomorrow is market day (yes, a large fruit & veg stall) so the town will be a lot more lively.
Oh, and this week, after a gap of some 30 years, Boots the Chemist has returned to Yagnub. MacDaniells had been our chemist for years and years, until Mr Mac retired and sold out; the people who bought it already owned a small chain of fairly local chemists, but it's never been so good. Now they have sold out too. Boots used to have a shop here, which they rather strangely sited next to Mr Mac's; evidently trying to squeeze him out of business, but it backfired. Locals didn't care for this behaviour and pretty well boycotted the shop. All at least 30 years ago, now. Apart from the Co-op, now outside the town centre, and the newsagent, this is the first and only national chain store in Yagnub.