It’s Friday! I’m standing in the
cosmetics aisle in Boots. I am ALONE.
CHILDLESS. And mildly traumatized after dropping my screaming daughter off at
‘She’ll settle in soon,’ they said … 3 WEEKS AGO!!
The morning started productively enough. I sat in a café for an hour writing a list of the things I need to achieve (as opposed to going home and actually doing them), and drank an extremely motivating full fat cappuccino. With a teeny-weeny chocolate brownie on the side.
And then I find myself in the 3 For 2 section, looking at all the shiny boxes. I glance at my tired reflection in one of the mirrors.
‘Where do I start?’ I say to myself with a sigh.
I choose a combination of youth enhancing day cream (OPTIMISTIC), light coverage foundation (DENIAL), and enhanced anti-aging serum (REALITY), and head for the till … grabbing an extra-large bag of Maltesers on the way.
‘I’m afraid one of these products isn’t included in the 3 For 2 offer’, the shop assistant says.
I look at the growing queue of people behind me and race to swap the foundation.
Scanning the products I pick up a pot of early defense cream, but put it straight back down as I realise it is WAY too late for that.
Exfoliator? Seriously? Who’s got time for that s**t?
I look back at the line of impatient faces glaring at me. Arghhh!
I grab a miniscule tube of ADVANCED eye cream, run back to the cashier and she scans the new product.
‘This one is not in the deal either!’
There is much tutting and sighing behind me.
I can feel my skin ageing from the stress. I run back to the other side of the shop and grab a face peel kit … I am desperate.
I hand it over. Oh no. What does that look mean?!
‘That one DOES qualify, but you won’t get your free gift. Will that be ok?’
‘I don’t need a free giiii’ ... oooooooh. I spot the free gift display. Dammit. I DO want that!
‘I’ll be right back,’ I say looking at the floor and rushing back to the cosmetics.
As I return to the till for the millionth time a customer standing behind me says, ‘Are you sure that’s what you want?’
Hmmm, did I detect a hint of sarcasm in that comment?
I pay and power walk to the exit. I swear I hear someone clapping as I leave.
I look at the receipt.
S E V E NT Y P O U N D S!!!!
At least my skin will look good during the divorce proceedings! I start walking away and suddenly stop. Guilt takes over.
I wrap my face with my scarf and skulk back into the shop, totally disguised. Or so I think.
‘YOU AGAIN?’ the cashier BOOMS across the shop.
To the utter horror of the waiting customers I am beckoned to the front of the queue
‘Maybe you want to serve these people first?’ I ask sheepishly.
The woman behind the till ignores me completely.
‘What’s the problem Madam?’
Now? Or with life in general?
‘I would like to return some of these’, I reply, emptying the bag on the counter.
‘All of them?’ I whisper.
She picks up the Maltesers. I grab them back. ‘Apart from these’.
I dare you!
The exasperated cashier scans each product back through, but the till doesn’t seem to be working. She is getting more and more agitated.
I can hear two ladies behind me complaining very loudly about me jumping the queue.
I lean forward. Just to put a few more inches between me and ‘them’.
‘This scanner is just not working ... let me call the Manager to help’.
I lay my head on the counter. Kill me now!
I am about to offer everyone a Malteser, when the refund goes through …
I leave the shop as quickly as possible. Without looking back!
‘Great. That was child-free time well spent,’ I say to myself as I march down the road.
‘Onwards and Upwards’ I sing in an over optimistic voice … Oh my God! Did I really just say that? I sound like my mother!