Dunnes Stores are driving me mental. Driving me to the mental! To the mental arithmetic! And I had better explain – it’s those 10 Euros off tokens you receive when you spend 50 Euros or more. And I always spend more. Now in order to get maximum value for your 10 Euro token you should spend 50 Euros on the nose. Not a red cent more. But do you? Well I don’t. I can’t. I always end up spending more, a good bit more, than I want to. The best I ever did was fifty five Euros and a few odd cents. But that was pure luck. Now if there’s anyone out there who has mastered the art of bringing the total of one’s shopping to the 50 Euros exactly give me a call. Because I just can’t manage it. Okay so I start out well – at the fruit stalls, two punnets of mandarins for a fiver, two punnets of grapes for another fiver, two more of strawberries, another fiver and no problem whatsoever there – your spend is 15 Euros, neatly stored in your head. Then you buy some sticks of celery for 49 cents and some asparagus for €179 and maybe a small sliced for €1.49 and you throw in a few yoghurts at €0.85 each. And now the numbers are mounting up and the adding becoming that bit more demanding.
And, of course, you’re rounding the prices up and down as needs be until you remember that you forgot to get a bag of spuds so you nip back for those and while you’re in veg territory you grab some cherry tomatoes but by the time you get back you’ve lost count. But it’s early days so a quick scan of your trolley gets you back on track. And off you go on your merry shopping way. Until you bump into someone you know – a neighbour, a friend (quite possibly someone whose guts you hate but we won’t go there) anyway nothing will do but to make small talk; a supermarket aisle is no place for big talk, though I’ve had my moments. And the chit-chat could be about this or that but more than likely the weather or sport or health and before you know it you haven’t a pup’s notion what number was in your head - was it 25 Euros or 35 Euros or 27 Euros fifty cents? And no way are you going to start backtracking! It’s hardship enough doing one round of the supermarket aisles without having to reverse and retrace one’s steps and prices! Lough Derg wouldn’t be as punishing. Of course you could always bring a little note book with you or a pocket calculator or you could use the calculator on your phone and tot up as you go along. Ah but you wouldn’t, would you? Sure you’d look like a cheapskate, a miser. Then again, perhaps you ARE a cheapskate and a miser and couldn’t give a fiddlers what people think. Well more luck to you but don‘t blame me if people look at you askance. Very askance. Including me.
And here’s what happened to me on one occasion – as I wandered off, without the trolley, to get a pound of butter (which I’d forgotten), I bumped into an old school pal whom I hadn’t seen in ages and when we finished chatting – I couldn’t find the bloody trolley. And when I did retrieve it I hadn’t a pup’s notion how much I’d spent and said to hell with it. And the shopping came to well over 70 Euros, twenty Euros too much if you’re still with me; a small price to pay really for a good old chat with an old school pal.
And then there’s the other side of the coin, or the other side of the 10 Euros token, as in your shopping total only comes to 43 Euros 70 cents! And now you have to go galloping back to grab something for 6 Euros 30 cents to bring your total to the magic 50 Euros. But hey, there’s a queue of overflowing trolleys and overwrought housewives (and house husbands) behind you and so – dilemma time: do I go or do I stay? You go, of course, you need to get the value of your 10 Euro token. So, off you sprint and grab the nearest thing in sight, well not necessarily the nearest, you sprint to the aisle you are most familiar with: the wine aisle and grab a bottle which will fit the bill (pun intended) nicely and bingo you’ve hit the big Five O. In fact you’ve gone over. As usual. Gone well over because it’s a decent bottle of wine. But what the hell, you still get your ten Euros discount and another ten Euros voucher for the next shop when the same mental arithmetic, rigmarole ritual recommences. Again. And I’ll say it once again: Dunnes Stores - you’re driving me mental!