LAST Sunday, having nothing better to do, I agreed to tag along with my friend Mae while she did her food shopping.

Now for most people this should be a relatively easy and straightforward task. But not for Mae. Wandering through the town centre Mae suddenly came to a halt.

“Let’s go into the bakers Janice and I’ll buy my workmates a few treats.”

Unbeknown to me, the assistant behind the counter was an old pal of Mae’s and very quickly their banter began.

“Hi Mae, long time no see,” she greeted.

“Hi Lizzy.” Mae beamed.

“You still keeping bizzzzz…..y Lizzy?” 

I reckoned Lizzy must have heard that phrase a million times, however she retorted.

“Yep Mae, Bizzzz……y Lizzy as always, what can I get for you?”

“Make me up a selection of your freshest cakes please.”

“How about a cup cake?” Bizzy Lizzy suggested.

“When I crumb to think of it…….” Mae began with her signature outburst of puns.

“You’d better gimme a couple of Hot Cross puns too.”
Lizzy was quick to join in.

“You’re as half-baked as ever Mae.”

“And I still loaf your patter Lizzy.”

The queue of shoppers didn’t quite know what to make of the pair as Lizzy added.

“How about a fruit slice?”

“Now that’s raisin the bar Lizzy.” Laughed Mae.

“Make it two please.” 

“It’s always all or muffin with you Mae.”

“Donut think I’ll ever change Lizzy.”

I shook my head as Lizzy grinned.

“Aye, once a dumpling always a dumpling.”

“Your scone too far now Lizzy.”

“Aye, but you always rise to the occasion.”

Heading towards the door Lizzy shouted above the bemused customers.

“You’re still the best thing since sliced bread Mae.”

Mae gave Lizzy the thumbs up as I stood quietly trying to get my head around Mae and Lizzy’s recent antics.  Sauntering through Tesco 
I followed behind my pal like a faithful collie dog as she threw miscellaneous items into her trolley until……..

“Down this aisle Janice,” she ordered.

“Till I get a couple of tins of Coronation Milk.”

“Coronation Milk?” I queried.

“Yes, sometime it’s known as exasperated milk.”

“Do you mean evaporated milk?”


Mae looked at me as thought I had hearing problems.

“That’s what I said.”

I rolled my eyes as I followed her to the self-service check out. And that’s where the real fun began.

“Have you used the self-serve check-out before Mae?”

“Oh yeh,” she shrugged nonchalantly.

Being a novice self-scanner, I stood to the side as Mae unfolded a very tattered plastic bag and attempted to scan it. Next minute the till voice blared.

“There is an unexpected item in the bag area.”

“Here we go,” I sighed.

“It is a bag and it is in the bag area,” Mae muttered.

However, scanning a few items I assumed all was well until….

“Your item does not have a bar code,” the till voice bellowed.

“It does have a bloody bar code.” Mae was now irate.

Meanwhile the traffic light above the till was flashing and the till voice kept parroting: “Your item does not have a bar code, your item does not have a bar code.”

All eyes seemed to be on my pal who was now exasperated beyond belief.

“It would be as well screaming out ‘idiot at till.”

Mae squawked.

“Idiot at till.”

Meanwhile other shoppers were scanning effortlessly and all eyes seemed to be on us.

The assistant appeared yet again and attempted to make light of the situation.

“We call it barcode blindness in the trade. Barcode blindness?” Mae repeated.

“The bloody machine is a waste of time.”

Soon Mae was back on track, the lights stopped flashing and the till was once again quiet as she came to the end of her shopping.

“What are you looking for now Mae?” I wearily asked my pal as she frantically rummaged in her bag.

“I cannae find my loyalty card.”

Giving up on the loyalty card she attempted to finally pay for her goods and slotted her debit card into the machine.

Next minute she began rummaging in her bag again. This time for her mobile.

“It’s a new card Janice and the new pin code is in my phone.”

But as luck would have it the battery on her new phone had died, the card declined and was spat out by the talking till.

“No worries Mae, you can use my card and pay me back.” 

Breathing in the much needed fresh air, I watched as Mae sprung open the car boot right at the very second her worn and tattered Bag for Life fell apart.

Mae’s organic eggs were now scrambled, as was my head, and milk ran down the car park.

“Same time next Sunday?” She asked as I bade her farewell.

I shook my head and suggested.

“Mae, have you ever tried online shopping?”