For Dave, who says he misses my little offerings.
In the supermarket they have a section for stuff that's past its best, but isn't actually against the law yet. I always check it out - with judicious timing and a willingness to adapt, I can save myself a fistful of florins on a good day.
It used to be a polite forage, but these days it's a scrum. I guess maybe people are that much more appreciative of a bargain in the current climate. I expect in garages they're all clustered round the pump with last week's petrol in it. It may be slightly stale and there's a worrying smell of benzene, but it's quite good enough to get you to the children's party with the cheap toy off the market and the fig rolls you don't want to risk on your own kids. It's tough times out there, and we're all cutting corners we never wanted to, or thought we'd ever have to.
There's no queueing at the cheap counter, the only place in England where this is true. I don't push, I'm not prepared to push, so sometimes it takes a while to get in. I was quite pleased last week when I managed to pull out a free range chicken and some rolls before being edged out by keener appetites. I was hovering round the fringes like one of the smaller chimps, waiting for a chance to nip back in while the alphas were hurling dung at each other, when suddenly someone grabbed both items out of my shopping basket, then dropped them back in again. If there's one thing worse than having your bargains stolen it's having them not stolen, and I was about to remonstrate with the non-thief when I realised it was the shelf stacker, who up to now had been amusing himself by throwing yellow ticketed tidbits into the melée as if they were buns.
He'd made my items even cheaper. They were already reduced, but now I had a whole free range chicken for three pounds. This is unheard of. It's also an odd strategy from the point of view of the supermarket.
I thanked him and he smiled. I think he just did me a favour, for no advantage to himself and at some personal risk. It's the little acts of resistance that warm your heart. They're the real augurs of the coming times.