• Charli

Last Minute

He works in retail – has done for more than 20 years and one of the biggest bug-bears He has is when a customer, or customers come in to the shop at the last minute.

It’s a bit of a dilemma really. A shop might shut at 6pm, for example, but up until that point they are open and if someone can spend even a minute or two looking at or for something then there might be an increased chance that they will return. However, books have to be balanced, trains or buses caught and so the retailer will often be ready to literally shut up shop a good 5-10minutes before the official closing time.

Yesterday I had to be that last minute customer, and for dog food of all things! I meant to get some on Saturday and forgot. NB Pet Centre is closed on Sundays and I knew the rest of this week was going to be busy. Although He is off tomorrow He can’t drive so all that sort of stuff is left to me.

So I packed up work in what I thought was plenty of time, only to find that by the time I had checked on two pupils who are editing a piece for the BBC School Report, chatted to a colleague, logged off computer and packed up my bag I was leaving it very tight to get to North Berwick by 5pm.

Of course it was a beautiful day and so there were plenty of folk who had chosen the ‘rush hour’ to go for a sedate drive through the East Lothian countryside. Fine on any other day but not when I am in a rush. I tried to reassure myself that it wasn’t so desperate, Jack could manage with something else for a few days and I could try to remember on Saturday again. But then again he does have a sensitive tummy and I would still have to get to a supermarket to buy whatever was on offer. Besides we have a loyalty card scheme with Eukanuba at the pet shop.

I made it. I parked the car on the High St, grabbed  my already over-stuffed leather rucksack, because to look for my purse would have taken too long and ran back to NB Pet Centre. I apologised as I rushed in to see the retailer cashing up, smiling broadly, keeping chatty, trying to make it all ok. It was all ok, because that is the beauty about shopping locally. People get to know you, and he knows that I could have gone elsewhere but chose to drive like a bat out of hell to give him my business.

Jack’s happy, I’m happy and at the end of the day NB Pet Centre can be happy too with my last minute splurge.

Last Minute – a poem

During that last minute I have watched your face

you can not see me, do not hear my voice;

your gaze is turned to someone else

all your senses transfixed on one prize.

I turn to leave too fast, too soon, stumbling

out into the bright day. Suddenly crumbling.

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