People try to put us d-down.*

Picture the scene. I’d just dropped my elder two and their friend off at their club. Conscious that I had promised to post a cheque (and was out of stamps) I popped into the supermarket on my way home.

I stood in the queue of nicotine addicts and lottery hopefuls waiting for my turn to be served. A bustling manager and a ‘youth’ were serving. Youth finished with his customer and looked at me expectantly.

“Six second class stamps, please.”

“Oh… We don’t do them. We only do 12s.”

“Oh, Right. How about first class?” (Racking my brain to remember exactly how extortionate 1st class stamps are.)

“Hold on… Yes! We do them in 6s and 12s!”

Short pause as my over-tired brain does the calculations. (I’m hoping to get the correct change for two school dinner monies the following day, plus we aspiring writer types need to hold on to our limited supplies of cash for hanging out in garrets, starving – bar for the odd large slab of chocolate.)

Pause is correctly interpreted.

“…We do large 2nd class stamps in 4s…?”

“Oh? Large… second class? How much are they?”

Youth swipes the large 2nd class stamps and looks at me doubtfully after we both inspect the astronomical number on the till display. Manager choses this moment to make a ‘helpful’ comment explaining the concept of ‘large’.

Here it comes.

“Sorry!” says youth. “I don’t know much about stamps… my generation just use email.”

“Oh yeah? Well my generation knew better than to make remarks about ‘my generation’ to their elders and… to their elders.” Was what I didn’t say.

Instead I mutter, “Yeah, well sometimes you just need to post a cheque.”

Youth looks sceptical. I realise he has almost certainly never had a cheque book. He has probably never seen a chequebook.

And now for the irony. The irony is that I only needed to post a cheque to pay the outstanding amount owed for my (scrumptious) KellyBronze Christmas turkey, which (conditioned by our modern ‘cashless’ economy) I hadn’t had enough hard cash to pay for in full at the time. The seller – a farmer/business man – being of ‘my’ generation (i.e. quaint and old-fashioned) and knowing I was a returning customer, had suggested that I pop a cheque in the post when it suited. I had realised today (with slight alarm) that this was still due, sent a quick email to double-check if the seller accepted PayPal (with low expectations, duly met) and had hence set out on my mission – heck, at my age let’s call it an adventure – to purchase a stamp.

*For readers under a certain age – the title is a quote from a song from ‘the olden days’…

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