Down at the local Fish and Chips shop, I was getting extremely excited.
No, it wasn’t down to the fact that I wouldn’t
have to cook our dinner, or that - being as a fishy supper was Mr B’s suggestion - my Other Half would eat and enjoy his meal (which sadly isn’t always the case.) The reason for my excitement was, purely and simply, that having collected nine stamps
on my Loyalty Card, I was entitled to a free medium cod and chips. I was beside myself with joy. Now that foreign holidays in sunny climes or eat-all-you-fancy cruises are out of our reach, one has to find joy in unexpected places. Like the local chippy, for
I had reached the door of the chippy at almost the same moment as a young fella but he managed to get to the counter and place his order before me. I
wasn’t fussed, to be honest, I was hugging to myself in delightful anticipation the thought of the sheer pleasure I would feel when I presented my card, complete with its nine proud stamps.
My turn to order and the owner of the chippy took my card and tore it in half which seemed harsh treatment for something which meant so much to me. My bill for our two meals (including a pickled onion for Mr B - 50p, but I
was happy to pay out being, as you know, the Last of the Big Spenders) came to just £4.30. What a fishy bargain!
The fella who had beaten me to the front
of the queue had been watching me place my order and claim my free meal with stunned astonishment. Why had nobody ever told him, he queried crossly (one beady eye on the chip shop owner) that he, too, could have benefited from a Loyalty Card? So often did
he frequent the chippy, he said, that he could have enjoyed dozens of free meals over the period of his custom. As a new father of a three month old son he was already sleep deprived and to find himself missing out on something else as well as sleep was Almost
Too Much To Bear. I fetched him a blank loyalty card from the counter; it seemed the least I could do.
The chippy owner told us it was strange how few people
took advantage of his loyalty cards. Some people, indeed, are quite, well, sniffy at the thought of them. As a result, he had given up offering them, instead just leaving them on the counter where Loyalty Card Obsessives (such as I) could find them and pick
them up. The Sleep Deprived Dad didn’t seem to find this an acceptable excuse. He was busy calculating how many free medium cod and chip meals he had missed out on and how much this might have cost the chippy owner, had he (as in, the Sleep Deprived
Dad - do keep up, won’t you?) been collecting his stamps like other people.
I thought it might be a good idea to divert his attention, just in case
the chippy owner decided that a loyalty card scheme was not such a good idea after all. I had dozens of loyalty cards, I admitted, many of them from establishments I had only ever visited once and would probably never visit again. I kept these cards in a special
purse which I called my “Just In Case” purse. Both the Sleep Deprived Dad and Mr Chippy gazed at me in what might have been awe but was more likely bemusement. I hastily decided to turn my attention to the pages of a rather old edition of Vogue
which I spotted on a low table in the waiting area, lest I should be unable to stop myself recounting all the times I have been able to redeem a Loyalty Card.
had purposely paid my visit to the Fish and Chip shop before (i) darkness descended; and (ii) the threatened snow did likewise. I allowed myself a brief self-congratulatory smile when those flakes began to fall. Did you know that Somebody Unknown has decided
that snow can be described as either “thin snow” or “fat snow”? At first I thought it slightly ridiculous but the more I thought of it, the more appropriate it seemed. This is half my trouble: I can almost always see both sides of any
Unless we’re talking Loyalty Cards, of course. Why would anybody turn up their nose at the thought of earning themselves a free meal?
What price, Loyalty?
Medium cod and chips, anyone?