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Wednesday 1 October 2008

Vanity equals embarrassment…..

So I was over in Kirkwall this morning to do a bit of shopping and stock up the cupboards. The autumn weather has arrived which generally results in wet and windy days and I have less desire to venture forth. Anyway on arrival in town I did my usual and went for breakfast and then pottered around the shops. In A Well Known Chemist (AWKC) I was browsing the cosmetic racks and decided to treat myself to some fairly expensive new product (as seen on TV….) No it was NOT anti-wrinkle cream. The time for that is long past, now I just need poly-filler. No this was just a new face powder. So I go to the counter and feeling a need to justify my purchase to the young girl who is serving me, I explain that I thought I would just pamper myself a little. I then caught a glimpse of my reflection in the counter – hair sticking up, eyes watering from the wind, nose bright red….. and I thought the impeccably made up “Customer Assistant” with not a hair out of place probably thought “Blimey she needs more than a dab of powder to make any difference to THAT!”. So I sloped off to the local Tesco (supermarket) wondering whatever happened to the smartly suited, high heel wearing, make-up adorned woman I used to be…….. (Answer: she found her freedom!).

However my ignominy was not to end there. Coming out of Tesco with my shopping trolley (cart) piled high with goodies the security alarm went off. I backed away from the door – couldn’t be me I thought, and advanced once again. More loud clanging sounds… Cue advancing Security chappy. Now there had been some disgust voiced locally about Tesco coming to town and employing security guards – in ORKNEY! Whatever next. Um… well there I was, my whole face blushing to match my nose……. Security guard takes me to one side. Did I have any DVDs in my trolley he asks, eyeing it up hopefully for stolen merchandise. Nope I reply. Any bottles? Nope I again reply – well unless you count Pasta Sauce? He didn’t. So he starts rummaging through my shopping. By this time a bit of a crowd is gathering all pretending to inspect the latest crop of tatties (potatoes) on a nearby stand but really watching to see What Happens Next….. I overhear one woman say “Well she eats healthy anyway” as the fruit and veg get put to one side…. to reveal the chocolate and cake underneath. “No she doesn’t!” declares another triumphantly. I hear someone wondering who I was. “Maybe her name’ll be in the paper this week” says another. I’m thinking “Oh the SHAME!! A court appearance…. ” but hang on I’m INNOCENT!!!! Then we go through the DVD and bottles question again – duh – haven’t you just examined all my bags in the trolley?? OK I’m now wondering whether I was about to be escorted to a side room and body searched. Would there be police….

Suddenly I thought AHA! Only seemingly I’d said it out loud too and everyone stopped and looked. Anyway I said to the chap I DID buy cosmetics in AWKC. And opened my handbag. Of course being environmentally minded these days I had refused a shop-logo bag in the chemist..... so there sitting neatly in my handbag is a very expensive pot of powder with the security tag still on it and no evidence of payment... Fortunately they don't sell that brand in Tesco! (Yeah it was THAT expensive). So security chap walks up to door and off the alarm goes. Of course now I'm frantically trying to remember what I did with the receipt for the powder but by this time the security chap had lost interest. Apparently you can steal from other shops just not Tesco....... But trying to exonerate myself and show that I DID NOT steal it from ANYWHERE I said “But I walked through AWKC and the security thingy didn’t go off”, Ah yes he said – they don't switch theirs ON! But he said if I go into Sutherlands now or Mackays I'll set their alarms off too. Apparently the cosmetics and stuff arrives at AWKC with security tags and they don't deactivate them because they don’t use their security system........ He's saying this to me very quietly, I meanwhile am repeating loudly parrot fashion so that the small crowd now dispersing in disappointment DOES NOT go off spreading the word about Graemsay folk.......

Sometimes I don’t think I’m safe to be allowed out on my own……..


  1. Oh, Sian, what a funny story! I feel your embarrassment, and am just glad you remembered the face powder in time to exonerate yourself.

    I had a similar though much less embarrassing experience the other day at the library. I had worked the bookstore and only entered the library proper to turn in the keys and receipts, and when I left, I set off the alarm. Afterward, I realized it was a videotape I had bought at the bookstore -- they don't remove the magnetic thingies from those when they turn them in for sale for some reason. At the time, I'm sure I took on a guilty look, but the librarian just waved me on my way, so it probably happens all the time to volunteers who staff the bookstore. Humph! Our reward for volunteering.

  2. Great stuff, Sian. You couldn't make it up, could you?

    I'm off to "The Toon" on Thursday and I'm going to follow my trip to Boots with a visit to Tesco. I think we'll call it "doing a Sian".

  3. Pat - still haven't tried the face powder but think of my experience every time I glance at it on the dresser!

  4. Malc - you'll be getting us isles folk a bad name!