Saturday, February 23, 2008


I went to the supermarket on Thursday night, filled up a shopping trolley with groceries, then couldn't find my wallet. I parked the trolley quietly in an aisle while I went out to check the car and the carpark. I assumed I had just left home without it, so I drove home for a quick look (mindful that all my meat and dairy stuff was warming up by the second). Got home and rummaged. Gave up, drove back to the supermarket. I wanted to ask if anyone had handed a wallet in at the checkouts, but I didn't want to ask this with a full trolley in front of a queue of people. In a foul mood, I walked around the supermarket putting back the stuff that seriously needed to stay cold. Then I took what was left and joined the (very long) queue. When I finally got to the front, no wallet had been handed in. It had only had about 20¢ in it, but I was sunk without all the cards.

The lady on the checkout is very nice, a motherly Chilean lady named Soledad. Months ago I had a chat to her about Chile, having visited there nearly 20 years ago. I've wanted to continue, but its hard to talk to someone about their dear far away homeland in 2 minute sessions. Her name translates as "Solitude" or even "Loneliness". She said she was the youngest of 10 kids and her mother had just run out of names. Anyway - I gave her my name and phone number and said "I'm just leaving this trolleyload here, I've put back the meat, I've really got to go."

I drove home with no wallet and no food. Yesterday I cancelled my bank card, and devoted several hours to hunting all over the house for documents I could use to get a new drivers licence. I could not lay my hands on enough to qualify. As a last resort I called the police Lost and Found. They had my wallet! I shot down there and picked it up, then went to the bank and got out some cash to last a week or so until the new card comes in the mail.

Last night I went back to the soopy to deal with unfinished business. I shopped in record time as I knew exactly where everything I wanted was. When I got to the fruit & veg section, a burly greek employee was crashing pallets of oranges and apples around very angrily and swearing. His anger was not overtly directed at anyone or anything in particular, but I deduced as I quietly picked out my bananas and celery that this guy might have got the job of putting back all my groceries.

So, two lessons here. Call the Lost and Found first, not last. And do not go back to the same supermarket at the same time of day that you abandoned a large trolley of slightly rummaged-through perishables. Actually three lessons - number 3 is don't lose your wallet.

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