Skip to main content

How to find bliss

Many people have spent much of their life looking for satisfaction, for bliss, for that feeling of being loved. I think I know where to find it. In the roof space of supermarkets.

Let me explain.

I know some people hate them, but I am very fond of supermarket self-checkouts. I like being able to zip through when other people are queuing. I like the speed with which I can make the transaction. And despite the complaints of the 'society is going to the dogs' brigade, I like not having to speak to another person when I'm in a hurry, feeling anti-social or generally not in the mood for inane chat.

If you use a self-checkout regularly you will be so familiar with those little remarks they make. 'Unexpected item in the bagging area' has  become a catchphrase. But there is one of these remarks that often gets missed - and this is why I think there's an opportunity for a feeling of being appreciated up in the ceilings of supermarkets.

The very last remark the machine makes is something like 'Thank you for using the fast lane' (or whatever they call it). But it is timed to play a few seconds after you pick up your bags. Now since the whole point of self-checkout is speed, I am (and I'm sure many others are) well on my way to the door at this point. So that 'Thank you' fails to hit the mark. There's no one there. My supposition is that the sentiment then drifts up to the ceiling to mingle with all the other unaccepted 'Thank you's. (I think 'thank you's are lighter than air, though I have no evidence).

So one day a worker is going to be up there, mending a pipe or something, and his head will enter this pool of unaccepted 'Thank you's. The impact should be quite shocking. It will be as if he has saved the world. There is a distinct danger of falling off the ladder.

So that's it. Want ultimate satisfaction? Search in a supermarket roof space.

Image from Wikipedia


  1. Brian, that was downright sweet. What a concept.

  2. Where do you think the muttered, muffled and swallowed expletives go to?

  3. They sink down and puddle on the floor. Be careful where you step.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Is 5x3 the same as 3x5?

The Internet has gone mildly bonkers over a child in America who was marked down in a test because when asked to work out 5x3 by repeated addition he/she used 5+5+5 instead of 3+3+3+3+3. Those who support the teacher say that 5x3 means 'five lots of 3' where the complainants say that 'times' is commutative (reversible) so the distinction is meaningless as 5x3 and 3x5 are indistinguishable. It's certainly true that not all mathematical operations are commutative. I think we are all comfortable that 5-3 is not the same as 3-5.  However. This not true of multiplication (of numbers). And so if there is to be any distinction, it has to be in the use of English to interpret the 'x' sign. Unfortunately, even here there is no logical way of coming up with a definitive answer. I suspect most primary school teachers would expands 'times' as 'lots of' as mentioned above. So we get 5 x 3 as '5 lots of 3'. Unfortunately that only wor

Why I hate opera

If I'm honest, the title of this post is an exaggeration to make a point. I don't really hate opera. There are a couple of operas - notably Monteverdi's Incoranazione di Poppea and Purcell's Dido & Aeneas - that I quite like. But what I do find truly sickening is the reverence with which opera is treated, as if it were some particularly great art form. Nowhere was this more obvious than in ITV's recent gut-wrenchingly awful series Pop Star to Opera Star , where the likes of Alan Tichmarsh treated the real opera singers as if they were fragile pieces on Antiques Roadshow, and the music as if it were a gift of the gods. In my opinion - and I know not everyone agrees - opera is: Mediocre music Melodramatic plots Amateurishly hammy acting A forced and unpleasant singing style Ridiculously over-supported by public funds I won't even bother to go into any detail on the plots and the acting - this is just self-evident. But the other aspects need some ex

Mirror, mirror

A little while ago I had the pleasure of giving a talk at the Royal Institution in London - arguably the greatest location for science communication in the UK. At one point in the talk, I put this photograph on the screen, which for some reason caused some amusement in the audience. But the photo was illustrating a serious point: the odd nature of mirror reflections. I remember back at school being puzzled by a challenge from one of our teachers - why does a mirror swap left and right, but not top and bottom? Clearly there's nothing special about the mirror itself in that direction - if there were, rotating the mirror would change the image. The most immediately obvious 'special' thing about the horizontal direction is that the observer has two eyes oriented in that direction - but it's not as if things change if you close one eye. In reality, the distinction is much more interesting - we fool ourselves into thinking that the image behind the mirror is what's on ou