Saturday, 23 February 2013

Times They Are a Changing (Part 2)

Are You Being Served?

So, I did step out into the world today, and I did open my eyes ... and it's a damn scary place! I stood in Spotlight with my daughter, who had to buy fabric for a sewing class.

My mum was a sewer, and I have memories of her buying Butterick and Vogue patterns, for a jumpsuit or flared pants, or, for a special occasion, a floor-length skirt! I remember the thin tissue paper patterns covering the dining room table. She used to make all my clothes. Some were more stylish than others! This involved lots of polyester (durable, yes, but no-one cared whether the fabric actually breathed!), and geometric patterns. I, of course, dreamed of owning shop-bought party frocks like my friends, who had less talented mothers ... like myself, funnily enough.

So, it was with some irony and chagrin that I found myself in Spotlight today! I only wished I'd paid more attention to my mother's sewing advice. I tried my hand at sewing, but I just didn't have the knack for it, much to my mother's disappointment. Today, though, I managed to assist my daughter as best I could, and we made our way to the counter. As we waited behind a couple being served, a rather large queue began to form behind us. Rainy days must bring out the craft in people!

Then, to my horror, in slow motion, I watched as a woman behind me leaned forward to take a number! I should have rushed over right there and then, but I was frozen to the spot. In succession, the entire herd of people behind me took number after number. Still, I stood like a grim statue. Surely, I thought, the woman behind the counter would understand. She could see that we'd been standing there patiently for 20 minutes. Surely, I reasoned, common sense would prevail? The couple in front finished their transaction and I felt the adrenaline flooding my system. I was ready to leap forward with my bolts of fabric and explain my predicament.

It was like a shoot-out in an old Western movie. Before I made it to the counter, I heard the woman say in a loud voice: "Number 22"! And before I could open my mouth, number 22 sprang from behind me and handed the woman her purchase. Finally, I spoke, in a rather pathetic squeaking voice: "I didn't know we needed a number ..."

The woman stared at me, expressionless. My daughter was elbowing me. "Just take a number," she hissed.

I turned around and saw the mass of people waiting, triumphantly holding their numbers. I looked into the woman's eyes, and I repeated: "I didn't know we needed a number ... It's my first time ..." My voice dwindled.

"How much?"
"Sorry?" I said.
"How much fabric do you want?"

With those words, my faith in humanity was restored. Maybe, it was divine intervention. Maybe, my mum was pulling some strings. If anyone could, she could! Maybe, the woman behind the counter was a softy hiding beneath a grim exterior. Maybe, all the stars were aligned. Maybe, it was the rain! Whatever happened, this woman was my new best friend!

Another story, another moral ... if you are ever in Spotlight buying fabric, take a number!


  1. I had the exact same experience in Spotlight once! And I mean, EXACT SAME, right down to me very meekly saying "I didn't know I needed a number" and the girl taking pity on me and serving me anyway. Hahaha! This made me laugh so much!

  2. We don't have to take numbers in the fabric/craft stores here in NJ, USA, but oh my heaven's!! I would have cried if that happened to me! And then I would have gotten so angry...with myself, with the people behind me, and with the clerk!! So glad to hear that she did the right thing and took you in turn. Very nice of her!

    I found your blog from a comment you posted on Fat Mum Slim. I'm loving this story and can't wait to delve into the next!!! You now have a reader who is "not married to you"!! lol

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I did feel like crying that day! It's amazing how such a little gesture can make a big difference.