Has anyone ever turned away a shopping delivery because it was early? I ordered my shopping online, as I do, and asked it to arrive between the hours of 6pm and 7pm on Saturday. I chose these times because Saturday was my day of being busy, of putting right what had gone wrong and of erecting a new gate in the back garden. Well, I say my day – my dad’s day. It was my day of holding things and passing stuff and making brews. Anyway, I figured everything would be done by 6pm and that the house would be calm and I’d be at rest.
We finished work on the gates and general garden tidying at about 3ish. We sat around in the garden chatting, drinking coffee and eating ice lollies until about 4. All was going. Everything would easily be done by 6. As I waved my parental units off at just after four I figured the first thing I’d do is go for a bath because, not to put too finer point on it, sweat was pouring down my back and through my arse-crack like Niagra Falls, and I was worried that someone would turn up and try to go down it in a barrel.
So I went for a bath. A nice, relaxing, not-too-hot bath.
I was in the bath, all-told, for about half an hour. The phone rang at about ten to five. At this time I was – again, no finer point – stark bollock naked. My parents wouldn’t be ringing, I’d just seen them. All of Carole’s friends and family know she’s in Paris (and if they didn’t I don’t know how they dodged that particular verbal bullet). The only person it could have been, apart from some bizarre cold-caller, was the man from Sainsbury’s ringing ahead to see if I was in a position to receive my shopping.
I didn’t get to the phone before he hung up. The answer phone had kicked in and the posh woman that lives in the phone had said that we were unavailable. I figured that the Sainsbury’s man would think we were out and come in the scheduled 6-7 slot.
I was wrong.
I dried myself at my leisure. As Kevin McAlister says in Home Alone, I paid attention to all my major crevices. I was dry, clean and fresh as a daisy. I threw on some clothes and came downstairs. Just in time, as it turns out, because out of the window I could see a Sainsbury’s van. And then there was a knock at the door.
I answered to find Alan, the delivery driver. He said, “I know I’m really early. I tried to ring but there was no answer.” Rather than say I was upstairs washing my undercarriage I said that I’d been out in the garden doing things and had heard the phone, but by the time I got to it I’d missed whoever had called. He seemed to buy this lie, and didn’t comment on the fact that I looked freshly washed and smelt slightly of lime soap. “Are you ok to take your delivery now?” he asked. But in a really timid way. As though people have said to him, “No, Alan. I am not ok to take my delivery now. You are clearly an hour early. This is not the standard of service I expect from a company like yours and I insist that you drive round and round the block until your clock tells you it is now the start of my alloted delivery hour. Only then my you return to my abode with my groceries.”
I said none of that. I was more than happy that he was an hour early.
He didn’t seem very amused when I asked if I got any of it free because he was early, though.