Inconvenience Stores, EFTPOS & The Death Of Community

I’ve told you about my morning ritual before. All I want in the morning is my coffee. This morning I had no milk. Fuck. I know it’s never gonna be a good day when I have to put pants on before I’ve had coffee but I know they won’t serve me at the shop if I’m not wearing pants. 

So pants, shoes, shirt, just like a normal person, eyes still crusted over with sleep I head off to the corner shop. 

My corner store is not a franchise, it’s a traditional mum & dad business run by an ancient Indian couple. They barely speak and they move with a Thorazine slowness that is infuriating when all you want is a metcard before you miss your train. Luckily, I have time this morning. I place the milk on the counter. The wizened old crone shuffles to the counter, looks the milk over, looks at me, peruses the chart next to the cash register. Four dollars. she mumbles through her three remaining teeth. You think I’m being unkind but it’s the truth. I realise that I only have 95 cents and a sweaty piece of chewing gum in my pocket. I shove it back in and pull out my wallet. Empty. I hand her my card. Minimum $10 EFTPOS she recites blankly. 

I know I have less than $10 in my account. I drank tequila last night with mates and I know there is no $10. I don’t have $10 in the account. I’ve got about 8 bucks ’til Wednesday. She is unmoved. $10 minimum purchase. I’m not impressed. I just need some milk so I can have coffee. Why? I ask. She doesn’t understand. Why $10? She looks at me like I’m a trouble maker, someone definitely not to be trusted. It’s the rule. $10. Like that explains anything. FUCK! I fuckin’ hate this shit. 

I’ve heard the various justifications and they all sound like complete bullshit. The banks charge us money on small purchases. I’d believe it, the banks are all cunts – that doesn’t justify it, though. Do you know how much these machines cost per month? Obviously not too much or you wouldn’t have one, you fuckin’ tight-arse! Blah blah blah. It’s fucked. I have money. I want to hand it over in exchange for goods. This is the way it works, isn’t it? The cunting banks just fuck everything, how many times can they charge fees for the same transaction? Aren’t they supposed to provide a service or put something back into the community? CUNTS!!! IOf course, it could just be a cheap upsell technique used by drowning businesses to coerce a few extra dollars from a desperate consumer, and I confess in the past I have bought shit I didn’t even want just to get the shit I needed. I’d probably do it today if only I ACTUALLY HAD TEN DOLLARS WHICH I FUCKING WELL DON’T!!!

So I stare at the old woman across the counter. I change tack. Could you just put it through? How about you charge me $8 for the milk. You double your money, I get milk, that has to cover your costs, yeah? She shakes her head and waves an index finger at me like a naughty child. No no no. $10 minimum. OK. That failed. In a last ditch effort: OK, can I just take the milk? I’ll pay you on Wednesday, I promise. Her eyes widen like she’s never heard anything so preposterous in her life – which is a long fucking time to not hear anything like this. No! She’s shouting at me Put it back if you don’t have money. You come back on Wednesday with money I sell you whatever you like. Go on! Get out! Get out of here!

She reached for a broom and was going to sweep me out of the fucking shop, for real. She grabbed it, raised the bristles at me and began to walk around the counter – I just left. You win, lady. FUCK!!! I’ve been going to her fucking dank, cockroach-infested shithole every couple of days for two years. Two fucking years and this is what I get for customer loyalty. I get swept away like garbage because I wasn’t spending ten lousy bucks. I can’t seriously go back there now. Not ever. I’m a fuckin’ person. I bought their overpriced shit because of convenience. FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING OLD BITCH!!! Where is compassion? Where is community? Where is the next nearest fucking shop to my house? FUCK! How fucking depressing. Black coffee, a big dose of humiliation and the loss of my corner store forever.

4 Responses to “Inconvenience Stores, EFTPOS & The Death Of Community”

  1. no milk in the coffee is not coffee at all 😦
    I feel your pain.

    how much milk costs $4?

  2. Hans Licht Says:

    I commiserate Buck. But, (I know this isn’t usually the sort of thing to be expressed in this place), I have a little story of hope for you.
    Every second day or so I pop over the road from work for a salad roll and some sacred brown fizzy drink. The lasses in there know how to make a roll with plenty of everything, including beetroot, which should be eaten if only because of it’s name. I’d been patronising this store for some months because of the quality of the food, and the price. $10 is enough for lunch! A roll with drink was $9.55. Good value!
    So this particular day I arrived, the lass gave me a smile, and made up my lunch without a word. She knew what I wanted, a number 9 on multigrain with ham and just a little mayo. She made it up in front of me and took the time to pat the beetroot a little to ensure I wasn’t leaking scarlet sandwich juice down the sleeves of my white glo-weave. I pulled my drink from the fridge and went for my wallet which wasn’t there. i looked up with a grimace and told her I was going to have to come back in a bit to pay. She looked into the back of the shop to see her boss busy baking and just passed it over with a wrinkle nosed shrug! The gorgeous little thing was letting me off in silence so I said thank you as if nothing was awry and hoofed it.
    As I ate my sanger back at work I was plagued with guilt and decided to nip back to pay. So I grabbed my wallet and ran back over only to find the girl who had served me replaced with another I’d never seen before. Fortunately there were customers in front of me and I had time to size her up. Another couple came in behind me and I let them through, pretending that I was an indecisive idiot who didn’t know what he wanted for lunch. GOD those people give me the cunt. WHAT? It’s a bakery for fuck’s sake. Pie, Pasty or a sanger wuckfit. What were you expecting, roast du fucking jour?
    So the couple order, exit and I sidle up to the counter and recount quietly what had transpired. I didn’t want to get beetroot girl in the shit, but I figured I could just pay and it’d be o.k.
    I only had a five in my wallet. I looked up and saw in black texta on a shitty scruff of paper, blu-tacked to the side of the register “min. $10 EFTPOS”. I proffered my plastic and she just rang up the $9.55 and said “Credit or savings?” I said “it’s less than ten”, she said “That’s o.k. don’t worry about it.”
    So there’s some community left out there Mr Frain! Yes most of the people that surround us are half witted mallards that couldn’t reason inductively if you shoved three volumes of Socrates up their gummy shit holes. My experience is that some people have a semblance of empathy and reason, and when you find it, it’s good.

  3. Buck Frain Says:

    @ planetross

    That’s 2 litres. You can get it cheaper at the supermaket but at the old inconvenience stores, that’s what you pay…if you have the cash. 😉

    @ Hans

    Nice turn of phrase 🙂 glad life is being kinder to you.

  4. i am quite friendly with my deli owner and it turns out that it IS a charge they make up. once i was in the same situation and i wanted a sausage roll which was $2.50, she confessed to me that the minimum charge is total bull and let me use my credit card for that amount. some of them are nice, i swear!

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