The fruit of our labours

There I was in the supermarket going about my mundane business and there he was, face contorted with concentration, arm outstretched , staring intently at the fruit he was holding as it hovered agonizingly close to the required position. He looked for all the world like a conductor of an orchestra just before the music plays, except that, instead of a baton in his hand, he was brandishing his bananas. After a few excruciating seconds a broad smile lit up his face and he dumped the fruit to one side and reached furtively for a bag of plums. I couldn't bear to watch , such was the tension in the air.

The thing is, this whole operation was designed with only one objective - to save a few coppers on the shopping bill. What this chap was doing, you see, was holding his purchases over the self-service weighing scales in such a way as to register them, but not at their full weight. The plums would touch the scales but he wasn't allowing their total worth to be recorded. It's quite a delicate operation , I would imagine. For example, you can't give the cashier two kilos of kiwis with a ticket on stuck them that says one hundred grams, so you would have to burst a few veins in your neck finding just the right position. Plus, imagine the embarrassment of a shelf stacker tapping you on the shoulder and whispering in your ear.

'Excuse me sir, are you intensely dangling those bananas in such a way as to attempt to defraud this establishment.'

'Good God, no, my man. However could you think such a thing? I'm conducting the Royal Philharmonic this evening and was merely practising my body posture. Pass me those avocados, would you.'

The lengths to which we're prepared to go to save a a few quid are quite astonishing, although I suspect that it's all to no avail. When we eventually depart this mortal coil, I doubt that what we leave behind will be in any way influenced by our little acts of money saving.

'Poor Uncle Dave.'

'Yes, poor Uncle Dave. Gone so soon. Oh well, at least we can buy a few pints to toast his memory with the bit of money he saved employing that banana dangling technique he so loved.'

'Yes, quite. Poor Uncle Dave.'