Sunday, 3 April 2011

Intelligence and shopping - a curse or a blessing?

Spring in Northernshire comes a week or two later than it does in the enlightened South where our political masters reside and determine those of us less able’s futures. In General Practice one notices that the great poikilothermic mass of Old Age Pensioners who can never get to surgery in the winter for it is “too cold” (to leave their centrally heated urine smelling homes and traverse the polar ice cap of some 3 yards of clear tarmac to a relative’s over heated car) start to emerge in the spring sunshine and venture forth from hibernation to attend the surgery.

This is presumably because with the sun being up earlier they can sit on their rocks and warm up enough to move in the same way that on a spring day they can venture forth in full thermal Womble wear to local shopping malls where they will collapse in droves and be transported to A&E departments across the land due to self inflicted overheating induced vasovagal episodes (faints).

Now GPs are not immune to seasonal trends and one of the team was forced to go to a garden centre full of thermally clad Wombles being wheeled or walked on their turbo charged wheeled Zimmer frames by their children and grandchildren (it was remember the day before Mother’s Day) to whom they were dispensing many words of wisdom like “I am sure they had pigs here once” (in 1942) and

“Is that a rose?”

“No mother it is a Primrose.”

“But it says it is a rose.” (the sooner that cataract is done the better).

This sortie was not of our making and we were dependant on our pilot who suddenly decided they wanted a device for a garden hose and they dispatched one of the team to where they thought it would be located – it wasn’t. So another sortie was ordered back to where we had just been 20 minutes earlier in order to locate a few pence worth of hardware which under orders we did.

The helpful but cigarette smelling young person found the hardware and told us the price £ 0.50 and we joined the queue at the checkout. Here intelligence was a curse for the next 5 minutes was unbelievable.

The husband and wife team in front, older than the ND team member, were paying with cash in the form of small change and dealing with someone younger than the ND team member. The 5 coins were clearly visible to our team member as was the one note and mental arithmetic was done in a second or two.

Not so for the 3 people in front who came up with 3 different amounts - the correct one, one which was 5p too short the other was 45p too much and they then had to re calculate several times until all 3 finally agreed after several minutes that the correct amount had been tendered.

Then the team member approached the Pythagoras of the garden centre and handed the piece of hardware to them which was met with a blank face and the expression “Where did you get this from?” (Good start).

“Directly behind you.”

Long pause as they looked at the box where the hardware had been procured from and then asked “How much are they?”

We knew the answer and said nothing having seen what had gone before. Pythagoras looked at the box where the hardware came from and said “99p” even though nothing was on the front of the box the price was on the back.

We paid and exited ASAP. The thought of having to explain the difference between 50 and 99p to Pythagoras and a quick mental calculation of time spent multiplied by the national minimum wage meant that anyone would have lost money to try and save a few pence.

Praise be to the Party for universal education which means that both the young and old cannot do money or maths. But then those with the benefit of a private education cannot either hence our current economic status and that of the NHS.

Still at present Pythagoras doesn’t have to worry about healthcare or money to buy it. If he did who would be quids in? Pythagoras the patient or the provider?


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