Family, Fiction, Health and wellbeing, Melbourne, Writing


I cling to my purse, hesitating at the checkout. These are not luxuries that I am purchasing, but necessities for my family.

The woman in queue behind me huffs with impatience. I turn slightly, give a wan smile. ‘Sorry,’ I say.

‘Can you just pay? I’m kinda in a hurry.’

‘Of course.’

I’m trying to remember the balance of my account. $250. Or maybe $150. Either way, once I pay for these groceries, I’m left with an amount that won’t sustain us till next payday.

‘Come on!’ the woman says.

I offer my card to the checkout operator. Sweating. Heart racing.

Seconds pass like minutes.


My face flushes red. I can feel the woman’s frustration pulse off her body.

I start to hand items back for the checkout chick to delete from the list.

‘Just a minute,’ the woman behind me says. ‘Let me buy this for you.’

I shake my head.

‘I insist.’ A beat. Her eyes turn from flashing anger to kind. ‘Please. We’ve all been in this position where the necessities are not affordable.’

And before I can answer, she nods to the operator to scan the deleted items again, hands her card over and pays for my groceries.

Photo by gemma on Unsplash

13 thoughts on “Checkout”

  1. I have done that a few times (and also a bit of the huffing and puffing lol)
    I like the feeling and the karma that giving for no return or expectations gives, Wonderful Linda. Thanks for joining in 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have been lucky enough to be able to pay at the checkout even if it involved adding up as I placed items in the trolley. The last time was a little boy, around 12, sent to the shop for bread and milk but didn’t have enough. He had a handful of coins to pay and looked distressed at not having enough. It was 50c well spent by me 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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