The other day I was in Morrison's in a rush. I had five minutes before I had to go to pick up the children from the childminder and I needed some food for their tea. With a small shopping trolley filled with vegetables, fruit and a present for my niece who had been born that morning. I chose a queue with one person in front. He only had a few things so I thought it would be the fastest.
When he came to pay for his one bag of stuff, which had come to £2.37, he got out a huge pile of coppers and started counting them. I was frustrated. He was taking ages. It didn't cross my mind to think about why he might be counting coppers.
It went on for a few minutes. Him counting out coppers and the checkout guy re-counting coppers. There was an awful lot of counting coppers. It turned out, at the end of all the counting that the man was 60p short for his shopping and he started rummaging through his bag to choose what to put back. I looked away, embarrassed for him. I searched in my own wallet but only had 27p. He looked at me, embarrassment etched his face, 'I don't get paid enough' he said matter of factly. I wished I'd had some money on me. I felt bad because I had a large box of blueberries in my trolley, which alone cost £2.
When the man had removed enough to pay for his shopping, he went on his way. I paid for my shopping, which came to nearly £40 and contemplated how lucky we are. I know I have complained before about how little money we have. Yes, my husband has a job and I get my student loans, but we have a huge childcare bill and an equally large monthly petrol bill, with both of us travelling over 300 miles a week each. We are lucky though because at least we have overdrafts. We have that option when money is tight. The encounter made me think about just how much we have in comparison with so many others.