We took my grandmother out so she could have a break from the hospital.
She got a few things at Woolies. We were walking along Anson Street when Mum said, “Keep your eyes peeled for fuel vouchers!”
“You know, 2 cents a litre off at the Woolworths petrol station. Help me look.”
If you spend $50 or more at Woolworths, they give you a voucher that entitles you to a teeny tiny petrol discount. My mother and grandmother save them obsessively. When they meet up it’s like baseball cards. “I’ll trade you three 2 cents a litre off for your expired 4 cents a litre. I don’t think they really check the dates…”
You may recall that these dames love a bargain. So we should not have been mortified when they started pacing the street, plucking stray receipts from the pavement.
“Put that down, mother. You don’t know where it’s been.”
“The other day I found about half a dozen on the way to the car, some people just toss them away without a care!”
“Mother! Get out of the gutter!”
“Just a minute! I’ve hit the jackpot here.”
“Girls, there is nothing wrong with your mother wanting to save a penny!” declared my grandmother, plucking a docket from a rose bush.
Rhiannon watched them with exasperated expression, leaning against the car with her arms folded. “Do I share genes with these people? Where did I get my class from, I ask you? My sense of dignity?”
Mum and Nanny were crouched on the pavement beside the Trolley Return. There were fifty shopping trolleys nestled like rusty sardines, and they’d spotted two abandoned receipts right in the middle of it. They dug through their handbags for suitable implements to rescue them.
“Oooh. Nearly got the bugger.”
“Muuuum,” I whined. “They all expire on the 11th of October. Do you really think you’re going to fill your car eight times in the next two weeks?”
She ignored me, brushing dirt off her precious finds and clucking happily.
“They’re like squirrels, that’s what!” snorted my sister. “Bouncing around and digging through the trash with their arses in the air. Bloody squirrels.”