I pop to Achna Froutaria (a bit like an English greengrocer) two or three times each week. It's about five minutes' walk away, and we use quite a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables. They also have the best value almonds, and - I discovered recently - some good free range eggs, much better priced than the local supermarket.
Today, I wanted to get a few potatoes and onions (as we had run out of both), some more oranges for juicing, a couple of Granny Smith apples (for eating), some mushrooms (since I had none left in the freezer, and like to keep some handy), and some bananas, which I often eat for breakfast, and Richard sometimes has for a late-night snack. Or to turn into a banana cake of some kind, if they get squashy.
I always look at the 'pink bag' section first, where there are special offers. I was very pleased to see some cherry tomatoes there, at about a third of their usual price. They looked just fine: the only reason they seemed to be discounted was that they had fallen off their little pieces of vine. So I chose a large handful.
I was also happy to see a pineapple on special offer. Even at full price, pineapples seem pretty good value to me, and we both like them very much. But on special - I did give them a quick sniff, and felt the ends - they're even better. I put the pineapple in a pink bag, even though I don't like the way we get through quite so many little plastic bags at the fruit shop; but it's the only way, sometimes, that the cashiers know which price to charge. I saw mushrooms and oranges in the pink bag area too, looking in good condition, so I got them as well.
I found my apples, potatoes and onions, in the regular (green bag) section, and decided to get three more garlic bulbs as well - we get through a couple of bulbs each week, and were down to the last one. The cabbages looked good, so I picked one of them up too. I glanced at the produce in the one-euro plain bag aisle of extra-special offers, but there was nothing particularly appealing there.
So, all that remained was to find some bananas. They're usually at the far end of the shop, near one of the cashiers, but as I was making my way there I saw some near the pink-bag section, evidently on special offer too. So I put my basket down for a moment and went to collect another pink bag, choosing a smallish bunch of bananas in good condition.
I looked at the queues... and chose the one that looked shortest. My mind, as ever, was miles away....
Before long, I was first in the line, just waiting until the previous customer had paid and packed her produce. I put my bananas on the checkout desk, as they were at the top of the basket... then looked in some surprise at the pineapple. I was convinced I had put it in a pink bag... but there it sat, bagless. I looked under it, wondering if I could have put the bag on so badly that it fell off.. but there was no sign.
Even more worryingly, rather than the three onions I'd chosen, there was a plain one-euro bag of pickling onions in my basket. Not something I would ever think of buying. Had someone, by mistake, put something in my basket, thinking it was theirs....?
I looked at the rest of the produce. Cherry tomatoes in a pink bag - check. Potatoes... yes, but not the ones I had chosen. Apples... yes, but red ones, not Granny Smiths... and where was my cabbage? My mushrooms....?
Then, it came to me. In a flash of brilliant insight.
It wasn't that someone else had added things to my basket. On the contrary... I must have picked up someone else's.
I so hate being the centre of attention, in any way, that for a split second I considered going through the checkout, taking it all home, and then making another trip later for the things I needed. Although I had NO idea what I would do with a couple of kilograms of pickling onions.
Then I thought of the person whose basket I was carrying, and how they might, even now, be searching the shop for it, and my heart went out to them.
So, with a muttered, 'This is not my basket!', avoiding the startled glances of the people behind me in the queue, I rushed back into the shop.
It didn't take long to discover my basket, with its pineapple firmly ensconced in a pink bag, and the Granny Smith apples. Indeed, everything I had chosen, other than the bananas. So I transferred the bananas to my re-discovered basket. picked it up, and left the other one in its place.
I hope it was re-united with its owner eventually, though I shall probably never know.
Then I casually joined a different queue, paid for my purchases (a total of eight euros and ten cents, for those who like to know such details), and brought them home.