The checkout staff are, I guess, trained to issue a token with every receipt as a matter of course, and most of them do. One or two politely ask if you’d like one, which is nice but risky, as they quite often end up having to explain the system to someone who turns out to be impervious to explanations – I’ve been backed up in that queue a few times.
I think this is a brilliant idea, which the Government should take a closer look at (as they should all things John Lewis), and I try to make a considered choice. It’s usually not difficult to identify the clear winner. It will be voluntary, health-related and emotionally appealing. Too often, it’s something the public sector should be doing but can’t, or won’t. Towards the end of the month, tactical voting might come into play, as the clear winner has indeed clearly won, so I have to decide who comes second. But that’s not so easy: there are school playgrounds, animal welfare groups, open spaces, various sports, brass bands …
The kindly queue at the checkout can be outdone by the queue of parents with toddlers at the donation boxes. My considerable reserves of patience will, I admit, sometimes run low as I wait for mum or dad to explain the difference between helping children with ADS versus buying new stumps for the cricket club versus relocating a colony of rare newts, to a child whose only real interest is getting the tiddlywink into the slot and watching it drop all the way to the pile at the bottom.
This has its compensations too, though. Yesterday I arrived just in time to hear a three year old, who’d clearly been giving the matter some attention, say: “Bats. I like bats.”
I smiled at the mum. “Good choice,” I said. She blanked me; but her son looked at me, smiled back, and nodded.