This really did happen.
A couple of years ago I placed an online order from ASDA.
I ordered sprouts.
Other things as well of course.
But on the webpage that contained sprouts I added the number ‘1’ to sprouts.
And on I shopped.
The following day, the order came.
There were eight carrier bags I think.
All stacked in those big plastic trays on your front door step for you to unload and carry in.
And in the bottom of one of the carrier bags I, eventually, discovered my sprout.
And it was just one sprout.
In a semi-transparent plastic bag.
With a sticker so big that it wrapped right around the bag and the sprout.
Before sticking to itself around the other side.
I was alone in the house when the delivery arrived.
So, once I had discovered my sprout, I stood still in the kitchen.
The sprout sat in the palm of my left hand.
Me, prodding it with the index finger of my right hand.
So that I could roll it around to see what was written on the sticker more clearly.
I pulled my glasses down from the top of my head.
Sat them on the bridge of my nose.
And zoomed in to the sticker on my sprout.
From their corner of ASDA’s business, ASDA’s sprout man (or ASDA’s sprout lady) didn’t have the authority to override what had happened.
He or she will have known that I wanted one pack of sprouts.
As opposed to one solitary sprout.
But, I imagine, there as nothing they could do.
Because in another corner of the business.
The bit where someone had created something on a website on the Internet for people like me to click.
Something had gone wrong.
Which led me to ponder two things.
Firstly, I wondered how many businesses out there were built in ways that excluded common sense and disseminated authority and permissions to get business done accurately and well.
And second, I wondered how many other men and women were stood silently in their kitchens.
Staring at one carefully packaged sprout.
The sprout sitting motionless in the palm of their hand.
For (about) 8p.
And I smiled.