I ducked into The Bay to look for lettuce-scented soap I found there one year, and to get a preview of high-end seasonal smelly-stuff displays all green and rose and lit up. The lettuce soap has never returned, but as I peered in vain pursuit I heard the voice of an old woman who wore a beret and coral lipstick.
"Can you please read this to me?" She handed me something from the Burts' Bees cabinet. "Is it lip balm?"
"It's coriander eye cream."
"How about this one? I'm looking for plain, no colour. I can't see the print." She handed me some facial astringent.
"This isn't it. I know what you're looking for - would you like me to see if I can find some? I've got my super duper brand new trifocals on."
"Yes, please. I just want it for going to bed at night. When your lips are all cracked..."
"I know, this time of year... here's one that's almost colourless..."
"How much is it? Three dollars? Four?"
"It's $5.99... but look, here's the real thing you want, just the balm with no tint, but it's a box of three."
"I don't need three."
"It's three and it's only twice the price of the other one, and the other one is smaller."
"I only want it for night time, in bed..."
"You could give the other two to someone else."
"But you know how they are... they have their own kinds they want to buy."
"I know. But this stuff is so good ...I like it. Want to go halves?"
"That would be wonderful."
"They're four dollars each. Do you still only want one, or two?"
"Do you want the box?"
Off we went to the cash. She took the coins out of her purse and asked me to count four dollars, and I divided the lipsticks and off we departed to our soft-lipped slumber.