The Sweet Potato

‘I had a bit of a spat in Morrisons,’ Jack said, putting his shopping down on the table. Two sweet potatoes rolled out. They rolled past Delph’s maths homework. Delph looked happy.

Our local Morrison’s supermarket has introduced self-service checkouts in its store. Not just for baskets, but conveyor belts too for trolley shopping. Self service and trolley shopping – it’s a winning combo for me. I can scan my own food and put it in my bag. Sorry for sounding middle-aged. There’s lots of room to pack though! And I get to check the scanner to see if the thing I thought was a deal was a deal. It’s a control freak’s paradise. Cue the sweet potatoes.

’I was searching for sweet potatoes when the checkout lady passed me,’ Jack said. ‘She told me that sweet potatoes were in the potato section in the computer system. She was pretty mean about it.’

I raised my eyebrows. In Morrison’s, the checkout person has to move around both basket area to our checkout area, scanning the magic bar code, clearing the computer when it can’t figure out how much your olives weigh. Or checking if you look young enough to buy that beer, approve your paracetamol. Unsurprisingly, these people seem pretty harangued.

‘You didn’t start arguing with her, did you Dad?’ Delph asked.

Jack shook his head. ‘I just pointed out that sweet potatoes aren’t actually in the potato family.’

’You didn’t! You told this to the poor, stressed-out checkout lady?’

‘Only when she started telling me that’s why brussel sprouts are in the sprouts section.’

‘Wait a minute,’ I said. ‘There’s a separate sprouts section? What other kinds of sprouts are there besides brussel sprouts?’

‘Exactly! I mean, how was I supposed to know that sweet potatoes were in the potato section when they’re not even potatoes?’

’What are they then?’ Delph asked.

‘They’re roots. Tubers.’

Just then Lulu walked through the door fresh off the school bus. She whipped off her school tie and threw it over the coat hook. ‘Hey guys!’ she sang, ‘What’s going on?’

’Your father gave the checkout lady at Morrison’s a lecture about sweet potatoes.’

Lulu turned to Jack. ‘You didn’t! Wait, you totally did.’  She got her phone out of her pocket and started making her way to the living room. ‘Thank God I wasn’t there.’

Now, small sidetrack here. Jack has two laughs. One for when he’s laughing at you and the other for laughing at himself. The second one is a much nicer sound – sort of snorty and deep. His dad used it to greatest effect. I’m still lucky if I can coaxe it out of him anywhere as much as his dad did. But I’m getting better at it.

‘You gave the poor lady from Morrison’s a lecture on the origins and classification of sweet potatoes? Did you pass her a tissue afterwards so she could wipe her tears?’

Snort. ‘I just pointed out the truth. That sweet potatoes are in their own vegetable group.’

Lulu shouted from the living room, ‘But it’s easier to find them if you just look under the potatoes section!’

Jack looked at me. I shrugged. ‘She has a point.’

Delph said, ‘Yeah Dad. Since they are called POTATOES.’

I listened to him. Thank you sweet potatoes.












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