People shopping at the supermarket. | Marcial Guillén


Every week Frank Leavers our man with the dirty Mac and half empty glass of inexpensive vino is looking at what lies just below the sophisticated gloss of island life. Come on folks; tell our Frank what’s really happening in Mallorca.

It started when I read via social media that a growing number of people had noticed that their checkout till receipt was often incorrect. Seizing on the word ‘often’ we started to be a little more alert when completing the weekly shop, or just popping into one of our local supermarkets for top-up supplies. In doing this, I have to say that we were alarmed at the number of overcharging mistakes we came across. Indeed, in checking the till receipt against what we had in our supermarket trolley on the past five occasions, we discovered that we had been overcharged on three of the last five occasions we had shopped in stores of Spain’s two largest supermarket chains.

In all honesty I don’t think that this random overcharging is part of some grand plan to rip-off customers, but perhaps it is happening too often to be insignificant. Clearly, the person at the till gains no advantage from this minor (and not so minor!) overcharging, but it might be a good idea to check receipts against purchases next time you go shopping. What I find most common in this regard is ‘special offers’ being ignored….perhaps out of poor labelling, who knows. Then there is multiple charging of single items, for example a six pack of water can turn into three packs and recently we were vastly overcharged for a punnet of strawberries. In the three cases I outlined we were overcharged between 90 centimos and the not quite so amusing sum of almost 9 euros! In total some 15 euros on three shopping trips.

It seems to me that with checkout staff constantly on the move covering checkout stations as the supermarket gets busier and busier and the inevitable pressure to ‘get-a-move-on’ after you have packed the shopping bags these things can happen I suppose. Interestingly, we have yet to be undercharged for any of our shopping. I have to say that when any mistake is mentioned to the checkout assistant there is never any problem in getting your money back, but - that can come all a bit late when you are packing away the shopping at home and suddenly notice the error on the receipt. But come on, how many of us actually check our supermarket receipts at any time and on any occasion? Moreover, being a suspicious sort of chap, when mistakes and overcharging are pointed out to staff members, nobody is ever surprised, even if the amount of overcharging is considerable. Time to check your checkout receipts I reckon!

I was reading a fascinating item tucked away in Sunday’s Bulletin, whereupon as we approach the last weekend in October 24th/25th when the clocks go back an hour (remember - fall back, spring forward!) it seems that the European Commissions talking about stopping this clock change next year. Well, I never did! Apart from asking what on earth has to do with them, why would anyone want to muck about with the present system? Oh dear, I’m bound to get a rush of emails explaining to me in tedious detail the reasons why I suppose; but please don’t! Anyway, it was always my understanding that Spain operated under GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) just like the UK and Portugal, but apparently General Franco eager to please a certain A. Hitler in the late 1930’s decided to opt for the present time-zone.

I wonder how the flu vaccination campaign that is set to begin on October 19th is going to work-out as people are understandably preoccupied by the current coronavirus crisis? As someone who unfortunately falls into the age-group where it is recommended to have a flu jab, perhaps like other people I am a little nervous at the prospect. Nevertheless, I like to think that I will do the right thing in this regard, as I have very little sympathy with that growing band of virulent anti-vaxers who somehow find the well-established science behind vaccinations as somehow wrong. Furthermore, some of the more militant in that brotherhood, seem to think that the Covid-19 pandemic is nothing more than a huge con-trick. I think I’ll stick with the science.

I’ve been waiting patiently for a week to express my delight at the photograph in last Wednesday’s MDB that featured, not one - but three, completely b****** naked, save for walking boots… Health Emergency Technicians attending to a fully clothed bloke who had apparently fallen off his motorbike. It seems that the photo will be part of a Solidarity Calendar and the professional photographer who took the pics was quoted as saying about the medic - “Capturing them in their daily reality, is like reflecting their soul…” I suppose that it also helped that the two women involved in the shot were young and attractive and the chap on the hunky side of handsome with not an unsightly bulge or sagging bit of flesh to be seen! All the proceeds of the calendar will go to charities that seek to alleviate poverty and job insecurity. I’ve already volunteered for next years shoot as the fully clothed bloke lying in the road.

I’m relieved to say that Rafa Nadal triumphed once again at the French Open Tennis Championship in Paris. Majorca’s favourite son never lets his island based fans down whatever the circumstances, win or lose - he just doesn’t. Nevertheless, perhaps like many other men whose wives and partners are huge fans of “Come in Rafa…” I can now on occasions watch improving historical documentaries in the late afternoon rather than two tennis ‘stars’ that I have never heard of in my life grind out three sets of so-so tennis. After all, I do that twice a week with my mates. Anyway, far more interesting for those immune to the niceties of ‘Oh I say, what a lovely shot!’ I talk of course of a couple of handsome young bloods on the tennis tour, who are neither married, thirty-three years of age and going bald. Step forward a young Austrian hunk called Theim and a Greek adonis named Tsitsipas.