Queen Elizabeth took a trip to the grocery store on Wednesday and asked the question millions of shoppers have wondered: Can you cheat the self-service checkout counter?
The monarch, 93, was told that you can try, but it would be detected! The Queen made a rare visit to London’s Covent Garden, where she took in a pop-up experience based on Sainsbury’s very first grocery store in 1869 in honor of the chain’s 150th anniversary.
“And you can’t trick it? You can’t cheat then?” she asked when Damien Corcoran, a regional manager for Sainsbury’s stores in the north east of England, showed her how to use one of the self-service counters and an online scanner from customers’ phones.
Corcoran explained that the weighted bagging area ensures that the correct amount of items are accounted for, adding that many shoppers enjoy the convenience.
“I’m sure they do,” the Queen said. And then, with the wisdom and gentle pace of any nonagenarian, she added, “Everybody wants to hurry.”
The Queen has only been to supermarkets a handful of times in her life — normally on official business — but she is thought to slip out on occasion to shop locally in Ballater in Scotland when she is on her summer break.
The Queen was dressed in a Stewart Parvin A-line coat with a floral silk dress in shades of grey, jade and dusky pink and a Rachel Trevor-Morgan hat, as she was shown some a replica of the counters and an old delivery bike. The visit brought back memories for the monarch.
At one point, Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, the company’s 91-year-old life president, and his wife Lady Anya, reminisced with the Queen about ration books, which people had to use to govern their purchase of key goods during the Second World War.
“As a Sunday treat we had some sweeties. But we were lucky we had a farm,” the Queen said, referring to the farm at Windsor close to the castle where she mostly lived during the war.