Each week or so, I set off for the local large supermarket, whistling to myself as I drive, cheerful in the knowledge that it will be an hour on my own, away from the persistent demands of the kids and the weekend chores of The Boss.
The whistling and cheerful demeanour never lasts long. Let me talk you through the process.
The vein pulsing frustration all begins at the carpark, where the favoured supermarket of the family have introduced a scheme whereby traffic conductors are employed to supposedly keep the flow of vehicles moving. They don’t. These hi-vis clad hobo looking creatures seem to have received no training whatsoever, and spend the entire time waving their arms around like they’re going into anaphylactic shock. As a driver these erratic signals are completely down to interpretation and this results in bumper to bumper jams as cars turn down one way lanes when in fact the instruction was to wait where they were. This is a crap idea and doesn’t work. Please sack them all immediately.
Once parked, trolley pound and fifty bags for life in hand, you make your way inside, only to find the whole population of the town has decided to come shopping at exactly the same time as you. This is particularly true if the sun has decided to pop its head out from behind the clouds for half an hour, sending all residents in the county into a mad barbeque fuelled shopping frenzy. Ever noticed how you always see someone you know when you’re in a supermarket and the weather is warm? It’s because EVERYONE is there!
Supermarket packed, you always seem to choose a trolley that has at least one wheel that wants to go in a different direction to the rest. Due to this I am a firm believer that there should be some kind of competency test before you are allowed to take charge of a shopping trolley, especially if you are a pensioner. As you make your way around the aisles you are fully aware that at some point it is 100% certain that you will feel the sharp pain of metal trolley on the back of your heels. (Whilst were on trolleys, those a*sehole shoppers who leave their trolleys in the middle of the aisle while they browse the shelves can just royally f*ck off!)
Now, as I am a bit OCD I like to pre-prepare my shopping list in the order of the aisles I will be walking down, as I find this is the quickest route of escape. This plan works very well until Mr Supermarket decides that they will move the tinned items where the DVDs used to be and the fruit and veg to the crisp aisle. I kid you not, but baked beans in our chosen supermarket now reside in the ‘world food’ aisle with the Iberian salami and harissa paste. When the f*ck have baked beans been an exotic ingredient? Apparently moving items about draws the customer’s attention to newly stocked products. My bet is that they do it to ensure you get lost in there for days at a time, frantically filling your trolley with all sorts of crap you don’t need.
Having finally found all of the items on the list The Boss gave you, you make your way to the final hurdle; the checkout. Choosing the correct checkout aisle to moor your trolley to is a science that should be studied by the world’s leading mathematicians, as you always look on in frustration as the family of ten in the aisle next to you, with eight tonnes of groceries somehow manage to get out before you do. The other thing to be very aware of when choosing your checkout aisle is the person employed to sit on it. Do they look ‘special’? Do they look like chatters? Do they have a strange skin disease? If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of these questions, swiftly move on. Ultimately, if you are shopping on your own, whoever you choose will scan your items far too quickly for you to be able to pack, and you’ll end up with a bottleneck of fish fingers, Hula-hoops and prosecco at the packing end of the checkout. Finally after sorting out the bottleneck and packing up your remaining items you’re asked a series of eighty seven different questions; do you have a *** card? Would you like to apply for one? Are you collecting for schools? Did you know that you’ve saved 1 ½ pence on bananas this week? I don’t f*cking care, just give me my card back so I can escape this noisy, chav filled hell hole. I’d rather be at home with the kids!
As for self-service checkouts, don’t even get me bloody started. It’s a whole topic all of its own!
Each visit it’s the same. My brain somehow forgetting the peril that lays ahead of me as I set off happily whistling in the car. Maybe food shopping is similar to that of when a woman goes through childbirth. You do it again because your brain is programmed to forget the pain and misery you went through the last time.
More next week.