Friday, 18 November 2011

What I learnt this week at the supermarket:


This week has been full of lessons which has been good, and also planning the Seminar on Sunday, however to fill the pages on my blog, and maybe a few minutes of your day, I decided to make an account of another kind...

(Thursday) I have just got back from Sainsbury’s, another weekly shop is now done. I am not going to lie, it is never my most enjoyable two hours spent away from the house, but it has to be done.

Since Mum broke her foot and is on crutches it has come down to me to go out every week and bring home the supplies needed for the household. I did suggest internet shopping, however apparently this makes me “a lazy little ***** “

“hmm... okay, well love you too Mum!”

So it seems shopping must be obtained in person these days? They probably wouldn’t find my house anyway.

I feel most weeks that I am actually walking into a battle with the fellow shoppers. They are armed with trolleys and baskets, and even in some cases pushchairs. I am maybe not quite a genius but I thought the orange seats on the trolleys were for infants no? Or just flowers? I see a lot of flowers sitting there. Any how the supermarket was, like every week packed with civilians and selection of school skiving children.

I haven’t given it too much thought, but I find apart from the obvious ample storage space offered by the trolley, another primary use of the humble trolley in the supermarket is to be as aggressive as possible, and drive other isle users off the, well.. how do I say? Isle?  Or out of my way? Maybe that’s a more accurate description.

So I do question why some people decide to arm themselves with a push chair and small child to perform this task. I know as dog lovers we all love our dogs much more than anyone else in the family, but this is surely a cowardly act? Sending your child running up the isle in front of you to trip, confuse and inconvenience other shoppers? Cowardly indeed. However it always makes me laugh that no parent ever is sympathetic to their child in a supermarket. No matter what has happened to make the child cry, the child is given zero sympathy. None whatsoever.

Rightly so in my opinion. I cried once when I fell into a box of onions, my mother didn’t even stop and look. Tough love indeed.

However, I have concluded one thing about asserting authority in the supermarket. Eventually we are all beaten when it comes to dominating the isle... we are beaten by the shop assistant pushing a huge trolley of milk right towards you.

We all have to give way to them, we always do. And do you know why we give way to then? Of course you do. We give way because we know that the milk on their trolley expires a day later than what is already on the shelf! It is VITAL, vital I tell you, that we get this milk because I can make it last until next Friday, and not next Thursday night. Who wants milk that is only in date for 4 days and not 5?! It almost gives you a thrill taking the milk that will last to Friday, because we know (or rather we think) that the milk they were pushing into the store... wasn’t really meant for us! But we got it... Sometimes we even have to lean and stretch past the first trolley of milk and look behind it, but we know its there.

We have achieved a victory like no other, but we pity the soles who missed out on this opportunity. In fact, if I am honest we don’t pity them at all do we? We feel better than them... and it feels good! “Who’s enjoying a cup of tea on Friday then.. yeah baby, I am!”

 I am getting better at this supermarket malarkey now. I know where everything actually is located around the store. Before the recent assignment of weekly shops, I knew where the beer was, where the flowers were (yeah, not from the petrol garage after all eh?!) and the reduced section of the bakery. We all know where that is. It’s more often than not just bagels and stale bread, but occasionally you hit the jackpot! Strawberry donuts, reduced for quick sale. “Hell yeah” Good times.

Well I say I know where everything is, I know where most is. I had to ask for one thing today. I don’t like to ask the staff members where anything is. I know they really don’t want to have to walk the length of the store to show me where none bio washing liquid is located, but they have to because it says “Ask me” on their badge. I was fed up of looking anyway!

 It is a bit similar to when you pay for your shopping, and they ask you “would you like help with your packing today sir?” Of course I would. Who actually enjoys packing their own shopping? But I always say no.

It is a male pride thing I think. I cannot accept that I am unable to complete this seemly simple task. I know that I cannot possibly pack at the speed that the conveyor belt brings my food down, but I will try anyway. I am sure the lady serving me thinks to herself, with a wry smile as she begins scanning my shopping “think you are almost out of here yeah?”

 I think also that they know I am trying to put everything in the correct bag. They know this, everyone does the same right? However as soon as she starts throwing a few curb balls down, maybe a salad item followed by a can of corn beef and then washing liquid.. I am, to put it politely, screwed. I begin to fumble around looking for a new bag to start packing with. “I can’t have bath cleaner with my lettuce! Its defiantly going to leak! (it never has leaked) ahhh”

However by this point the system has gone to pot anyway. Half full bags and food items are everywhere. The poor lady at the till has no choice but to stop, heed your desperate look and begin packing your items too.

 It’s time to admit you lost. She beat you, again.

Reminds me of the computer game Tetras, you always think you’re doing well when you start, but as it speeds up, 1 small mistake (mostly that dam L brick that never rotates the right way!) and the inevitable pile up of bricks starts. You know you are never actually going to win this game... I just like to try and play a little better each week!

“Would you like any help with your packing today sir?”

 “Il do my best with the packing thank you, but I would like some help paying for it?”

 Today I actually made a terrible decision. To be fair I have made a few of those over the years, some very regrettable indeed and this was now way on the same scale it has to be said, but was a pretty naive one all the same.

I didn’t want to play Tetras packing my shopping today. No. I didn’t want to lose again, so I decided in my wisdom, with my complete trolley full of shopping, to use the self service checkout. I hear your gasp. I know, like a dog without a start line wait, indeed. Doomed from the beginning...

I think I will hear those words "unexpected item in bagging area" and “are you using your own bags?” in my sleep tonight. In fact I had so many of these warnings I ended up with had my own personal assistant standing there ready to cancel the error codes as they came flying in. She tried her best not to lose her patience with me, but I felt deep down we both knew what she was thinking. She was thinking the same as everyone else waiting with their baskets! It was probably very similar to mums compliment earlier when I offered to shop online.

I battled on though. I would not let their intense stare phase me out, and after several unexpected items on the floor area, I paid, collected my nectar points and wheeled my trolley outside of the supermarket doors.

Shopping is not an enjoyable experience. I have to say I have learnt that. I have respect for those who make the weekly pilgrimage to the stores. Rather you than me. The highlight for me was a mid-shop free tasting of spicy battered prawns or something similar. The kind shop assistant told me where they could be found in store. Of course we all know I had no actual intention of buying a pack, I was just hungry.

So there we are. That is what I learnt this week.That I am not very good at shopping, that I don’t like shopping, and that self service is not a sign of independence! Next time your shopping, you have been warned!