I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a big fan of shopping; but food shopping in a supermarket is just the worst, mainly because of bloody women and their bloody trolley’s.
Their main problem is they just leave them in the middle of the isle and wander off in search of something else; or they double park them, or when they see someone they know --- who may have a bit of juicy gossip---they simply stop where they are regardless of who’s around or coming up behind them.
It is at this point that they move into a parallel universe. A universe where the supermarket isles are seven times wider and people just go around them as space is not a problem--- they are also oblivious to the entreaties of others around them.
However, in this universe--- the one they actually do exist in and share with the likes of irate shoppers like me--- space is at a premium, and stopping dead centre of the isle and having a chat is going to cause a bottleneck, and people like me---who just want to get in, buy their cornflakes and beer and get out--- are liable to prompt you back into this universe with the business end of my trolley.
Then there are the ones who are walking innocently along at a reasonable pace. They are probably the worst culprits of all, because you can never tell what’s going on in their duplicitous little minds. They can be pottering down an aisle, humming to themselves, when suddenly they spot a bargain. They screech to a halt without any warning, and with such ferocity, that the wheels on their trolley throw up steam--- just like the wheels on a Boeing 747 as it comes into land--- this in turn forces me to perform the impossible by both stopping and avoiding a rear collision at the same time.
I’ve seen men who are less accustomed to women shoppers than I, jack-knife a trolley load of shopping all over the isle...and believe you me, all that beer, crisps, nuts and men’s magazines can make a lot of mess.
Now I don’t want you to get the wrong end of the stick by mistaking this genuine set of observational grievances with misogyny. Believe me when I say that I have nothing but praise and admiration for the fairer sex in many and varied areas of life. But in the field of trolley pushing they are an anathema and should, in my humble opinion, be replaced by crash test dummies...at least the dummies would cause fewer accidents.
That little point cleared up let me proceed: Up until now I’ve only touched upon the problem in general, but if I had to be nailed down to specifics--- and I feel that having cascaded down the slippery slope to a month in the dog house and possibly a further two on the couch, I should push on--- So here we go.
Without a doubt the worst of all possible trolley pushers are old ladies, and these geriatric teamsters are the bane of my shopping experience. Now I know they are old and probably can’t help it, and I could forgive them their dotage but for the one object of weaponry they carry about their trolley’s that their youthful counterparts don’t. They, just like their younger brethren, have the ability to stop suddenly and without warning, and just like their sisters they can be infuriating and leave their trolley’s in no-man's-land, and wander off in search of the holy grail in tinned peaches, but their biggest problem--- and the thing they bring to the table that their younger acolytes don’t--- is walking sticks.
Now before you throw your politically correct arms up in despair, let me point out that I don’t object to the old carrying walking sticks; in many cases they are just an unavoidable part of old age. The problem I have is when they poke out of the side of their trolley and hang out over the edge. This makes them both a health and safety nightmare and an accident waiting to happen ---it’s the hooked handles that cause the problem, you see.
I saw one old lady get hers inadvertently caught on the isle’s edge, and because their age prohibits them from acting with the lightening fast reflexes of their youth, she spun around at such a pace she collided with an intricately constructed display of mini chocolate eggs...I tell you, it was horrific. Kids were helping themselves to great armfuls of free mini eggs, shop assistants were scrambling around trying to retrieve them, people were crashing into one another, old people were flying around the place like they were on ice and over on isle four there was a ten cart pile up.
I’ve always said that there should be a men’s’ trolley section and a women’s’ trolley section. The men’s can be normal but the women’s should be fitted with wing mirrors, indicators and reversing lights!
Anyway, all that aside, if you then add to this mixture the hell of Christmas shoppers---all trying to buy seven months food in one day---then you have my personal shopping hell.
So I had my list, and it was a simple one. I selected the small trolley, released it from the pack with the aid of a small Morrison’s token and aimed my cart at the supermarket’s large in and out entrance; it was at this point that I realised both entrance and exit were filled to capacity with directionally dysfunctional females; all trying to get in the out way and out the in way. Ten minutes and fours traffic Policemen later, things were running smoothly again; although it is worth noting that once the Police left, bedlam returned to the in and out lanes.
Now I won’t go into the details of my whole adventure that day, as I’m trying to keep this to under one thousand five hundred words, and if I allowed it to run its full course I’d be seeking the movie rights to have Paul Jackson turn it into a three movie blockbuster.
But suffice to say I was plagued by every breed of female shopper that day. I had the ‘stop where she is and consult the list lady’, I had the’ place your trolley on one side of the isle while stretching to purchase an item from the other lady’. Then there was the old lady who hooked me with her stick and even with my lightening reflexes still broadly intact, within a split second I and my trolley were spun around and were facing our very surprised looking tormentor; who then proceeded to accuse me of deliberately blocking her way. I was about to protest to the rafters, but seeing as she had the blank expression of her lack-of-logic sisterhood, I disconnected our trolleys and went about my lawfulls.
Every isle was blocked solid with gossiping women, right angled trolleys, dangerous old ladies or bargain hunting harridans: quite why they can’t do what I do when I realise I’ve forgotten something from another isle, is beyond me. What I do is I neatly place my trolley snugly against one isle (so as not to be in anyone’s way), I go off to retrieve the missing item, and then upon my return, I place it in my trolley and carry on.
Come to think about it, this is probably how the weirdest part of my day actually came about.
It was when I had gotten home from my nightmarish shopping experience, and was unpacking my food, that I realised something wasn’t quite right with my shopping. About half way through my trip around bedlam, someone had swapped trolleys with me; my various bags were partly filled with a whole lot of items I didn’t need, and judging by its low fat, health kick content, the perpetrator was a woman.
All I can say is: I hope she likes bar snacks, peanuts, beer and Men’s’ Magazines: or at least her husband---who had the good sense to stay at home, ticking off the Christmas TV viewing---does!
Happy New Year to all my readers
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