From time to time I use a certain local supermarket which seems to be frequented by more than its fair share of crazy people. It’s the only nearby shop in which I can buy a number of my favourite items, so every so often I have to take a deep breath, psyche myself up and brave the madhouse.
Today was one such occasion, and, true to form, I’d no sooner steered my car into the supermarket car park when a young woman, without hesitation or observation, pushed a pram right across my path. This left me with two options: carry on driving, and live the rest of my life with the guilt of having run over a baby, or stop and leave the baby to live its life with a gormless idiot for a mother. I chose option two.
I hate supermarket shopping with a passion. I’d have been very successful on a televised game show which featured people dashing round a supermarket, stacking as many goods as they could into their trolley in a limited time. The fact that the contestants received the goods they’d grabbed free of charge would merely have been a bonus; it was the notion of charging round a supermarket at lightning speed that really held the appeal for me.
Sadly, supermarkets don’t work like that in real life. I might want to get round and escape as quickly as humanly possible, but I rarely succeed. Why? Because of the supermarket loonies, of course.
Let’s have a look at the main players:
1/ The browsers. OK, even I have been known to take a little time if I think there may be a bargain to be found, but some people browse at everything. They’ll stand in front of the milk, preventing anyone else from getting near, scratching their heads and pondering. ‘Ooh, milk. Do I need milk? Do I not need milk? Shall I get one pint or a two pints? Skimmed or semi…?’ Oh FFS, it’s milk! How many million times do you need to buy milk before you remember which bloomin’ milk you usually buy?
2/ The socialisers. This isn’t a supermarket, oh no. This is a social club, and the moment I’m trying to get my trolley past is party time.
‘Hello Gladys, haven’t seen you in a while. How’s the hip? How’s the knitting? How’s George? … natter, natter, natter…’ The socialisers’ favourite spots seem to be either the aisle containing the very items I simply have to buy or the doorway, where they remain, trolleys perfectly angled to completely block any escape route, talking nineteen to the dozen, oblivious to repeated bellowed pleas to ‘Excuse me!’
3/ The ram-raiders. These annoying creatures usually arrive as I’m waiting to bypass the socialisers, and think that the aisle will miraculously clear if they wheel their trolley into the back of my legs. They also think the queue in front of them (and me) at the checkouts will magically vanish if they wheel their trolley into the back of my legs. They also think I will pack away my shopping and pay at lightning when my turn comes if they wheel their trolley into the back of my legs.
They are oh so wrong on that last point!
4/ The waiters. This breed of supermarket loony will stand looking into the middle distance as their shopping is scanned by the checkout operator. Once it’s all through and they’ve paid with their exclusive inconsiderate cretin card, only then will they start packing their goods into bags, oblivious to the increasingly impatient queue gathering behind them. The waiters are very adept at finding the one checkout operator who forgets to offer to help with packing.
5/ The meddling kids. No, not Scooby Doo and friends – I think I’d quite enjoy a trip to the supermarket if the mystery machine were to turn up, but the meddling kids I mean are the ones who won’t leave my shopping alone. I stand in the queue, inwardly seething as doting parent gazes fondly at their child systematically wiping his or her snot over every item – every one of my items, that is. Finally I can stand it no more, and tell the child to take their hands off my shopping, at which point doting parent turns into fire breathing dragon.
‘What? What did you say to my kid? Leave him alone! He’s only a kid!’
Thinking how my own parents would have taken me to task had I ever behaved so badly as a child, I content myself with exacting revenge on the meddling kid and its parent. Yes, revenge is so easy, so satisfying, and so within my rights.
I pick out every snot encrusted item, and ask a member of shop staff to replace them for me. Slowly. One at a time. Ah, supermarket Loonies. If you can’t beat them, join them!