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David Porter » Blogs: My Own » Grumpy Old Shopper 2 – Supermarkets

Grumpy Old Shopper 2 – Supermarkets

The best thing about a trip to a supermarket is getting back home again having done it. Pack away all the stuff and breath a sigh of relief. Let the heart rate calm down to normal again.

Throw out all the old stuff, past the sell-by date stuff, and replace it with the new. Chucking some of that out will be next week’s job, but for now a virtuous feeling of satisfaction pervades. One New Year we will resolve to buy more appropriately to our needs and decide every meal, every cup of coffee, every snack a week in advance.

Obviously supermarkets give us what we want, which is why they succeed. I love the loyalty points, the bulk convenience, the special offers and the chance to recycle something in the car park.

But the actual torture of getting stocked up in a supermarket… oh dear.

We have Morrisons up the road, Asda on the way to Tescos. Sainsburys is miles away, but they all have certain features in common.

First impossibility is finding a trolley that doesn’t give the pusher a hernia. Is it really beyond the wit of modern engineering to make a trolley that actually steers? Seems to be? Second challenge to patience is the endless assault of repeated announcements (see blog Grumpy Old Shopper 1 – Announcements).

Then, every time I face it, I am forced to wonder why so many people go to a supermarket to exercise their social lives. Is that really what they do for fun? Do they have no other lives?

But do they have to stand around blocking aisles while they drone on about trivial nothings to people they may see frequently? In the supermarket? Oh excuse me, while I just reach across your ludicrously piled trolley and your gassing bodies to reach a box of eggs. Then pardon me while I put my body and veering trolley through a slalom down the aisle that you are declaring a no-go zone for sensible shoppers. No please don’t let me stop you telling your entire life story/job description/annual holiday/medical details that should be private between you and your GP or your psychotherapist.

Even worse is when these people frequently want to talk to me! Either they know me or think they do. I came to shop and get out with a fragment of sanity left. I didn’t come in here to tell you my entire life story/job description/annual holiday/medical details or to listen to yours. Or, worse still, to hear the entire life story/job description/annual holiday/medical details of the person you were just talking to!

There is even more worse than that. Get me out of here, I’m an old celebrity, but I can’t get out without the absurdity of the checkout. Modernised supermarkets where they want you to buy so much you fill a car, offer a jokey, tiny area after the till to get all your stuff sorted and bagged badly while fumbling for credit cards, loyalty cards, counting bags.

The biggest horror of the check out, of course, apart from the queue is finding the people in front of you are the same ones who blocked your progress and are now telling the check out operative the entire life story/job description/annual holiday/medical details of themselves, everybody they met and you as well…

The only announcement I long to hear in a supermarket is: “Execution Squad to Aisle 3, selfish people blocking the passage of sensible shoppers on time-sensitive budgets, that’s Execution Squad to Aisle 3, selfish people blocking the passage of sensible shoppers on time-sensitive budgets. Thank you”.

Failing that, perhaps they could impose higher charges on shoppers who are in the store to talk, and lower on those who are there to buy.

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