I like to shop and go, doesn’t everyone? As I push my trolley around the supermarket, I often lament the fact we have to eat at all, just think of the hours saved! Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t got an aversion to cooking (much) or an eating disorder, I can wolf down a man size dinner with the best of them, and keep it down, but doing the weekly shop makes me wish we were a family of disordered eaters (tongue in cheek).
Alas no, I spend most days trawling the aisles in search of food that will inspire, delight, nourish but mostly FILL my family, and that’s on top of a once weekly shop. They literally hoover up their food, I don’t think it hits the sides going down. They spend alot of time gazing into the fridge, foraging in the cupboards, wondering what’s for dinner and moaning about the lack of food in the house. How can this be? I buy food MOST days! You’d be forgiven for thinking my rant is to do with the volume of food consumed by ma famile. It’s not. I am blessed with boys and they are healthy and strong with appetites to match and long may it last.
I do however have a problem with the staff in my local supermarket, particularly the ones on the checkout. I literally want to bark at them to SHUT UP! If they could stop a minute and take a look at me, read my expression, take in the stalk like appearance of my eyes and realize that I don’t wish to be the receptor of the trivia pouring from them, as I battle back and forth to the trolley trying to load groceries onto the conveyor belt and pack it the other side, breaking into a run from time to time, oh AND keep an eye on my purse for fear someone decides to grab it. I’m a woman, I can multitask sure, but this one is beyond me. I try to look vaguely interested, nod, smile benignly, make non-committal noises (difficult when you’re trying to pack runaway melons and keep the raw from the cooked meats as they hurl them across the scanner) But still they give me the full SP on their day so far, the weather, what they’re up to at the week-end, how many hours into their shift they are, how many hours to go blah blah blah. I once made the mistake of actually engaging in conversation with one of the ladies, she noticed I had paint splashed on my hands or clothing or some-such and we got into a very long con-flab about DIY. At the end I felt we were old friends – I knew her daughter, her dog, the layout of her home and its’ colour-scheme intimately. I was exhausted. That was about two years ago and would you believe, if I have the misfortune to end up at her checkout, she always asks if I’ve been decorating lately, ON MY LIFE ITS TRUE! I give a different answer every time and she never notices, just goes off on a ramble detailing whatever DIY project she happens to be embarking on. She could be re-touching the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for all I know, as I race back and forth with my goods and a smile plastered to my face.
I think it must be part of the training, following on from Health & Safety: Module two – ‘Annoy the hell out of the customer with harebrained chatter’ I understand they have to engage a little, I believe it’s called giving us shoppers the ‘full customer experience’ but I just want to get the hell out as fast as I can. I could be productive elsewhere but then it’s great blog fodder, as I have had many toe curling experiences in my local supermarket.
One time, I was ‘given’ a jar of coffee by an older man sat at the checkout. He informed me of the ‘gift’ once I had packed it away, seemingly it didn’t have a barcode so he just put it through without charging me. I now feel as if I’m in cahoots with him as he whispered the revelation out the corner of his mouth, like we were ‘in it together’. I thanked him and was a little embarrassed, I must admit. I forgot all about it until a couple of weeks ago, HE DID THE SAME THING! But, and wait for it, when he was informing me about the pineapple that made its’ way to my bag without being scanned, he said, ‘didn’t you get some coffee from me a while back?’ Well I was mortified! I immediately took the offending pineapple out and dashed off to find one with a barcode. Is he trying to get some kind of hold over me by using coffee and tropical fruit! Jez, I don’t need this, I have people at home waiting to be fed! He looks fairly harmless, a bit like an Oompa Loompa, just not orange and I’m sure he means well, in a ‘hair standing on the back of your neck’ kind of way…
I have to tell you about two other members of staff. I call them ‘The cheeky girls’, twin sisters from Poland, very pleasant, helpful, friendly and way way too familiar. I see them frequently, usually when I’m in a rush and they stop me to tell me how bad their hay-fever is, which contraceptive pill they’re taking at the moment and treat me to in-dept descriptions of their mother’s cooking back home in Poland. It seems there’s nobody like her, she sounds like a demon in the kitchen. I wonder if they have a Polish version of ‘Masterchef’ She’d be an overnight sensation. I might look into it. It took me a long time to differentiate between the twins but I’ve mastered it now, so avoiding them is a lot easier than it used to be. If I was spotted on surveillance a year or two ago, I think the store security would have rounded me up for acting suspiciously, while really all I was doing was trying to avoid one or both of them, to make my getaway unnoticed
I know you’re wondering why I don’t shop online and avoid all this, but that too has its pitfalls let me tell you. Living off a one-way street as we do, traffic backs up during delivery drop-off, the dog barks her head off sensing an intruder, wrong food or alternatives will be sent, blah blah blah. Plus I don’t have the patience to wait in my designated time slot, whether I’m home or not. It’s like being in limbo.
I always imagine it must be easier in the US, certainly in New York from what I’ve seen, they always eat out, don’t they? Only occasionally will someone on a health kick carry home a brown paper bag of leafy cabbage and fruit for the morning post park run smoothie, (I’m generalising) but otherwise, the question on everyone’s lips is ‘Where shall we eat?’
Am I going to have to move stateside to dodge these chirpy staff or should I just tell them to SHUT UP! I bet Carrie Bradshaw didn’t have these problems – Just Sayin’