Thursday, April 05, 2007


When the cry of 'Bank Holiday' is heard throughout the land the British shopper goes into overdrive; shelves are cleared of sugar, toilet paper, turkey crowns, Aylesbury duck, party platters, tear 'n share breads and all things alcoholic, chocolate, ersatz and dippy. It's family frantic. It's a jungle out there.

At the supermarket today there is shelf stacking (big style and aisle blocking), there are wailing infants and recalcitrant children, bumbling oldsters and just plain damned stoopid people. It's a machete job to get from Fruit and Veg to Beers, Wines and Spirits and I've only got a trolley. I wish for a winged chariot with knifed wheels to whisk me through these dithering twits. Get out of my way. Now.

I have my first Violet Elizabeth Bott moment (I'll scweam and scweam and scweam until I'll sick!) in the milk and yoghurt's aisle where congestion and stupidity is at its worst - not helped by a Sainsbury's trusty having a long and customer friendly chat with a random customer. We push our trolleys by with ne'er a care about each others' ankles. Revenge is sweet. Ouch!

It gets no better as I weave my way through Tinned Goods, Soups, Rice and Pasta, Foods of the World - and by Breads and Cakes I was losing the will to live. Some aged crone instructs her husband (a hen pecked biddable body perhaps) to fetch her '4 Hot Cross Buns' with the addendum - 'and I don't want 6'. Damn it woman, buy six, freeze two. Get a move on. I want to lie down, groan and sleep. Another two old ducks lament the huge detail, slowly and in the way.

I calculate how time consuming this all is and how many times each item is handled before it is used by the consumer:

Loaded from source to supermarket, unloaded and stacked on shelf then:
Off the shelf and into the trolley
Out of the trolley at the checkout
It's picked up and scanned - and put down again
Pick it up, bag it and put into back a trolley
Then out of the trolley and into the car.
Out of the car and into the house
Out of the bag and onto a shelf
You finally take it off the shelf/fridge to use......

How time labour intensive/time consuming is that?

There was a bit of a hold up at the checkout when a small and indulged child wouldn't give up a tube of toothpaste to 'the nice lady' so she could scan it. All was resolved with a few placatory words and only a few tears. Eventually I paid for my trolley full of goods and escaped into the car park where latecomers were still looking for somewhere to park. This shopping frenzy was obviously going to go on for hours.

Drove home along Long Mountain with the shopping bouncing away in the open back of the pick up where I'd stowed it. Every so often an orange Sainsburys bag caught by the wind flapped into view and I'd keep my fingers crossed that it wouldn't disappear in the slip stream, over the hills and far away. Because at this point I wasn't up for chasing carrier bags - littering or no littering - I was up for going home.

1 comment:

mutterings and meanderings said...

I am deeply grateful that telepathy is not widespread when I am caught up in supermarket congestion because someone would probably have killed me by now!