Shopping Cart Blues

The carts are stacked against you.

I have been spending a fair amount of time (with the frequent absence of my spouse) pushing a shopping cart.

I hate it.

I’m not frequenting any of the massive supermarkets but rather the smaller, more urban locations which can often seem unspeakably crowded. They have designed the aisles (particularly at the turns) in these markets with an inch of leeway on either side for the cart. There are piles of skinned knuckles on the floor. If you meet someone coming the opposite direction you not only have to give way, you have to go back to the beginning of the aisle and start all over again.  You must time your turns in these places with all the skills of a Formula One driver. Anything less than total precision will result in a pileup. Cereal boxes cascade like dominos. Pickles will plummet.

There is also a conspiracy afloat that no matter which aisle I visit and what product I’m after, there is always..always..another person standing right in front of where I need to go. How do they know I’m coming?

I hit the supermarket like any other shopping venture. I want to get in and get out and accomplish the mission with as little collateral damage as possible. This is not an outing for me. It’s not an adventure. But the aimless supermarket wanderers stand before me. They loiter in the aisles. They lose their lists. They read the weekly fliers in the most inconvenient spots. They crouch down, if not sit, on the floor and pour over labelling like they’re in a library. They’re always on the phone. They carry backpacks that have been designed by NASA. When they get to the checkout, inevitably, they have selected an item that no one in the last 25 years of the store’s operation has ever seen. They always bag their own stuff. And, while doing so, they move at the speed of evolution.

There should be grocery cops in every section of the supermarket. Friendly but firm, uniformed folks whose job it is to keep things moving along. Yes, they’ll gladly steer you towards this week’s sale of sliced meat but if you spend too long lingering by the yoghurt..they zap you with a cattle prod. I’d like them to light up some of those people over there in the coffee section too.

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One Response to “Shopping Cart Blues”

  1. What about the check out area ? I have had a few shopping carts shoved into my behind, my legs and my heels. If you could only see the steam coming out of my ears. Its either take a deep breath or be the next crazy on the evening news.

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