Do you remember when shopping trolleys used to be fun? Were they ever fun for you? I have fond memories of them, drunken evenings when you were too tired from dancing all night to walk home, so the boys you were with would help you get into a shopping trolley and wheel you at breakneck speeds through the city parks. Maybe that’s just what happened to me, since I have always been small enough to fit inside one. I don’t recall ever having a falling out incident either. Once I was taken half way around Rocks Road in one, there was lots of laughter and singing involved. Man, those really were fun days.
Now shopping trolleys hold a morbid sense of horror for me. As soon as I pull into the supermarket, my heart drops and I feel like I’m walking towards impending doom. I try very hard, internet, to avoid the pension days, because old people – don’t get me wrong, I love old people, they have great stories – but old people in supermarkets is something to be avoided at all costs. Pension day, has always seemed to be Tuesday. So I’m doing my groceries lately, on Wednesday’s, because even though I’m up and out of the house early on a Thursday, Thursday’s, from what I recall are dole day (unemployment benefit) and the unemployed are equally as frustrating to meet, in a supermarket.
I hate supermarket shopping with a vengence. I remember being a bright eyed new mother at the age of 20, and going shopping was so fun. We’d buckle Siobhan into the baby seat and we’d have all these choices. We could buy, whatever we wanted! On an extremely tight budget of course – so really we couldn’t at all, but it sure seemed like it, while we put all this stuff that we’d chosen ourselves into the trolley and felt grown up and awesome. I can’t tell you how many awful eating mistakes I made in those early days. Like the time we bought a green curry paste, and I cooked a beautiful chicken curry. I am not an instruction reader, by the way. I get no pleasure out of instruction manuals. I tear things open and toss aside instructions, because I am awesome, and I know how everything works! Actually, I hand them to Ollie who meticulously reads them and then tells me how to work it, while I huff impatiently at him and say “yesyesyes!” while pushing buttons and shrieking when it doesn’t work. You love me a little for it, I know you do. Anyway, this green curry paste was the ultimate ingredient, and I dutifully added the entire contents of this little jar into our chicken.
Not even the dog we had at the time would go near it. It wasn’t just eye watering, internet…it almost turned us blind. I read the instructions on the back of jars now. That is one thing I have conceded to do. And so we blissfully went around the supermarket and it was so fun. Then we had Aleeya, and having two children in the shopping trolley just wasn’t quite as fun. It started to lose its novelty very quickly. Particularly when they were both walking. Supermarkets, do not please me. They always hold awful surprises, or tempting specials, or both. And I do not enjoy watching the price go up to $170 just because I really wanted that bar of chocolate and those biscuits (cookies) that were on special, and maybe I needed those really expensive razor blades too. It’s not nice! I don’t like it! Food, should not cost as much as it does.
Anyway, shopping with children is always an experience. I remember this one time, Siobhan was in kindergarten, and it was just Aleeya and I. I’d gone out for coffee with Lou, and we stopped in the supermarket to buy, I don’t know, bread and milk probably. That’s almost an every day purchase in this house, and it certainly was in hers with six kids to feed. So we’re talking, like we always do, completely engrossed in each other. Aleeya’s there at my side, she would have been two at the time. She was always shy and clingy. I never had any reason to think she wouldn’t be at my side, and whenever she wasn’t, she roared. I’m not lying, she actually would roar. I’m paying for my food and looking at Lou, and I turned around and my daughter is gone.
She’s two years old, and she’s gone. I have this strange panic reaction. What happens is, time slows down and so does my heart. I become, almost zen like. It’s really weird…it’s like, nothing is wrong, and all I have to do, is consider the situation carefully, and the answer will come. So the world is slowing down, and the blood is running out of my face and I’m trying to rationalise this. She’s two, how far could she have gone? – This supermarket by the way, is in the busiest mall in Christchurch and yes, my thoughts were most definitely “she’s been kidnapped!!!” But really, I -have- to be rational, and interestingly I usually am when I’m terrified so I’m thinking, how far could she have gone? So I’m listening for the telltale sign of her roaring, and I hear…nothing. Absolutely nothing. This is when I start to get little spots behind my eyes which are telling me that if I don’t resolve this situation and soon, I’m going to pass out. I went all through the supermarket again, and then up to the information area, and I’m trying to remember what my two year old daughter was wearing this morning when she got dressed, and I just couldn’t. I drew an utter blank. And just as I’m about to cry, I turned around and I saw this tiny little girl, sprinting back to me. All amazingly large greenblue eyes and white faced terror.
I’m almost crying just remembering it! She’d followed out a woman with a shopping trolley after having had a staring contest with a little girl in one just opposite us. The woman in front of us in the checkout line moved off, and Aleeya followed blindly. I dropped to my knees and was just about to ask her where she went, when she burst out in the most amazing lung explosive roar I’ve ever heard in my life. She flung herself into my arms and I just can’t explain the incredible sense of terror and relief I felt at hearing her scream like that. It was…there are no words that can describe something like that.
So, my experience with supermarkets, is not a fun one. I no longer look at shopping trolleys and feel a little rush of adrenaline because maybe next week that one is the one I’m going to be screaming through the city in, now it’s more like I’m choosing the vessel in which a little part of me will die once I get past this 90 year old couple, who in other circumstances I would find completely adorable, sighing and wishing that they could just have a little bit of respect for those of us who don’t walk at the pace of a snail and LET ME PAST!!!! And yet, as much as I complain about doing it, I find having your groceries delivered even more annoying. There is just something about filling that trolley with food and bringing it into the house that makes the entire experience of being stuck behind daydreaming men who have their trolley’s sideways in the aisle and are now contemplating -very seriously- what flavour chips they want ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE AISLE!!!! Hello? What are you thinking??? – Worthwhile. Actually, I’m lying. Maybe I’m just a sucker for punishment.
What, internet, is wrong with people in supermarkets? Do they instantly walk in there and their IQ’s just drop 20 points instantly? Do supermarkets make us stupid? I think they do. I think, people walk in there, and they switch off. Even those people like me, who are straight in and out shoppers. We want to go around the supermarket as quickly as possible and get out again, and yet, I know my eyes glaze over and I go into this little place in my head..which saves me from the idiots and the old people who have to pick up every.single.packet of meat before the realise that maybe their lack of teeth can’t actually process that meat anyway, so they go back to the mince (ground beef) section and pick up every packet of meat there, with their trolleys stretched across the entire meat section while you lament the fact that all you want is a piece of stewing steak which you cannot reach even though you can see it right there…*sigh*
We’ve already discussed my pain when it comes to high shelves. I will say it again though, if you supermarket people put something out of my reach? I will climb your shelves. I am not above using those shelves as a ladder! Not all of us are amazons!!! And it’s always shampoo. What, are children likely to drink the shampoo so you must put it on the highest shelf IN THE WORLD? It’s not right. Not even when there are lovely University boys who I can go “uhm. Do you think you could just reach that for me?” You just know they’re talking about the cute wee lady they had to fetch something down for. I’ve been climbing shelves all my life. Right Michelle? I have to do it in my own house. I do! Ollie is a cruel man. He buys chips and then puts them in the top shelves so I can’t reach them. I KNOW! What sort of husband does that, right? I think he does it, just to watch me climb up on the bench like a four year old.
There needs to be a supermarket shopping ettiquette written up I feel. Something that says that all people over the age of 65 must shop on a certain day, all single men with a penchant for chips on another day, and all the fast shoppers get a day for themselves. No more of this two neighbours or old friends catching up rubbish and talking to each other while blocking the entire aisle business. No more taking 5 hours to choose which packet of meat is the best bargain when they’re ALL THE SAME! No more putting things in high places so short girls have to climb shelves or ask a stranger to fetch them something like they’re small children again. None of that! I don’t want any of it. And please, please give me a trolley that does not have a mind of its own. I’m not 18 anymore, and I do not find the ones that only go left and mean you spin around in wild circles fun. I do not! I want a trolley with a little self respect. One that goes in a straight line when I want it too, and turns the damn corner when it’s supposed to!
Is that really, too much to ask? Is it?!?!