'I think my love affair with the supermarkets is finally over. Like most people who lead busy lives these days the supermarket was the place to go for 'an everything under one roof' brisk trot round, the goods purchased at a sensible price and home again before you could say - well - what ever you like to say, in my case probably 'Jack Robinson, although who ever he was I couldn't tell you. No doubt someone will soon though.
A visit to the supermarket is a very mixed blessing these days. There are a huge variety of goods stocked to bedazzle and bemuse me as I drift up and down the aisles trying to decipher my shopping list. What do 'two bats and 'one nun' mean? I have no idea and plough on, at least butter and milk are easy items. It is only later and exasperated spouse interprets for me and wants to know why I have not come home with the required 'batteries' and bottle of 'Blue Nun'. Sorry dear reader, I am digressing again. The point is, that part of the shopping is fairly O.K., but then, as a metaphor for life - there is a reckoning to be made - the dreaded check-out experience.
Sex is no guarantee of a good check-out experience. Be it a male or female lurking behind the check-out conveyor belt, they are equally ruthless in running your purchases past their scanner and hurling it down the runway to the collecting area, a sadistic gleam lurking at the back of their eye as the dispassionately watch you frantically trying to keep up and get the goods into your bags. The problem arises because it only takes a nanosecond for the check-out staff to scan your goods, but it's a nanosecond times ten to retrieve them and get them into a bag. The starting conversation went 'would you like some help with your packing?' 'No thank you,' I reply, 'providing you don't go too fast.' I think they like a challenge like that and the operation becomes more manic than usual. I leave the supermarket hot, flustered and angry, vowing never to return.
However, a week or two passes and my cupboards are bare. What to do? I devise a plan. I will do my usual shop and at the check-out when the ask, 'would you like some help with your packing?' I will say 'yes please' and stand back and let them get on with it. So, I whizz lightheartedly up and down the aisles, filling my trolley with the the usual goods and a few treats as my buoyant mood rockets. Finally, at the check-out - this time a bearded late-middle aged man asks me the question, 'would I like help with my packing?' I smile radiantly and say, 'yes please'. I hand him my assortment of carrier bags and stand back. My bags will be nicely packed and I will leave the supermarket unfrazzled. Well, my dear reader, of course you know that is not the case at all. My check-out man was rather surprised to find he was left to get on with it and maybe not too overjoyed at the prospect of all that packing. So instead of running my purchases through the magic eye and hurling them down the runway at me, he hurled them willy-nilly into my bags instead. Once again I leave the supermarket vowing never to return.
Time passes and we eat the cupboards bare again. It is time to shop. I have been musing on the situation and have decided to cirumnavigate the check-out problem by using the self check-outs. Genius. Why didn't I think of it before? I can pack at my own pace and everything will be placed to my liking. Once more I trip around the emporium, shopping with gay abandon. Spouse will eat like a king this week. At the self check-out terminal I offload my goods on to the belt and begin to pass them over the scanner and carefully place them in my opened shopping bags in the trolley. It's a slow process as I am not used to it, but at least I am not getting hot, frazzled and flustered by check-out staff. That is until a Supervisor comes along to 'assist' me. It appears I'm not going fast enough and she needs to get me though more quickly!!!!!!! The 'beeps' get faster and the shopping bags are rapidly filled - in no particular order as you can imagine.
So, Plan B failed. I leave the supermarket in my usual state of rage, shaking my fist and shouting 'they should all get their money back.' Where from? Charm School. Grrrrr.....