I think we’d struggle to find somebody who has not been in a busy supermarket. Bustling with life, old and young, with a myriad of smells, temperatures and cultures. Every aisle has a new little collection of irritants, which I think we’ll find occurs to every supermarket shopper.
I’ll start the retail adventure here; at the fruit and veg aisle. It also has some fish. Which always smells horrendous. I often find this department one of the most difficult to manoeuvre (mainly because my trolley steering skills leave so much to be desired) but also it always seems so busy.
Trolleys at perpendicular angles, sticking out adjacently like I was in some geometry lesson. You have to be on Granny/child watch, because I find they do the similar wander-around-without-looking-where-I’m-going thing. Not cool, very annoying actually.
I’ll often experience the odd crash here and there, and dirty looks are flung across the metal receptacle vehicles, before continuing the push through the rush-hour salad traffic. Onion skins, plastic bags and a random potato scatter the floor: all potential trolley incident causes. We must stay vigilant of all distractions.
I carry on, and through the bakery and cheese departments. Wafts of freshly cooked bread entice the carb creatures within, making rumbles in my belly in protest as I speed past the loaves of tiger bread in paw print shapes and custard crowns.
Next, we get to the alcohol aisle. I am very on edge- I am also very clumsy and unable to control my trolley. This is likely to end badly. The Christmas season often attracts many customers to this aisle, which doesn’t help my case.
I wander past the wine, the spirits and then the beer, moving slowly yet carefully, avoiding other trolleys, but being wary not to smash a row of Smirnoff as I leave. It’s a tense thirty seconds. But we survive it, and move on.
Oh hello, sweetie section. When a culmination of sweets, chocolate, biscuits, popcorn, crisps and other naughties present themselves in a tempting and alluring manner. “Eat me, eat me, EAT US ALL.” I don’t need to explain what happens next… (Let’s just leave it as there is often an addition or two to my trolley…)
Next is the butcher and dairy. The smell changes, and I don’t particularly like it. Raw meat, yummy. With the man (they’re often short) behind the glass counter, displaying all sorts of animal body parts and flesh (gross), and they all wear funny hats. They actually look really silly…
The temperature is starting to get chilly, and goosebumps make a very known presence on all bare body parts (by this I mean arms… I do not shop in my birthday suit FYI). As the smell of meat leaves, it’s replaced by a faint smell of dairy products and general cold which lingers in my nostrils. I grab some milk and Cheddar, and I’m outta there.
Going toward the main artery of the shop is always hard work. The one big aisle down the middle- it’s like an American highway. It takes concentration and agility to swerve and dodge the crap trolley-drivers, of which there are many (including me).
It’s dangerous out there, so stay aware. There’s no indicators or brake lights here, so take great care. And watch out for those who need their front wheel checked out, because they’re always trouble.
I’m nearly free, cruising down the delightfully clear frozen veg aisle to freedom, skipping gleefully (and running and lifting my legs up- I’m almost flying). I have a bit of a whirl- literally, spin the trolley in a 360 circle? Why? Coz I can…
I use my hawk eyes to spy out an empty conveyor belt, moving depressingly slow, with a little milk stain in the centre. That’s the target; I move in for the kill.
Until that old woman from the fruit spots me and gets in there first- DAMN PENSIONERS. She only has a few stereotypical oldie items, including incontinence pants (I never want to be old) and soon I’m packing the belt with my buys, rather OCD-ishly, gratifyingly emptying the trolley.
The check out girl is less than interested in me. Rude. I make a smarmy comment, and she realises I am less than happy with her moody supermarket cashier behaviour. She cheers up. I win.
As I leave, dodge the incoming trolleys, joining the highway to the exit. I get out safely, phew…
… Dammit, I forgot the Coco Pops.