Posts Tagged ‘supermarket’
It’s clear as soon as we reach the supermarket that something’s wrong. People are wandering around looking dazed and confused. By the kitchen roll, there’s a woman in tears, her shopping list hanging useless from her hand. A man dashes past. His eyes are panicky and his gaze sweeps left and right, searching – searching for what? Has there been an atrocity at the butcher’s counter; a cereal killer in the breakfast aisle?
I’m just about to call the children and suggest we leave, but then I realise what’s happened: the supermarket’s changed its shelves around. Not only is nothing where it used to be, but even the aisles themselves have moved, and nothing in the new regime makes sense.
You come out from cleaning products and go straight into cereal bars. There are lentils in the biscuits aisle, tinned tuna alongside breakfast cereal. It’s as if the shop staff threw everything in the air and let it fall randomly onto the shelves.
Heaven forbid they actually intended to shelve the goods like this. I can just imagine the planning meeting:
‘Where shall we put the tinned tomatoes? With the ketchup, pizza sauce and tomato paste?’
A burst of laughter. ‘Where’s the fun in that?’
I hate it. I’m a creature of habit. I write my shopping list in the order in which I’ll find the stuff around the shop; now, I just wander around feeling lost and go home with 50% of my list. But there have been benefits to the new layout: 1) My step count’s gone through the roof, and 2) It’s been three weeks and I still haven’t found the chocolate.
My local supermarket is nothing special. Its pricing’s above average but I guess it stocks about 80 per cent of the stuff I need to buy on a weekly basis, and its proximity means that I can generally get home before the frozen goods leak out of the freezer bags and run, laughing and spoilt, around the car boot when the car’s 60˚ inside.
But this unremarkable supermarket’s recently found a way to make me feel really bad about myself.
How? It’s made its aisles smaller.
Not just smaller, but Lilliputian. So Lilliputian that I can’t get down the aisle without brushing a hip on the cashew nuts, or a bum cheek on the raisins.
Walking down these tiny aisles is not dissimilar from that feeling we all know, when we’re slightly over our ideal weight and our pants dig into the flesh of our hips, our belts are too tight and our trousers recriminate us for biscuits past, as they rub in places they should not rub.
It’s like the supermarket is telling me, with every step, that I’ve over-indulged on the cruise ship, on holiday in Spain (oh tapas, tapas, sangria, tapas) and on holiday in the UK (farewell, dear Café Rouge, with your deep-fried salmon fishcakes, your croque au saumon fumés, your fries and your 250ml glasses of wine), for example.
There is a reason, dear supermarket bosses, that I haven’t yet stepped into my skinniest clothes this August. Making me feel enormous doesn’t make me want to buy more food.
I hope it’s just temporary. The extra padding and the aisle thing.
After the school run today, I pop into the supermarket to pick up a few bits. At the check-out, a bag packer’s waiting to catch my stuff. Usually I try to do it myself as the bag-packers always, always use a hundred bags when one would do, and always squash the fruit. But today I don’t have much stuff and the lady’s giving me a big smile so I decide to let her do it. I’ve got a cute jute bag and a chiller bag with me for the frozen things.
‘Only the frozen things in this bag, please,’ I tell her, giving her the chiller bag. (You may think I’m being patronising by explaining this to her but too many times I have left the supermarket with the chiller bag full of tins and a hundred plastic bags wrapped around my frozen stuff).
I walk back to the car reflecting on how 15 small items I didn’t really need could add up to fifty quid but, when I lift the chiller bag out of the trolley, it splits apart and everything falls on the hot pavement. How could that be? There should only be a packet of vegetarian sausages, a box of waffles and some fish fingers in there. My scrabble on the dusty pavement reveals all: the smiley lady had also stuffed into the chiller bag: two litres of milk, a 1.5-litre bottle of fresh orange juice, three yoghurts, a six-pack of fromage frais and a whole water melon. The jute bag is almost empty.
This is why I really don’t like bag-packers, however smiley and pleasant they are.
To admit this, though, in the company of Dubai’s Housewives, is akin to saying you think all orphans should be shot. Someone will always jump down your throat, saying we’re lucky to have this service and that we should be use the bag-packers as it’s their job and, if we all refused to use them, they’d be unemployed and scrabbling about for a living in their home countries (invariably Philippines, Indian subcontinent).
But surely, if it’s their job – if they’ve been flown over from their home countries specifically to perform this job – surely they should have a little on-the-job training in how to do it properly? Is that too much to ask?
My friend sells amazing jute bags, from tiny kiddie sizes up to totes. Check out the collection: