The View Of Purgatory Is From Behind A Shopping Trolley

Posted: 18/06/2011 in General, Humour

I hate shopping.

Men hate shopping. This is immutable. Okay, yes, one can easily point out special categories of exception, and woe betide me, I realise, should I errantly neglect to point this out, but for the most part, your average index male hates shopping.

Grocery shopping, being a subset of the set “shopping”, fits neatly beneath the crosshairs. Grocery shopping can represent a special kind of hell for the males of the species, most of whom struggle with domestic blindness at the best of times1, and so suffer the inherent disability of not knowing where on earth any bloody thing is in the supermarket, although over time a certain slight familiarity creeps in. Sending a man to a new supermarket, then, is  very special kind of torture, ladies, eclipsing by some degrees what you think of as your most withering Look2.

One of my pet hates whilst in a busy supermarket is that you cannot pause for precious breath but some inconsiderate loon comes up and wants something on the shelf behind you and you have to bleat the standard perfunctory “Sorry” and move along. Then, no sooner have you moved than another son of a motherless goat3 comes up and….rinse, repeat….rinse, repeat….it is infuriating.

One day befell the worst of all possible circumstances; tired, hungry, running late, and having been vouchsafed a truly hideous grocery list, a portion of the entries upon which I could not visualise, let along successfully locate.
As is my wont, I was standing with my back to a shelf in an aisle, vainly scanning the shelves opposite for some item of culinary miscellany, when someone came up and politely indicated that they wanted something on the shelf behind me. I grunted my assent and moved. Not a minute later, I was accosted again. This went on. The sixth time was a dear little old lady with a kind look on her face. Sadly, I was forced to tell her what I felt she needed to hear, viz: “NO! You do NOT need the Tena Lady thingos! Piss off and leave me alone!!”
The speed of her departure belied her apparent age.

I made my way away from the shelves to the back corner of the store, to the strains of “Cleanup in Aisle Six!”, which, on reflection, I should have thought more about, as I may have made a vital connection. I needed a rest; I just needed one solitary minute without people trying to usher me left and right. I leaned gratefully up against the firehose cabinet to catch my breath.

And the bloody fire alarm went off.

I managed to hold the bastards off until I ran out of cans.

I have no idea what I am headed for after I shuffle off this mortal coil should my record of conduct be found slightly wanting, but my most cynical demons fill my mind’s eye with a plane of existence filled with garish fluorescent lighting, maddening muzak, endless shelves full of unfamiliar and largely pointless foodstuffs, a list of items so esoteric that I go crosseyed just trying to read it, a basket with wheels which will only permit motion at 45° to any propulsion applied to it, and a sad little old lady weeing on my shoes.


2. For the record, we’re not scared of your Look. We’re not. You can’t really do anything to us we’re scared of short of sneak-attack physical violence, so anything short of that is of little consequence. We just let you think we’re scared of your Look so you’ll stop there instead of doing something tiresome like throwing our things out of the window or telling us about Grey’s Anatomy.

3. Happily for my local crime statistics, my more rational synapses recognise that the people in question are actually just going about their blameless occasions, not at all possessed with the evil irritatory intent with which I privately imbue them. This does not however prevent me from thinking very poorly of them indeed. Some of them would be shocked.

  1. Methinks you were sent to the shops…. 🙂

    All I can say is: “YOU IDIOT!!!”

    Going to the supermarket is like going to Bunnings. Bloody emasculated pram pushers everywhere obediently following their sperm recipient of choice.

    I have no issue with doing shopping – hell, I was single long enough and got bloody good at it such that I can find most things in a supermarket AND dodge the woman with 4 kids, none of which are on the leash that SHOULD be applied to them. As for the kids who are granted control of the prams and run up the back of my legs – instead of someone moving out of their way, they are greeted with a now-facing immovable object with significantly enough strength to launch their prized pet into the next isle – the fast way.

    Alas, Bunnings – a place which should be the eternal man-cave (and I mean this from a totally heterosexual aspect!) – is populated by weak know-nothings pushing the pram through the “pretty” sections and then greeted with a hurry-up grunt when they ask permission to look at the power tools (most of which are no good anyway unless you like cheap CRAP like Ozito or expensive crap like Ryobi (because they refuse to honour warranties)). There is no browsing in Bunnings. I go there because I know what I want and I know when I want it. “Get your fat arse and snotty kids out of the way so that I can do what I need to do. That goes for your missus too!”

    If you had any control over your destiny – you would postpone trips such as this to 7pm or later on any night when the places are near deserted. You can’t find staff at these times either but that is usually the case anyway.

    As for somewhere like Ikea? Ugghh… Painful. The only thing that makes that place palatable is the fact that I get free coffee and cheap food. It’s open until 9pm on Friday night so going on a weekend is a necessity no longer 🙂

  2. Lucinda says:

    I have a craving for chocolate now…run down and get me some, would ya.:) And maybe some ice cream, too.

    Just for fun, imagine BEING that poor woman with four children in tow while trying to select the lowest prices, decide if the budget will hold up under the weight of a buggie of groceries AND maintain a civil appearance of her tribe of wild indians with as little embarrassing mishaps as possible.

    After accomplishing the task at hand, there is the grand finish line – the dreaded checkout where stores put a final temptation of patience, obedience, and nerve. It takes nerves of steel to tote four tired, bored, children through that zone where candy calls their names and you must say NO. Not because you don’t want them to have a sweet treat, but because..well…multiply it by four.

    As far as that war-zone at the check out, I handled it quite nicely with my four children. Yep, I gots four of them (now eight with the inlaws and five grandsons). When they were small, I practiced with them at home. When they asked for something such as a cookie, I told them the standard answer, “Maybe,” or “We will see.” It was a test. If they asked again, I gave them the evil eye and said, “I said maybe. Are you begging? You ask again and the answer is NO.” That took real power, I mean…real strength to stand my ground because all they had to do was wait patiently and the answer transforms from Maybe to Yes. It took them a few times of asking a third time to discover begging or whining got negative results.

    It worked.

    I extended that war tactic to the long trek up and down the rows of food. If they acted up, rude, or embarrassed me….no treat. A 25 cent treat (times 4 = a buck) was well worth the calm and cooperation as we shopped. (for the most part that is)

    But for the life of me….the things that ended up in my cart when I wasn’t looking was one battle I never won.

    BTW…I have known some men who loved shopping…but only with a purpose. The part they hated was the bargain, sales, or long lists. It was always get in, get out, and get home again to enjoy their catch for the day as if they had gone hunting. Taking children along shopping was never so challenging as take a man along, though.


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