Hate, such a strong word, but one that perfectly sums up how I feel about the weekly supermarket shop. Stick me in the middle of a shopping mall with shops filled with clothes, handbags and shoes and I'm as happy as Larry, the supermarket however, is a whole different story. I can go in there perfectly calm but come out like the Incredible Hulk's less tolerant sister! Granted, I'm not famed for my patience but that place really gets me all fired up. Today's experience was no different.
It starts in the car park. Usually it involves driving around the car park desperately trying to find a space. Upon locating a free space another car seems to appear from nowhere to steal the space. Cue foul language, usually reserved for the driver of the huge people carrier who has chosen to take up two spaces rather than try to park properly!
Once I've managed to find a parking space and squeezed out of my car, the fun really starts. I invariably get the wonky trolley with a mind of its own. Not only does it not go the way I want it to go, it ALWAYS drags me towards pretty shoes and sparkly handbags!
Then comes the fruit and veg aisle. No matter which supermarket I visit, and I've tried every one, the fruit and veg aisle is ALWAYS the busiest. Why? Why do I have to fight my way through the crowds to get my hands on a bunch of bananas? Assuming I survive the fruit and veg carnage the rest of the supermarket poses further problems. First of all is The Browser. The Browser will scrutinise every item on he shelf weighing up the pros and cons in an attempt to get the best value. Personally, I go for speed (I usually get back in the front door no longer than an hour after I left!).
Then there's The Bargain Hunter, similar to The Browser, but will seek out the BOGOF deals or the 'Reduced to Clear' items in a bid to save a few pence.
There's the elderly couple unintentionally holding everyone up on the cleaning product aisle as they try to manoeuvre the trolley they picked with the wonky wheel, followed by the young couple who have just set up home together and trying to decide which detergent to choose.
There's The Blocker, the one who blocks off the end of the aisle with their trolley so that everyone else has to try and weave their wayward trolleys around said Blocker. Similarly, there's the one who abandons their trolley and goes back three aisles to find something they forgot.
There's the gossipers, the ones who stand having a conversation in the freezer aisle, seemingly oblivious to anyone who just wants to get to the frozen peas!
The funniest are The Husbands. Without wanting to sound sexist, it is mainly the womenfolk who do the shopping. That said, you can tell the men who have been dragged along against their will. They saunter along with the trolley, looking bored and constantly checking their mobile phones, occasionally obeying orders to retrieve something from a higher shelf. They shuffle past other Husbands with pitying smiles and knowing nods.
Then comes the checkout. This is a whole new game. You are made to feel like the biggest threat to the planet if you haven't brought your own carrier bags. Then comes the million dollar question "Do you need any help packing?" There is no correct answer to this question. If you reply with a sweet "yes please." the looks could kill and if you say "no, thank you." this is seen as a challenge and your shopping is thrown at you much quicker that you can pack it. Then there's the inevitable heart attack when you realise how much you've spent, before returning home to unpack your increasingly expensive shopping - but that's a tale for another day.
Maybe I ought to sample the delights of online shopping from now on!