Surviving the Peak Hour Food Shop
It’s 6pm on a Thursday night and you head to the Supermarket to do your weekly food shopping. It’s been a hectic day at work and you just want to get in, out and get home.
You decide on a trolley after rejecting one with dodgey wheels and another sporting rotten bits of lettuce in the bottom. You start to maneuver your trolley through the supermarket entry gate and then BAM!!! an obscenely rotund lady has cut you off, flying through the barrier at full speed. She rams her trolley into yours, sending you and your trolley skidding bruised and battered across the floor. You have just encountered “The Steamroller” shopper.
Does this sound familiar? Sick of having to dodge crazed shoppers during the peak hour food shop? Well, you can now shop in peace! We have identified the worst of the worst; the very shoppers that make you cringe. These shoppers are the biggest catalysts to the new phenomenon sweeping through shopping centres everywhere: TROLLEY RAGE.
Let’s see if you can survive the peak hour food shop…
Shopping Hazard #1: ‘THE SPACED OUT SHOPPER’
- Vague shopper who has no idea why she’s in the supermarket but knows she needs to get something.
- Wanders around the aisles until the grey matter is stimulated by the sight of the much needed product.
- Spends much time comparing brands and prices.
- Can often be spotted with a can in both hands and a look of incomprehension on her face.
Shopping Hazard #2: ‘THE STEAMROLLER’
- Has mastered the art of offensive weaponry and uses her trolley as a combination of battering ram and AK47 machine gun.
- Sweeps everything from her path and is not afraid to run over a loose child or so.
- Leaves a trail of flattened shoppers and the occasional shelf stacking employee that dared to get in her way, in her wake as she thunders through the aisles.
- Can easily be spotted by the “Don’t f*** with me” look plastered across her face.
Shopping Hazard #3: ‘THE SUNDAY SHOPPER’
- The ‘Sunday Shopper’. Totally out of place during supermarket peak hour. Can be spotted by granny-like floral outfits, snail pace progression, and unable to see the mass hold up she is causing at the checkout.
- Often involves an unfortunate ‘checkout chick’ who has to deal first with The Sunday Shopper’s fastidious price checking habit and then with the long line of irritated customers left in her wake.
- Usually elderly and retired with all the time in the world on her hands.
- Comes into the store armed with the latest catalogues advertising all the cut price specials. Will scour the store for ALL the special deals and will monopolise the staff to help in her search for each advertised product.
Shopping Hazard #4: ‘SURPLUS BAGGAGE WITH KIDS’
- Young mother usually with 2 kids: one in the trolley and the other running loose.
- Baby will make noise and smells. Beware of trailing hands and sticky fingers.
- Young child will get under foot, block the aisle, knick stuff from your trolley or fill it while your back is turned with sundry items picked at random from the shelves.
- Beware of school holidays when the number of kids in tow will double or triple. Mother will be incapable of controlling her mini-mob who will disappear up the aisles and harass shoppers.
Shopping Hazard #5: ‘SURPLUS BAGGAGE WITH HUBBY’
- Woman of middle to elderly years will be accompanied by reluctant male impersonating faithful bloodhound. He will slavishly follow her every footstep.
- Hubby will be constantly in the way as he has no idea of supermarket etiquette and the needs of other shoppers.
- The wife will natter constantly to Hubby and ask his opinion on every purchase. This will necessitate lingering in the aisles while Hubby is awakened from his catatonic stupor at regular intervals.
- When nearing products such as Feminine Hygiene Hubby will attempt to slink away and hide under the shelves impeding the progress of other shoppers who trip over his protruding feet and ankles.
Shopping Hazard #6: ‘THE SPRINTER’
- Time-poor working mother who has 15 minutes to complete the week’s shopping and be out of there.
- Knows exactly what she wants and has plotted a route to get it all in the minimum of time.
- Has no patience for anyone who gets in her way.
Shopping Hazard #7: ‘THE SLEAZE’
- Male with a very open-necked shirt displaying a gold chain on a spray tanned chest. Fake Rolex prominently exposed on wrist, tight jeans, white shoes and a lecherous grin.
- Dead giveaway is the lack of or empty trolley and no sign of a wife.
- Hangs around at the end of aisles peering through the produce ready to ‘bump into’ a good looking sheila that comes his way.
- Likely to offer help which gives him the opportunity to get up close and personal.
- If engaged in conversation will become very tactile.
Shopping Hazard #8: ‘THE SLUZZER’
- Young woman usually in her teens or early twenties. Easily recognised by her skin tight skirt and plunging neckline.
- Delights in bending over to reach produce on the lower shelves or dredge a packet from the depth of the chest freezer.
- Totters slowly around the aisles on 6-inch heels in imminent danger of breaking her ankle or tripping over.
Shopping Hazard #9: ‘THE SOCIALISER’
- A single shopper whose sole purpose for being in the supermarket is not to shop but to meet, greet and natter. The older the shopper, the greater her need and the longer it will take to get away.
- Does not need to know you personally to strike up a conversation.
- Is able to talk at length on any topic.
- Refuses to be deterred and will follow you doggedly around the aisles until you reach the checkout.
TROLLEY RAGE QUIZ!
Choose your own adventure…
Can YOU get out of the Supermarket unscathed?
Take the quiz and see if your answers lead you safely out of the Supermarket, or whether you are left to deal with TROLLEY- RAGE!
(Quiz written by Judy Davies, aka my mum)
- You hear loud screaming from the next aisle. Do you…
- Grit your teeth and prepare to meet Surplus Baggage with Kids. Go to 6.
- Linger in the aisle you’re in while the noise recedes. Go to 30.
- Move quickly into the next aisle away from the noise. Go to 14.
- The Socialiser has said goodbye to her friend before you reach her and your way is clear. Go to 9.
- The Sleaze walks right past to harass the sexy blonde behind you. Go to 13.
- You arrive first and pick up some excellent bargains. Go to 45.
- You turn the corner and see the aisle blocked by the Socialiser deep in conversation with her friend. Do you…
- Continue down the aisle and ask them politely to move. Go to 2.
- Retreat back to the aisle you’ve just come from. Go to 10.
- Continue on to the next aisle. Go to 31.
- Surplus Baggage gave screaming kid an apple so it is now quiet. Go to 5.
- The new product contains nuts and you suffer an allergic reaction. You writhe in agony on the floor while some pimply teenager ‘trained’ in First Aid stabs you with an epi-pen. Start again!
- The kid smiles at you and puts her fingers sticky with bright red jelly all over your white blouse. Go to 25.
- You are in the fresh meat section and spot the Sleaze. Do you…
- Ignore his leering and continue to select your meat. Go to 3
- Turn quickly around and head back to the vegetables. Go to 15
- Keep going towards the dairy produce. Go to 22.
- You retreat and run into the Steamroller who bangs into your trolley and knocks it into a pyramid of baked beans cans. You spend the next 10 minutes trying to pick them all up. Go to 21.
- You meet the Spaced-out Shopper at the cakes who blocks your path to the cakes you want. Go to 37.
- You meet Surplus Baggage with Hubby who is lounging against the baked beans reading his paper. He reluctantly moves so you can retrieve a can. Go to 5
- A special in the fresh vegetables section is announced over the store’s address system. Do you…
- Ignore it and carry on shopping. Go to 50.
- Turn around and head to the fresh vegetables. Go to 4.
- Take advantage of the exodus to the fresh vegetables to browse the cake section undisturbed. Go to 11.
- You moved away quickly but got stuck in the next aisle behind the Spaced-out Shopper. Go to 29.
- On your way to the vegetables you meet the Sunday Shopper who can’t reach the packets of tea on the top shelf. You get roped in to help her and spend the next 10 minutes retrieving and replacing packets whilst she makes up her mind which to take. Go to 37.
- The Steamroller stops to select something from the shelf just before she gets to you. She is slow to pick up speed so passes you without incident. Go to 29
- You spot Surplus Baggage with Kids coming up the aisle towards you. Do you…
- Decide to continue as the kid is quiet and there’s enough room to pass. Go to 8.
- Turn around and go down the next aisle. Go to 12.
- Continue on but ensure that the trolley is between you and the kid as you pass. Go to 27.
- Down the next aisle you meet the Socialiser who has just left her friend and turned up your aisle. She now engages you in conversation about the rising price of tuna. It is 15 minutes before you can get away. Go to 29.
- She doesn’t notice that you have moved her trolley and you get past easily. Go to 49.
- The first shelf you put your foot on makes a loud crack and breaks. All the shelves above together with all their produce cascade onto the floor and bring the Steamroller’s trolley to a sudden halt. You pretend it’s all her fault and slink away unnoticed. Go to 41.
- You are about to take your place at the checkout when the Sprinter pushes your trolley aside and nips in ahead of you. Do you…
- Protest her rudeness and try to push ahead of her. Go to 36
- Stand there fuming and shoot her black disapproving looks. Go to 51
- Pick up the latest Woman’s magazine and resign yourself to reading while you wait. Go to 28.
- You head to the dairy produce where the Sluzzer has taken up residence over the frozen peas. You can’t get past as every male with a trolley is clustered around looking down her cleavage. Go to 5.
- You meet the Sleaze at the fresh meat who stares at your lasciviously whilst you are making your selection. Go to 33.
- As you reach the front you realise that the Sluzzer is actually your teenage daughter in the top that you have banned her from wearing. You have a heated argument with her until she truculently agrees to leave and wait for you in the car park. Go to 37.
- You turn the corner and spot the Steamroller heading towards you in full flight. Do you…
- Flatten yourself against the side of the aisle and hope not to get squashed. Go to 16.
- Move quickly on to the next aisle. Go to 31.
- Retreat the way you’ve come. Go to 46.
- You move down the next aisle unimpeded but when you sample the new product it makes you feel ill and you spend the next 15 minutes throwing up in the Supermarket’s less than hygienic loo. Go to 41.
- The kid smiles at you and takes a cereal packet from your trolley. You go to retrieve it and his mother thinks you have taken it from her. An argument ensues which leaves you feeling highly embarrassed and without your cereal. Go to 33.
- The Socialiser pulls up behind you and starts telling you all about the latest story lines in her favourite soap operas. You pretend to have forgotten something and go back into the aisles. Go to 45.
- Your way is blocked by the Spaced-out Shopper. Do you…
- Move her trolley so that you can get past. Go to 19.
- Politely say “Excuse me” in the hope that she will move her trolley. Go to 38.
- Turn up the next aisle. Go to 42.
- Surplus Baggage moved quickly into your aisle and her screaming kid was sick all over you. Go to 13.
- Moving into the next aisle you meet the Supermarket Sprinter and you both reach for the Pizza Pockets at the same time. The Sprinter elbows you out of the way and the clasp on your favourite bracelet breaks. You scramble around on the floor looking for it. Go to 9.
- You stand your ground and Surplus Baggage with Kids swerves around you and puts herself in the direct path of the Steamroller. You watch the crash and disappear quickly up the next aisle. Go to 41.
- You choose the shortest line at the checkout but find you have inadvertently pulled up behind the Sunday Shopper. Do you…
- Wait impatiently while Sunday Shopper gets the checkout chick to double check the price on every item in her trolley. Go to 40.
- Move to another check out. Go to 44.
- Complain loudly about how you are about to miss an important appointment. Go to 52.
- As you move away, you catch the Sleaze taking photos of the Sluzzer on his mobile phone. You loudly accuse him of being a ‘dirty old man’. The Sluzzer stands up to see what is going on and all the males move on disappointed. You are able to get to the frozen peas after all. Go to 21.
- Hubby turns out to be the Sleaze and looks down your dress when you bend down. He continues to leer at you as his wife steers him away. Go to 17.
- The Steamroller is just pulling in behind you and seeing you move forward she seizes the opportunity to thunder past you and relegate you to even further back in the line. Go to 51.
- You are happily looking at the magazines when you spot the Steamroller entering your aisle at one end and Surplus Baggage with Kids at the other. Do you…
- Scale the shelves to get out of their way. Go to 20.
- Stay put and let them get out of your way for a change. Go to 32.
- Try to beat the Steamroller to the end of the aisle first. Go to 47.
- She smiles vaguely and asks you which of the two products she has in her hand you think is best. You spend the next 15 minutes trying to get away from her. Go to 25.
- You are so intent on causing Hubby maximum embarrassment that you fail to see Sunday Shopper You bump into her and send her trolley flying. You spend the next 5 minutes picking up her incontinence pads from the floor. Go to 49.
- Twenty minutes later, you give up and choose another checkout. The Sleaze pulls up behind you and pinches your bottom. You look for yet another checkout. Go to 21.
- You are in the Feminine Hygiene aisle and meet Surplus Baggage with Hubby who is attempting to play the role of the ‘Invisible Man’. Do you…
- Look pointedly at Hubby and say, “Which ones do you recommend?” Go to 48.
- Accidentally on purpose drop a box of tampons at his feet and wait for him to pick them up. Go to 39.
- Feel sorry for him and pretend that he’s not there. Go to 35.
- You meet the Socialiser who hails you as an old friend and you spend the next 20 minutes listening to her moan about her husband until she realises that she’s made a mistake and doesn’t know you after all. Go to 25.
- You get jeered for being such a stuffy kill-joy. Someone complains about you to the manager and you get escorted out of the supermarket. Start again!
- You find yourself trapped in front of Surplus Baggage with Kids. The baby grasps your necklace, breaks it and all the beads scatter on the floor. Her 3 year old stuffs one of the beads up his nose and starts screaming. You are interviewed by Child Protection and have to pay the child’s medical bills. Go to 41
- You come across a lady offering tastings of a new product. Do you…
- Stop and try it. Go to 7.
- Ignore the lady and continue on. Go to 23.
- Move down the next aisle and decide to sample her wares on your way back. Go to 26.
- You aren’t quick enough and the Steamroller follows you around the corner. She jams her trolley into your ankles and you are reduced to hobbling painfully for the rest of the day. Go to 13.
- You streak down the aisle at breakneck speed with the Steamroller breathing down your neck. You swerve niftily around Surplus Baggage with Kids but crash into the Sprinter as she comes around the corner. Everyone gets upset with you and accuses you of Trolley Rage! You are escorted out of the Supermarket by the Manager. Start again!
- Hubby turns out to be a gynaecologist and gives you a long lecture about the danger of toxic shock if you use tampons and directs you to pads instead. Waste 10 minutes listening to him. Go to 21.
- You are in the frozen food section and your way to the frozen peas is blocked by the Sluzzer and her male admirers. Do you…
- Ignore her and elbow your way through the crowd. Go to 24.
- Tell her what a slut she is and shame the males into retreating. Go to 43.
- Move to the dairy section and hope she has gone by the time you return. Go to 34.
- You get mown down by the Steamroller in her haste to get to the fresh vegetables and suffer a broken toe. You get taken to hospital. Start again!
- At this moment another checkout is opened and you are able to move across and be served immediately. You have made it out of the Supermarket. Well Done!
- The Sunday Shopper looks at you sympathetically and lets you go ahead of her as she has plenty of time to spare. You have made it out of the Supermarket. Well Done!
SHOPPING SURVIVAL TIPS
Our top 15 shopping tips to help you become a savvy food shopper.
- Always prepare a shopping list and stick to it!
- Have a budget so you know how much you can spend. Keep a rough tally in your head or on the list so you keep to it. This is also useful when you get to the checkout, as you will quickly know if the final bill is accurate or not.
- Choose the right store: for non-perishable items buy in bulk from a warehouse; for supermarket shopping choose one in a low socio-economic area as the prices will be cheaper. At all costs avoid the corner shop or you will pay a premium price.
- Don’t shop hungry or you’ll end up with items that have seduced your taste buds and ended up in your trolley.
- Don’t shop with the kids! They will hassle you for junk food and you won’t be able to concentrate on checking labels, prices and the scanner at check-out.
- Cut out coupons and note the weekly specials: you will save a bucket of money buying things when on offer – providing they are items you regularly use!
- Experiment with generic and ‘home’ brand products. Many of these are well-known brands sold at half their regular price. You won’t know if you like them unless you give them a try.
- Shop just before closing (particularly if there’s a public holiday or long weekend coming), as you will get all the mark-downs on perishable goods.
- Be alert at the checkout. Watch the scanner or carefully check your docket before you leave the store. Look for items charged at a higher price than shown on the shelf or in an advertising circular. Stores will often give you the item free if this happens.
- Don’t shop on a Monday. You will get all the old, left-over produce and none of the weekly specials will be marked up yet. Find out when your store takes its delivery of fresh produce.
- Check the ‘Use by’ and ‘Best before’ dates to ensure that you are getting fresh produce.
- Carry a calculator (most mobile phones have one) so that you can quickly work out whether buying a large packet of something is actually cheaper than buying two small ones – sometimes it isn’t!
- Become a label reader. Low fat or diet items might be loaded with sugar, which will go straight to your thighs!
- Become marketing savvy. Learn the marketing tricks that encourage you to buy e.g. end of aisle promotions, free in-store tastings and the ever present impulse chocolate purchase as you pass through the checkout.
- Spend the majority of your time in the perimeter of the store; that’s where all the good stuff is. Avoid the aisles, as that is where all the unhealthy processed food is to be found.