For those that don’t know, I love food. I love cooking, baking and exploring places with exciting fare, who try to be different to the rest.
I do my food shopping at Waitrose, as their fresh products are generally so much better than other supermarkets, with the layout again more conducive to good shopping. They really do try to give the customer a better experience in their store, whatever food they are looking to buy.
There is one flaw for me: I hate people. Especially in crowds as the stupid multiplies exponentially. Therefore, I normally get my shopping delivered to the house and sit in the comfort of my own house when ordering online with a cuppa or glass of wine.
This week though, there were no delivery slots. I got the answer they weren’t delivering to my area this week, a rural village in Oxfordshire, as there is the Wilderness Festival as well as BBC Countryfile Live in Blenheim Palace, so the traffic is set to arsehead mode.
I ordered online and chose to collect this morning. Dear God it was like the march of the Walking Dead in polyester. I’ve never seen such an array of old people, but I suppose it’s what passes for an audience at a Cliff Richard gig these, where they thrown a Tena pad onstage instead of underwear. Seriously, I was waiting for Rick Grimes to come barreling round a corner and I now know how he feels.
Now, this should be a simple exercise of approaching customer service and asking for my order. That bit went well, but never go shopping with a nine year old boy and expect no requests. ‘Dad! Can we have apple crumble tonight, please? I love your apple crumble.’
That boy is smart as a whip and knows my buttons. ‘Aye, alright, son’ came barreling out my fat yap before I had a chance to engage my brain. This was after a lady came creeping past with a trolley at exactly the point where our attention was focused and I really do mean creeping. That did it. Not even the Monsooned Malabar coffee could divert me any longer, we decided to make a break from The Creeper and get those apples for cooking.
The bramley apples were about 25 yards from where we stood and it took us about seven minutes to negotiate our way through the maelstrom of shoppers. I say maelstrom but it really was more chaotic and slow paced than the usual definition and melee doesn’t cover it, unless it comes in slow motion.
We made it to the bramleys, bagged three and off we went to get lunch. The Creeper had made it to ham section and was at the very bit we wanted. Why is it that one person moving slowly can follow you around a store? We waited and waited a little more, then got our breaded ham and went to score some baguettes, as Waitrose’s are among the finest we’ve eaten, a big hit in our house.
The coast was clear and in we went, bagged three and legged it swiftly to the counters. The queue for the baskets was occupied by the Daniel O’Donnell fan club and the self serve was occupied……more waiting. We concluded that the self serve till would be better as older people get confused by the clear directions on the screen and avoid it like a Jehova’s Witness. We were right as a space opened up quickly.
We then retrieved our main shop, legged it back to the car and were accosted by an angry old man in a Vauxhall Zafira (it would make me angry too driving that) who barged his way through traffic and then proceeded to drive in his rage at 25 mph, until we found a Honda Jazz holding up traffic trying to turn right onto a busy road. Mr Angry was having none of it as he cut off the nose without altering his pace.
I let the Jazz out, as I am nice and well mannered and off we go home, encountering a loony in an Astra, Wilderness traffic in campervans who were confused by their own sat nav and had forgotten that they could read the signs.
It did strike me that if I reach retirement, a big if as I might be taken out by the militant wing of the Cliff Richard Fan Club (no joke, I did receive a death threat from an octogenarian Cliff fan after dissing His Wrinkliness), I would avoid the busy days and times for shopping as I can.
However, never underestimate the conditioning power of advertising and peer programming which stops people from thinking, nor the stupidity of people in large groups. It’s why I live away from towns and cities.
Happy Friday, folks and avoid supermarkets today. They’re out and about, and we’re outnumbered.