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The supermarket trolley trance.

Posted by Big John on January 4, 2007

I’ve just got back from my weekly shopping trip to my local Sainsbury’s supermarket, or ‘The Land of the Zombies’ as I prefer to call it.

This store is full of creatures who move about very slowly and are completely oblivious to what goes on around them. Some wander in pairs, some wander alone and a few have small whining automatons in tow.

Many stare at the displays with unseeing eyes while others move their lips as they slowly read the labels on this week’s special offers; but all have one thing in common … They will not let me pass !

I lost count of how many times today I had to say … “Excuse me please” … as I tried to manoeuvre my trolley (cart) around those in the hands of the ‘living dead’.

At some risk to myself I gently pushed some trollies out of the way, taking great care not to disturb the semiconscious state of their handlers or to anger their acolytes.

The one thing I try and avoid at all costs, is being trapped between two groups of these animated corpses when they recognise each other and gather in the middle of the aisle for a seance, for if I try to squeeze by their barricade, I will be cursed with a shriek of … “Voodoo you think you are ?” (Ouch ! sorry).

When I finally reach the queue for the checkout, having taken nearly twice as long as I should to gather my groceries, I note that everyone is slowly shuffling towards the tills with blank expressions on their faces. I hesitate for fear of becoming one of them, but I am saved by the girl at the ‘express’ checkout, who is not very busy. She smiles and takes pity on me by allowing my ‘more than ten items’ to speed over her scanner.

I join the queue of vehicles leaving the car park. It moves at a snail’s pace.

What is  holding up the traffic ?  …

…  Could that be a hearse I see at the head of the line ? 


10 Responses to “The supermarket trolley trance.”

  1. Libertine said

    Are you sure you don’t live in my town. I see these same slack jawed, glazed over morons in the market over here! I once got so put out that I said to one of them, “Can’t you go off to the side to be confused? Do you have to do it right in the middle of the aisle?”

  2. Betty said

    I hate grocery shopping. How long can one person stare at a package of frozen peas, anyway? And, now, with all the cell phones stuck to their ears, I want to ask them to shop or talk, one or the other. Grrrr.

  3. Ginnie said

    Aw, come on…it may be the only bit of enjoyment that they have in life.
    I’d advise you to try to walk in their shoes…but I’m afraid you’d never get out of the store !

  4. Oscarandre said

    One way my children and I try to enliven the deadening experience of supermarket shopping is to play a game called “Spot the happy Person.” It is very difficult get points, as you can imagine.

  5. gawilli said

    I don’t like to grocery shop either. My irritation lately has been the motorized carts for the disabled that generally end up being driven/parked in the middle of the aisle by someone perfectly capable, but too lazy to walk and push a cart.

    I like Oscarandre’s idea…I generally pick someone grouchy looking and smile at them – just because I can. It’s funny to watch them try to figure out what to do.

  6. Maria said

    Oh dear, I think I qualify as one of the shopping cart zombies. My mind simply goes blank when I enter the super market. I tend to day-dream and worse yet leave my cart in the aisle (out of the way of others hopefully.) and then return to put something in it only to find that I am loading items into someone elses cart and mine is sitting an aisle away.

    Worse yet, the other day as I was checking out, I couldn’t find my Visa Card so I wrote a check. Then the clerk asked me for my driver’s license for identification. I couldn’t find that either.
    To make matters even worse the young girl who was bagging groceries was a former student of mine. I was mortified. I was a blithering idiot and now, John, I realize I also fit the Zombie description.

    If you come to California again, I promise to tell you where I shop so that you can avoid the store.

  7. anan said

    Very true, John. And i also find, on leaving the store, that many zombies drive as well as they walk.

    I also seem to encounter rather more than my fair share of cashier zombies.

    The other day i carefully counted out exact change to spare one such the pain of calculating and handed it to her with the clear announcement that this was ‘Exact Change’; only to have her stare dumbly at the coins for a few minutes, lips moving, counting them over and over again with a thick fingertip until a slightly more alert co-worker pointed out to her that she did not need to make change. The same co-worker then helped her sort the coins into the till, something my children could do before they entered school.

    We just call our local grocery ‘StuperSore’, for obvious reasons.

  8. Terri said

    Sounds to me like like the same patrons visit your grocery store that I find in mine. All of what you said really annoys me….but the most annoying, I find, is when they block the aisle to have a chit-chat. That just screams to me “the heck with you” and then….when I holler EXcuse ME…I get a nasty look, like shame on me for even attempting to make them move, so “I” can continue on. Grrrrrr!
    (I’ve done up a post for this Sun. about “tourist attitude” that I think you might relate to)

  9. Fred Wotsit said

    I get dragged around the same Sainsburys as you do John and you forgot to mention the fact that the lanes between the shelves are quite narrow .. to test the agility of the shoppers and their prowess with the shopping trollies, Sainsburys fill up these lanes with the internet shopping carts as well as the pallets full of stuff to go on the shelves .. great fun.

    I must admit that on Thursday mornings the store does seem to have a large number of applicants for the latest ‘Living Dead’ movie but have you been to the local Asda/Walmart lately?? .. scary!

  10. Big John said

    Well it seems that we all suffer the same experience when we visit the supermarket except for Maria, but I suppose we can excuse her as most Californians seem to be in some sort of a trance 😉 and Maria, the last time I visited a supermarket in California (L.A.) I came out to find my rental car surrounded by a group of tattooed young men wearing blue bandanas on the heads. Now that WAS scary !

    Welcome Fred Wotsit. Good point about the internet shoppers’ carts. I was going to try shopping on line, but most of the girls picking the items seem a dozey as the customers.

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