Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The 5 groups of people you don't want to meet in a supermarket (or why I hate shopping)

I don't mean to hate shopping.  Actually, I like shopping.  It's shopping with other people in the store that I don't like.

But there are particular groups of people that you don't want to meet when shopping.  And so with no further ado, I give you... The 5 groups of people you don't want to meet in a supermarket!

5 - The stressed parent

We've all experienced them.  I've probably been one.  Nevertheless, we all want to avoid the stressed parent.

That's the one shouting at their kids, one of which is crying, whilst the other one discovers how many unbought Smarties they can fit up a nostril at the same time.  The stressed parent will accelerate around the supermarket, getting increasingly cross at the children, and you just know that if you happen to get in the way of them as they charge towards the freezers holding pizza, chips, and chicken dippers (the ones I tend to be around) you'll get, at best, a verbal lashing as they turn their anger on you, or a slam in the posterior by a speeding trolley.

4 - The slow shopper

At least the stressed parent will be out of your way pretty soon - just keep behind them, and they'll speed off into the distance pretty quickly.

No so with the slow shopper.

These folks obviously have all the time in the world to peruse the shop, and think nothing of spending upwards of fifteen minutes deciding on which brand of celery to buy. I imagine that their thoughts go something like this:

  1. Ooh, celery, do we need celery?
  2. Well I didn't see any celery when I looked in the fridge.
  3. Maybe I missed it.
  4. No, I would have seen it.
  5. Do I need to buy celery?
  6. Do I like celery?
  7. Well, yes, I do.
  8. Okay then, lets buy some.
  9. I wonder which type to buy.  Ooh, there are so many.
  10. Should I buy the organic?
  11. Or the normal brand?
  12. The value brand is very cheap, that looks good.
  13. But hold on - what sort of life did the celery experience before it was removed from the field?
  14. Maybe I should get the organic - but it's been flown in, while the general brand is local.
  15. But the expiry date on the general brand is worse... 

And the slow shoppers thought process carries on like this, disconnected from the body, which stands motionless alongside the very next shelf that you need to visit.

You will stand directly behind them, patiently waiting for them to move on, whilst internally building up a level of rage that usually is only seen in Jean Van Damme films, until eventually they pick up the stick of celery they want.

"Good! At last!" You think to yourself.

But they haven't moved. They haven't left the patch.

Oh no, they're inspecting it for insects.

"Leave!" you mentally fire at them. If you knew how to transmit messages psychically, these people would have fallen over by the strength of your mind assault.

Several seconds pass, and then they move.

About six inches forward.

Now you start swearing at them in your mind.  Your hands clench around the handle of the trolley, ready to lift it into the air, and smash them in the side of the head with it. Any jury in the land would let you off, you know they would.  You imagine being in court, in the defendants box.  Twelve men, good and true, stand to one side.  A judge glares at you, into your very soul.  There is no lawyer there to defend you, you're on your own.
 "Mr Raven, I understand that you are alleged to have caused grievous bodily harm with a trolley."
 "Yes, your honour.  But they had stood for four minutes next to the Uncle Bens basmati instant rice."
 "Four minutes?!? My word. Not guilty! Case dismissed!"

And then the slow shopper finally moves on. You feel a weight lift from your soul, and you pick your celery in a space of about three seconds.

You look around for the next thing you want to buy - ah there it is.  It's on that display over there.

The display where the slow shopper has moved to.

3 - The Telephonist

Now to be honest we've all probably been this person, but it still annoys us when someone else does this.

They use their mobile telephone in the supermarket.

There's a reason that they banned the use of mobile telephones when driving - it's because you can't pay attention on two things at once. The reason is still valid when driving a trolley.

If it was a quick call to check whether your partner wanted Brand A or Brand B domestic lager that would be understandable, but when people recite loudly half of what seems to be the most dire soap opera to the supermarket, whilst knocking over displays and small children with their metal goods vehicle, it can be a little frustrating.

But then there's a twist to this group, the next one.

2 - Telephonist with Child

Next we have a combination of two previous groups - the telephone operator, but this one has a child in tow.

They will be absentmindedly picking packets of Cheesestrings and dropping them carelessly in the trolley (Seriously?!? Surely you must have considered the danger of the packet being pierced by something as a result of the fall and the expiry date becoming inaccurate!!) whilst chatting away to a friend, the child happily exploring the supermarket without restriction.

 "Oh yes Tracey! You wouldn't believe what he said. He said that he was going out!"

A pause, presumably while her friend replies.  The child is now covered in a variety of foods that they have managed to smear all over themselves, the floor, displays, and the coats of strangers.

 "I know! Well I said to him that if he was going out then I was going out- CHARMAINE GET YOUR FINGERS OUT OF THE MULLER RICE THIS INSTANT!"

But finally, we have the most scary, the most undesirable group of person. Rarely seen, but always dreaded.

1 - The stranger that speaks to you. That isn't a till operator.


So many social conventions broken. And not in a good way - like the poor deluded fool in a men's toilet that attempted to kick off a conversation with five other men whilst all of them were using the urinals, by saying "So, how's everyone doing?". That one, after about three seconds of silence, resulted in every man in the vicinity bursting with laughter at the chap that attempted to break the vow of peeing-silence.

No, this one is just creepy. I don't want to know that my choice of washing powder isn't ideal. I don't want to know that you're going on holiday to Tahiti this summer. And I don't want to know that if I stick my credit card into an orange, the acid will eat away the personal data on the card within a decade.

I just want to do my shopping.

And go home.

And watch TV and maybe, if I really feel up to it, eat a bag of crisps.

I like crisps.


At Christmas you get all of the above and more groups, such as:

  • The last-minute shopper (rushing around in a panic buying anything they think might work as a present - boxes of broken biscuits, value shaving cream, cat litter, that sort of thing)
  • The big Christmas shopper (buying everything for their whole Christmas in a single shop, driving two trolleys around the store, blocking whole aisles as they pause to choose their cranberry sauce)
  • And everyone else, those people who normally shop in a socially acceptable manner, but due to the stress of Christmas, the store being crammed full of people, and rapidly emptying of the absolute essentials of Christmas, driving usually sane people to scream "WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEY DON'T HAVE ANY BRUSSEL SPROUTS? NO, I DON'T WANT BUTTON SPROUTS INSTEAD! AND I DON'T WANT SPROUTS WITH CHESTNUTS, I HAVE A NUT ALLERGY!!!"

Yay for shopping!


  1. Ugh. If only there were shopping by appointment, where you'd have the whole place to yourself and NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE HORRORS OF OTHER PEOPLE.

    Why are they so terrible?

    Also, now I need to find Button Sprouts.

  2. Yes, I just went to the store yesterday & experienced all of the above. However, you forgot this git. The person who goes over the item limit in the express lane or the one who makes the employees at the coffee shop in the store ring up their grocery order while a queue forms behind them. UGH....

    1. Ahh yes, the express lane one is particularly fun, I was the annoying kid (to my parents) who pointed out loudly when they were in the express lane that they had too many items :)

  3. As long as they've bothered to get dressed into day clothes I dont mind.

    1. Yes, you do get the odd person who thinks onesies/pyjamas are suitable for wearing outside the house. I think one morning I once wore a pyjama top, with jeans and otherwise normal clothing, under a winter coat, to go to the petrol station round the corner to get some bread. I still feel disappointed in my behaviour.


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