Grab your coat and purse because today you’re coming on my weekly food shop. You might want to pop a couple of Prozac or a healthy glug of vodka before we set off because I do it cold turkey every week and wouldn’t recommend it for a first time trip.
So… we’re in the car with 84 year old mother - she comes along every week to do her shopping at the same time - shopping bags, check. Trolley keys, check. My sanity, oops!
Once we’ve parked the car in the underground car park, I take the stairs (lift phobia) after finding someone to escort mum (phobia of being alone in lift) and we meet upstairs by the trolleys.
This is where we find that they never have the small trolleys which my mum prefers. So we wait … and wait … and wait. Eventually our patience is rewarded, only to find that the bloody coin won’t fit in the slot but after much jiggling and shaking we have lift off.
Mother sets off and I return to release my own trolley … and of course there’s now a shortage of the bigger variety which I favour. So the wait resumes, followed by the ‘jiggly coin dance’ and ‘Supermarket Sweep’ begins for me.
The trick is to get all my shopping done, paid for and bagged up before my mum finishes so that I can then help her pack hers away.
Not so easy when I bump into her at just about every other aisle and I’m sent off on mini missions to retrieve various items as ‘shelves are too high’ or ‘can’t remember where they are’. I probably end up doing about five complete laps of the supermarket in a trip - but that’s fine, I just treat it as my weekly work-out.
So I’m finally at the check-out and, although I always go to the lovely Marcia on Till 5, Sainsbury’s have a new initiative to process your items through the scanner as quickly as is humanly possible (or Marcia cops it). This leaves both Marcia and me in a bit of a sweat but, hey, it’s cheaper than the gym.
Now comes the part that drives me mad - the ‘Pick a card, Any card’ moment. First I need to locate the one I’m paying with, then I need to find my Nectar points card, any discount coupons and lastly my car parking ticket. I’m then rewarded with a receipt as long as my arm, my cards and a sheaf of ‘money off’ promotions that I know I will never use. Oh and we now have a new incentive - the slip of paper which informs me how much I saved by shopping at Sainsbury’s or, joy of joys, explains that I could have shopped cheaper at Tesco and I’ll be rewarded with a penny off next week’s shop.
Last week I frightened the life out of myself while stuffing half a tree load of paper into my purse. I caught sight of my reflection in my ‘Superdrug Mirror Card’ - another one I forget to use but at least it’s there to remind me that I look like the Wild Woman of Bonga whilst shopping.
SO … my shopping packed and ready to go, it’s time to repeat the whole process with my mother - that’s if she’s finished. If she’s not, it’s ‘park the trolley time’ and another wild dash round the aisles to complete her list.
Back to the till we go and the lovely Marcia deliberately slows down the scanning process for my mum - stuff you, Mr Sainsbury! Marcia is a human not a robot and she recognises the fact that speed panics my mum.
Obviously the procedure is much the same as my own, except I’m packing someone else’s shopping and that’s a tricky business. If I squidge my mother’s bread she’ll dock my pocket money - no seriously, we’ve had a bickering session at the checkout before now just because of the way I treated her sausage rolls!
The usual garbage spews from the till but mum never wants it so I end up with all her coupons too - by now I practically need a recycling bag to transport my bootie of ‘money savers’.
After our goodbyes and ‘thank goodness that’s over’ to Marcia, we usually find that one of us has been over-charged for cat meat, wine or ice cream - you know, the staples?! So it’s time to queue up at Customer Service and another lap of the shop for me to explain where the pricing has gone wrong.
The trip back to the car-park’s a bit tricky too because I need to locate a member of staff to escort mother and two trolleys and then do a mad dash down the stairs to beat the lift and meet them when they arrive.
Two loads of groceries packed away and two trolleys returned, we’re ready to set off home. On one occasion I returned to find that I’d been clamped because I’d gone over my hour and a half limit! We’d spent nearly two hundred quid and they had the cheek to clamp me for the privilege. Needless to say, I got off.
No one messes with the Wild Woman of Bonga after her Sainsbury’s workout.
But it doesn’t end there. When I drop my mum home, I can’t park outside her house so I either brave all nine shopping bags in one strange sort of hunched over geisha girl type walk or I have to make several trips. If it’s raining, I always opt for the geisha routine and then return to the car drenched to repeat the whole deal with my own shopping at home.
That’s when I get the call to find that mum has left the carrier bag with her lunch in the car.
Shopping online never looked so attractive.
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