I hate grocery shopping. It makes me very irate. This is not a family trait, my dad loves the grocery store, in fact he loves all grocery stores. My sister once had a dream where my dad decided to leave the family and set up a tent in front of a supermarket. Whenever we are abroad, if we pass by a grocery store, dad will be aching to go in and he will examine every single product, every single deal, he will sample anything if it’s on promotion…in Bergamo last year, the local supermarket allowed you to weigh your own vegetables and print out your own bar code with a touch-screen device. Daddy LOVED this. I guess I understand, because I never tire of looking at clothes. Daddy doesn’t tire of looking at food.

I don’t mind looking at food either. I just hate physically going to buy it. This is why:

– the aisles are never properly labelled. What the hell is a Nutella stand doing in the dairy section? I sometimes spend ages simply going round and round looking for items. It is maddening. And just when you think you have the store all mapped out, the management decide to up and change the whole layout over a weekend. Why can’t they have little colour coded maps near the door of the place like they do in shopping plazas? I’m a busy lady. I can’t spend an hour looking for tuna.

– where the hell are the shop assistants? If you go into a teeny-tiny boutique there is generally a sales girl literally waiting to assist you. In an itty-bitty shop where almost everything will be on display. Some are so pushy and attentive that I call them guerrilla sales people. Now doesn’t it follow that in a rather large establishment these people are even more necessary?

– wouldn’t it be a good idea if said shop assistants when present actually know a thing or two about food?
Me: do you have bean sprouts please?
Shop assistant (SA): sorry?
Me: bean sprouts.
SA: what are they?
Oh Jesus.
Me: they are often used in oriental cuisine…
SA: well, Mexican is over there!
Me: gee. Thanks….

– other shoppers are always in the way. They just stand there with their huge trollies right in the middle of the aisle and nobody can get by or see what’s on the shelves. And as you approach they look the other way and pretend not to see you so they won’t have to move two inches so you and your modest basket can get by. The urge I get to just push them out of my way is phenomenal. Or to drop kick them…

– no public toilets. Nothing worse than shopping with a full bladder. Or being on the verge of a bowel movement. Or a baby with a dirty diaper.

– you can get judgemental looks. There is always some busy-body looking in your cart, generally they are young, uber fit mums in sports wear and trainers who live off quinoa smoothies. They stare in your cart, notice a chocolate bar, shake their heads and continue on their tracks. It’s a drive by shooting of your self-esteem.

– and then of course you have to pay. Then comes the sport of scouting out the cashier with the fewest people or else a lot of people with very few items or else only one person who has attempted to buy every item in the store. It’s an art. Then you get the people who only have one item and ask if they can cut in line and before you have even answered, they take it for granted that it’s in the affirmative and just go ahead and skip you. And there you are, with just a few items yourself, feeling irate, a little sweaty, harassed and on the verge of a bowel movement. But does little miss cut-in-line care? Of course not.

Thank god, I try to only go shopping once every fortnight and then go to some tiny, family run grocery store more often to get essentials.

Grocery shopping sometimes makes me lose my faith in humanity. Maybe we were better off as cave people, running around in loin cloths and hunting for food. At least that way, when acquiring food, most often people would need to be kept hidden, so as not to scare away the produce.

Nowadays, people may not scare away the food, but they sure scare away me!

Until next time, people.

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