Sunday, 7 October 2012

Supermarket etiquette

I have spent a lot of time in the supermarket.  I am like Robin Williams in Moscow on the Hudson; I love the choice that capitalism affords me (but sometimes I find it overwhelming.)  In particular I love the fact that, until you get to the checkout, it feels like everything is free. Just take stuff off the shelf and put it in your trolley.  You can. You're allowed to help yourself.

However, some people have very bad supermarket etiquette and are spoiling it for everyone. Here are my top 10 rules for supermarket shopping.

1. The supermarket is one way.  You start at the fresh produce and finish at the toilet paper.   PLUS if we all follow the same path, each aisle should also only be one way.  That way, you will only have to say 'hi' to your neighbour/ the lady you knew from your son's first kindergarten/ that woman who looks familiar but you can't figure out where you know her from, once. (Not every time you cross paths going in different directions in each aisle. AWKS)

2. Conscientious, right-on Mummies and Daddies: no Playschool-style commentary in the fresh produce area please.   This is not the time to teach your kids about every single vegetable known to mankind and loudly proclaim to everyone around you what you are cooking for din-dins that evening. We are all giving our children chicken nuggets for dinner and we don't give a shit if your kid 'looooves' wok-flashed baby bok choy.

3. Old people: single file only. Do not waddle around side by side blocking the aisle, making loud 'oh-me-lumbar' groaning noises as you bend down to get to the lower shelves. On that, bend from your knees people, don't bend with your arse halfway out into the aisle and block the way.

4. Minimum speed of 5km per hour. Anyone going slower should get their groceries home delivered.

5. Self-scanning checkouts are for BASKETS only. Do not load up your trolley with your two week bulk shop and the scan it yourself, you knob. Also if you don't know how to use the self-scanner, get in the 10 items or less line where a kind checkout lady will scan them for you.

6.  Check-out ladies: no inane small talk at the checkout. In particular do not ask me what I'm up to today. Sometimes the answer is, 'not much,' and I feel guilty/embarrassed about that. Also, once you open up that dialogue I will worry that you are going to 'comment' on my groceries (the five packets of mini KitKats or some embarrassing lady item).

7. As a follow on from that...
Check out ladies:  scan embarrassing items as quickly as possible, if they don't have a barcode/ are not scanning, just toss them quickly behind you, pretend it never happened and move on.  If you have to get Jan from toiletries to run up the aisles looking for the price on a 24-pack of Tenas, I NO LONGER WANT THEM.  (Seriously, I'd sooner just wet my pants next time I go for a run.)

8. To the store manager: The checkout is a free library of magazines. That is: magazines at the checkout are provided for my enteratainment whilst I am waiting in the queue. I do not have to buy one but I can read it while I am waiting. If your queues are so long that I can read the entire thing while I'm waiting my turn, then maybe it's time to fire up the light on checkout 10.

9. Grocery shopping is not a romantic couples activity.  It is a dull necessity of life and only requires one person at the picking end. (You may involve your husband/boyfriend at the 'unloading and unpacking end' in the privacy of your own home.) Young pert ladies, leave your boyfriends at home! Do not drag him through the aisles in an attempt at cutesy, ironic, faux-domesticity before your time. Your time will come and it will not be cutesy. Don't peak too early.

10. People with fresh produce OCD: if you are fussy about hand-picking your beans/apples/oranges etc. be aware that some people are happy to just toss a few in a bag and keep going. That is: stand aside and don't block the access while you are searching for the holy grail of string beans one by one.

Happy shopping. And remember, if you see me coming at you down Aisle 7, you are going the wrong way.


  1. I always come here when I need a good laugh, but also to swoon over grandma's amazing bowling trophy! How on earth did you get your hands on that family treasure? Arnie Juju

    1. Ah Juju, thanks for coming. I can't remember how I ended up with that trophy but rest assured, I treasure it. She even looks a bit like Clare Mary that broad with the bowling ball.

  2. I haven't heard someone called a knob in ages. Takes me back.