Shopping is not anymore what is used to be. Remember buying biscuits loose by the ounce and the shopkeeper knowing you by name? All gone now. A typical experience is now often bereft of contact with anyone, unless through a person with trolley rage. By the time one fights for parking with the usual hoons giving the two finger greeting, the tone is set and with grim determination one sets forth for the task ahead.
The wrenching of a trolley out of a long row of tightly jammed together stainless brothers is just the beginning. Of course after one goes through the one way electronic gates, the trolley decides to go off at a tangent when pushed, and as the return through the gates for another one has now been barred, one sadly tries to ‘shop’ with a dysfunctional trolley.
Silently one trundles through row after row of vegetables that are often now pre-peeled and mayonnaised, perhaps even pre-digested. Most meticulously sealed and ready to throw out. Lucky that the onions and carrots are still recognizable, so are beans and celery. On the left are the delicatessen and fish counters. By this time the trolley has been loaded with some items and now obstinately refuses to go straight at any cost and the hapless shopper is forced to counter this by pushing from the side and aiming for the next isle totally askew. This means that one side of the trolley is further away from the shopper than the other side. To compensate for this discrepancy, the pusher has to cross one foot over the other occasionally in order not to end up on floor.
With some basic maths and luck one might end up at the delicatessen side. After waiting to be served, and being the only customer with a cramp in one leg, a large bearded lady tells you to get a ticket. Finally: three hundred grams of double smoked ham, please. The bearded lady rubs a plastic bag between kransky like fingers, blows in it, sticks her hand in it and turns bag inside out. Now, ( get a little closer to the screen now) this is silver platter stuff and ultimate platinum service. She grabs a fistful of double smoked ham and forces it in the inside out bag, kneading the item unconscious and to a pulp. Will four hundred fifty grams be ok? Meekly, yes ok. Anything is alright now, hoping Mental Health will not be necessary.
Next, the dairy products need to be bought and isle after isle of the most miserable items are limbed through, also traversing past acres of toilet papers called ‘symphony’ (with a hint of Ludwig’s 9th and oh so choral) and ‘confidence’, then through a puddle of spilled mock vanilla slush. One finally arrives at the butter, frozen foods and cheese section. Bedlam here. Why are the isles so full of shoppers? What is it that seems to draw and fascinate shoppers inexorably to all those frozen boxes? Do they come here for a good read like to a library? One shopper is deeply immersed in studying the instructions on a frozen instant lasagne box while her three year old is scooping violent crumble bars out of a huge sack.
The only way to put up with this punishment and unrelenting abuse is to take a leaf out of how I bravely try to get even with the abusers.
I want to share this with you.
Go for ‘specials’ that have been discounted. Not so long ago at a carnivorous Woollies store, I bought smoked salmon that was on special as well. Going through the counter I was charged the full price. Overcharged items incur full return and item given for free. Check small print near check out. Try and concentrate on items that you could get overcharged with! That is the secret. You will get them free. A win win!
So, free salmon after going to the customer desk. It is important NOT to tell cashier at check out about mistake but calmly pay up and get refund and free item from customer service after. As you have been overcharged, show some indignation.
So, back I went for another smoked salmon. Another refund and more free salmon. I did this until I collected 2 kilos. This is all legit. Oddly enough, Helvi is not impressed by my canny devices to balance the injustice heaped on shoppers. I have now exploited this many times with different items and pride myself as a modern Robin Hood of the Shopping Mall. I always check for mistakes and the girls at the desk know me by now and are powerless, also don’t care.
Those trolleys of course are abused by hoodlums who skate them away for miles, across kerbs and open wastelands. Helicopters fly overhead, tracing them. Reward posters for errant trolley are on telegraph poles. Suburbia and shopping malls have become war zones.