Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Buy One Panic Attack, Get One Free...

I don't know what I've done to piss them off, but ASDA cashiers hate me with a passion. And what's more, they do it with great chuffing smiles on their faces.

Yes, I was in there again today. A normal weekly food shop - trolley overflowing with bread to be toasted and smeared with peanut butter at midnight, crisps to be snaffled and thrown on the floor and apples to decay in the fruit bowl before being lobbed in the bin next week. Dog food, loo rolls, ham, cheese, seventeen packets of pasta, twelve boxes of cereal and chocolate digestives to be hidden under my bed. When do teenage boys stop eating everything in sight?

Eldest son is seventeen tomorrow so I was also lugging a huge birthday cake, candles, banners and enough beer to floor a small army.

As I started to pile my goodies onto the conveyor belt, the smiley cashier said, in a sing-song voice, "Can I help with your packing?"

"Lovely, thanks. I'll take over when I've emptied my trolley."

Very slowly, she began to pack my shopping. Everything stacked neatly, bags not too heavy, nothing squashed. Three perfectly organised bags.

And then I took over. Within seconds, she'd whizzed half the trolley load through the scanner. The dog food was perched on top of the salad and my beautiful chocolate-drizzled cake was somewhere beneath the bleach and washing powder. Sparks were flying off her fingers and I just wanted to cry.

Why do they shove everything through at full pelt while you're still grappling to open the friggin' bag? Call me anally attentive, it's fine; I've been called worse, but I always load the groceries onto the belt in sections - tins together, cleaning stuff in one pile and fruit and veg in another. Why, oh, why do they dip in the sections and grasp the bananas and then the shampoo and finally, a lump of cheese? And do it all faster than the speed of light?

It drives me demented. By the time I need to pay, I've developed great sweaty patches under my arms, my breathing's all shallow and I'm having palpitations. There's a queue of seventeen behind me and I've run out of bags.

Grocery shopping's more stressful than being married. And just about as sexual.

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