His suspicions aroused by the large quantity of bleach nestled behind my loo, my friend Dan asked me if I was planning to make a bomb. I was not, but it got me thinking about the reason why and how I approach my rare trips to the supermarket.
The thing about shopping, if you can’t see, is that nothing is done on spec (excuse the word play) because you are going to have to carry it home. A Buy One Get One Free offer is all very well, but what if it’s a forty-minute wait for a cab or you end up having to walk?
At the supermarket, I’m the woman with the enormous trolley stacked high with loo roll, dishwasher salt and laundry soap. While I might shop like a polygamist with two dozen children at home, I’m simply taking advantage of some nice person who has offered me a lift to the supermarket and who has the space to spare in their car, for me to cram it with stuff that I don’t want to have to carry on my back because it’s heavy.
If I’m not to queer my pitch with my host driver, by keeping them waiting, a supermarket shop has to go like clockwork. The enemy of this approach is the ongoing choreography routine with just about everything from shampoo to granola. By constantly moving stuff about supermarkets sell more because shoppers have to continually scan for what they are looking for and end up buying things they weren’t looking for and didn’t know they wanted. Blink and it’s moved.
In a brilliant move I have cracked this obstacle to efficiency and at the same time managed to get in a full work out of squats. I calculate that this is about as much as it takes to work my way up and down the isles with my nose at label reading distance, bobbing up and down as I scan the shelves.
The top shelf is a mystery to me. I start with the next shelf down, press my nose forward and scan downwards. Sticking out my bottom gives me a better bend and I can generally get down as far as the second to bottom shelf. Then shopping etiquette goes to hell and I just pull the label off the shelf to do any price comparisons I think might be needed, or to avoid confusing tinned tomatoes and tinned peppers, chick peas and butter beans.
The blinky bob has only let me down once when, a search for biros went a bit wonk. A stubborn pricing label resisted parting company from the shelf. I sank further and further towards the floor in what I felt was a slow and controlled movement that a member of the public mistook for a total collapse. In a breach of first aid guidance, the ambulance was called before a proper assessment was made. The embarrassment was not mine.
At the end of an average trip to the supermarket I feel I’ve done circuit training; lifting, squatting, exercising the large muscles and moving at pace. My fantasy end to all this “exercise” is that in addition to the free paper or coffee I get offered at the till (neither of which are any use to me since I can’t see the papers and dislike coffee), I should also get a free foam roller, the type that runners use to loosen out their leg muscles at the end of a workout.
Together with the free paper reading coffee sippers, I could perch horizontally on my free foam roller, slowly rolling my thighs across it while letting out expletives to celebrate the good that shopping has done me.