Shopping perils.

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I like shopping. Supermarkets are my second home. I like the way to try and untangle the shopping trolley. And that is just the beginning. I hope for shoppers that have trouble to untangle a trolley. I then like to offer my help. At the end of our shopping expedition I sometimes help a customer retrieve their trolley deposit from the slotted device. You can only get the return of the coin by joining the trolley to  the stationary queue of trolleys. For some shoppers retrieving that coin is difficult. Their elderly hands might be rheumatically contorted. That’s when I offer my help again. So do other shoppers. A working together community. Elderly shoppers don’t give up easily. They keep going stoically and with determination.

Shopping with my wife is the norm. It has worked for decades. It is almost an institution. Through the years a kind of shopping etiquette between us has formed. I do the trolley duties including opening the car, getting the bags, clutching my trolley coin in right hand, and then wrestling with trolley. Some trolleys have a mind of their own and are unwilling to go into the direction they are being pushed to. Helvi likes to do shopping by perusing. She insists on looking at the item for enough time before it percolates into action. Only after that has taken place she will place it in my trolley. I never understood what one gets out of looking at potatoes. But, I just accept. I always push the trolley. Helvi never does! It is my domain.

Because of the perusal shopping habits by my wife I have taken to following her dutifully from behind. The middle isles at Aldi’s are the slowest.  They carry non-food items. This is where mainly women are to be found. Men only congregate around the power-tools or sets of multiple screwdrivers. Each Wednesday there are new items. Most of them are of utensil or household varieties but can include fashion, ski apparel, chairs, TV’s and lots of kitchen gadgets. Some of the uses are too esoteric for me to comprehend. These aisles can still at times cause some marital friction. I have to be extra beware not to make snide remarks. Last week there were large rubber balls to roll-around over to become athletic and slim again. ‘Athletic, with row after row of sugary drinks, acres of chocolate and lollies, I suggested?’  ‘Don’t always be so negative’, Helvi said.

I have a roll of calming mints just in case.

The ultimate of self-control is mustered when we get to a new supply of beauty products/pharmaceuticals, especially creams and re-hydrating ointments including carotene make-up with celery extract. The worst are the moisturising creams and hair-colouring divisions. I get close to feeling sick. There is something about that section that I need support with. I end up leaning against a shelf. I need support, almost medical intervention. It is so boring. Helvi knows it but takes no notice. She knows the ritual and tells me, ‘Just go to the frozen fish section.’  ‘I need more time, she says.’ She knows I like prawns and salmon. Of course, she is right. I don’t mind the perusing of fruit and veggies, fish. Why then the impatience at the middle aisles, especially the beauty articles.

Could it be the profusion of so many beauty articles in the bathroom already?

But as always. It comes to an end.I load the car up and return the trolley. I get my coin. We drive home.

Till, next time.


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35 Responses to “Shopping perils.”

  1. DisandDat Says:


    Liked by 1 person

  2. janesmudgeegarden Says:

    This post made me laugh because most of what you say occurs between my husband and me in the supermarket too, except for the beauty products- I don’t like to spend too much time there. My husband likes supermarket shopping too, but always wants to go more quickly than me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      It depends on one’s mood, Jane. Generally the more shoppers inside the better. A bit of a party atmosphere. Some men are helpful in filling the trolley, others stand aside and do nothing at all.
      I suppose with long married couples, those sort of things are set in concrete and difficult to change.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Gez, I dislike shopping intensely.

    Illustration 1: My wife insists we go shopping for something interesting – like say a stereo system. But then she does a bait and switch. Right next to the stereo shop is a shoe store where she announces that she needs a plain navy pair of court shoes. I gather that these are as common as mud.

    And lo and behold first go – a pair meeting the exact specification in her size.

    But no, we do not buy those. Instead we traipse around for three or four hours visiting every damned show shop in the western hemisphere. Nothing. not a sausage.

    So we go back to the first shop and but that pair.

    I spit the dummy and refuse to even enter the stereo shop – resenting the hijacking of the shopping expedition.

    I refuse to ever shop for womens shoes again. Not in this lifetime, nor, if the Buddha is correct – in the next half a dozen lifetimes.

    Illustration 2. First mate insists that I need a couple of new pairs of trousers. I agree because I have put on a few kilos and do not feel comfortable in the old work pants.

    We go to just one of the two shops that carry acceptable styles and sizes. Here they are. I agree to buy them. But no, I discover that I need some shirts, jumpers, shoes, belt and sports jacket – because “you need to create a definite look – not just throw together anything that falls out of the wardrobe”.

    This is news to me. But resistance is futile. She puts the lot on her credit card. Which is fine by me until I discover that we just spent $1,300.

    There is one exception to my dislike for shopping. We have a local nursery with the most wonderful plants displayed in inspiring arrays – and the man is a bonsai genius.

    …. and Bunnings, which I regard as a bloke’s theme park – not really shopping – weekend sport.

    Liked by 4 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Trouserzoff, shopping is riddled with contradictions. A good therapist might be helpful in overcoming shopping prejudices. A bad childhood experience or brutal headmaster with a bamboo stick could well be the reason.

      Helvi is very good with her fashion buying but I generally stay outside and lean against a telegraph pole together with other men whose partners are inside the fashion shop trying out apparel.

      Sometimes she beckons me inside with a crooked finger which I dare not disobey. I have to tell her I like the garment. She is the happiest girl in town then, and a good day follows.

      I don’t care for fashion myself and this is a mooted point. ‘Why don’t you take more care about yourself, Gerard, she will say.’ She is forever pulling the back of my shirt or jumper down and fiddles with my sleeves.

      They say, that is true love.

      Bunnings is a man’s world but women are making inroads in the tool department. Last week I saw a woman leaving Bunning with a huge bolt-cutter. She was smiling. Who knows what she was planning to cut!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Therese Trouserzoff Says:

        Who knows? Lorena Bobbit!

        I was an only child and I spent a lot of time with my Mum. She was an avid and excellent knitter and so there were many expeditions to buy wool from – as amazing as it sounds – a women’s haberdasherie


      • Therese Trouserzoff Says:

        In East Hills. It was acutely boring and not a little embarrassing with all those industrial grade women’s undergarments and interminable discussions about wool and knitting patterns.


      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, I remember Lorena Bobbit. That is overdoing it, Trouserzoff. Mums always knitted. I would always get new pair of knitted socks for Christmas. They were grey and would greet me on Christmas morning hanging from the chimney.


  4. Yeah, Another Blogger Says:

    Hello Gerard.
    I like supermarket shopping too. Somehow it soothes me.

    I hadn’t in a long time thought about shopping carts that require a coin in order to use them. I live in the USA and there used to be some stores with that arrangement. But now, for years, you take your cart for free — no coin required.

    See you.
    Neil S.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, but carts for free end up disturbing the ducks in the creek. Careless shoppers think nothing of taking their trolleys home and just discarding the trolley.
      In Hong Kong supermarkets, they have an electronic system which freezes the wheels on the trolley once the perimeter of the car park has been reached.
      The interlockable trolley system seems to work and it is free. The coin gets returned after the trolley returns and locked with its previous partners.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Andrew Says:

    You are a saint Gerard. Shopping is the devil’s invention. How many oranges do you need to squeeze before you choose one? Repeat several times. I occasionally get roped in but always under duress. I don’t mind the camera shops and will wander round bookshops quite happily. But that’s it. Trolley duty is better than having to choose the vegetables but on the whole I would rather go to the dentist.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      You know, Andrew.
      Yesterday we went to Aldi’s and there were no bananas. Many shoppers were milling around were bananas used to be displayed. Just a large open space and two notes in upper case lettering;

      “”Our apologies to our customers. The bananas were not thought to be of high enough standard to be sold.”

      Many shoppers looked stunned. One elderly man was sobbing and said, ‘I depend on bananas, they keep me regular.’ Bananas are a big-ticket item and of enormous importance. It is the first time in our lives we have encountered a banana-less supermarket.

      It was eerie and reminded me of the last war when people cued up for potato- peel soup in bombed-out Rotterdam. Which reminds me of a good movie. “The literary potato-peel society.'”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Andrew Says:

        Yes. We have no bananas. A very famous song. Aldi should have played that as comfort. It must have been very traumatic. I can not think what would happen in City Super if there were no lychees. I have not seen the movie. It sounds fascinating. I will check whether it is on YouTube.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Dorot Brett Says:

    Another one Ge4ard that made me ,argh out loud, and I needed that too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Dot. We can all do with more laughter. I remember laughing. It was on a sunny afternoon, and Milo dropped one but close to a fence . No one could possibly step on it. A woman jogger saw it; “You should pick it up.” she said. I said, ”Finders keepers.”


  7. jennypellett Says:

    I often wonder about couple-shopping. I’ve never done it myself, prefer to go alone, spend as much time or not as I like deciding on what to put in my trolley. However, I’ve often thought, whilst queuing at the checkout, that the items in someone else’s trolley look so much more appealing and have even daydreamed of a wheelie hi-jack. Perhaps two heads collect a more exciting mix of comestibles. I can’t see it occurring anytime soon here though…
    Another great post, Gerard. You do make me laugh.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Sometimes you feel like giving a shopper a standing ovation. There they all are; sweet potatoes, carrots, celery, lots of fruit including strawberries. Perhaps some Greek yoghurt. Very little sweets and no soft drinks. Perhaps a bottle of wine, salmon cutlets with wasabi. AND…the life-giving but tightly packed anchovies.
      I admit, I do sneak in a sausage or two. Helvi cheerfully chucks them back. I retaliate with frozen prawns which she doesn’t like. I daren’t put back a tube of her hydrating cream.


  8. Robert Parker Says:

    This is a fun post, and sounds an awful lot like my family.
    The supermarkets here, at least in bad weather, are definitely our village greens, where everyone socializes. If the produce is local, they put little signs on the bins, with the name of the farm, and a snapshot of the farmer. On weekends, they set up little tables to give samples of cheese or to persuade them to buy new seasoning mixes, etc.
    What will the people do, when Amazon drones drop off their orders, onto their front stoop?

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Village markets are the best, Robert.

      We often get our fill of herbs and vegies. One oriental looking man is famous for his spring rolls. He cooks them in very hot oil. Inside is cabbage and some pork-mince with spices.

      Amazon is a real spoiler but I sell my books through them. Not that it brings in much. I pay about a third in taxation to the American Government. I hope it is appreciated. I wonder if they are subject to this trade war. Let’s not go there.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Oh you men! Give you a little work and you fall apart. Don’t you know that perusing all those beauty products are prolonging our feminine attributes? Who knows, maybe we will get so attractive someone else will beg to push our trolley and you can just hang out at the TV department and follow the cricket match . Shopping is an experience.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      So true, Kayti,
      Men are attracted to Helvi inside super markets and outside as well. A gentle touching of trolleys or some remark about the baby-beetroots and a rapport seems to quickly develop. She has that aura about her. A smiling face with large open eyes and above all her easy laughter.
      At Uni she was called the ‘Mona Lisa.’
      Men are forever ogling women who they deem to be beautiful or attractive. But their notion of ‘attractive’ is dodgy, seeing most of their staring is concentrated from the cleavage down.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. shoreacres Says:

    Now that I’ve finished laughing at Kayti’s comment, I can add that I adore grocery shopping. Of course, I haven’t shopped with someone since my mother died; that was the sort of experience that sometimes led to deep sighs on my part, and occasional toe-tapping. Mom wasn’t too good at making decisions, so the time in front of the yogurt or in the cereal aisle could expand toward infinity.

    I’ve actually begun to have more conversations with other shoppers over the past couple of years, due to one of my idiosyncracies: a paper shopping list. While everyone else is peering into their device, I’m scratching off items with my pen. It’s an odd sight, especially for the children. “Mommy, what is that woman doing?” they ask. “That’s a shopping list, too,” she says. “The kind they used in the Pleistocene.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yvonne Says:

      With apologies to me old mate Gerard, I wrote about shopping lists today, I love them!

      Liked by 2 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, I remember some time ago about your support for shopping lists, Yvonne. Thank you for reminding us.There is so much going on in super-markets. I sometimes feel like setting up camp in the parking area. You know, have a little fire. Boil the billy. Make some Gluh-Wein with cloves. Curl around the ashes afterwards.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Linda. Grocery shopping is an opportunity not to be missed. I have now come to accept that some shoppers use their cell-phone to contact their partner even when the partner is just 50 meters away. There might be some issue with the butter or margarine.

      The dairy sections are always the busiest. The yoghurt division alone can cause congestion. There are so many choices. Blue-berry or mango yoghurt? Then there is the bacteria growing Yocult as well to consider.

      There are still paper lists. We use them. I pick old ones up from stray trolleys. I am curious what items there are on old lists.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Big M Says:

    I have shopped with Mrs M since she had a mastectomy over a decade ago. She struggles to control the trolley, so, like you, I am in charge of bags, trolley and purchasing alcohol. We’ve taken to having a pub dinner then shopping in the evening. Less buffoons blocking the aisles!

    Of course we have independent shopping trips, she buys milk, avocados and cold meat. I buy beer, chips and dips. Oh, and her dress purchases are always independent, essential, and somehow save us money.

    We do slip off too Bunnings together. My plan of buying a spare 18 volt Bosch battery, or special screws, or builders glue seems to expand to include soil, liquid fertiliser and cos lettuce!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We sometimes have a Thai lunch after shopping. A little reward for endurance. Our alcohol purchases are being reduced. There have been a lot of negative comments lately about drinking. Gruesome pictures of amputated limbs or engorged sliced open stomachs due to too much imbibing of Shiraz is not enticing. Not sure yoghurt is the answer.

      Helvi knows nothing about trolleys and would not know how to free one from its lockable queue. The same with cash registers. I deal with that while she saunters off to study the latest catalogue. At Aldi’s the scanning of items is lightening fast and it isn’t always easy to deal simultaneously with paying and reloading the trolley.

      We too buy all our gardening stuff from Bunnings. Staff are taught to smile and ask ‘How are you today or/and welcome at Bunnings.’
      ‘Can I help you with something?’

      Liked by 1 person

  12. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    HA! I love it! 😀 Well, I think men are better shoppers than women!

    Say, do your tap the watermelons to see if they are ripe?! 😀

    The only part of shopping I enjoy is talking to all the people. One time a lady walked by me carrying two large cantaloupe, one in each hand, at chest level. I winked at her and said, “Nice melons!” She laughed and said, “Thank you!” which caused me to laugh, too! 🙂

    Carolyn 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I used to tap the onions, just as a joke to see reactions of shoppers. Some shoppers are very fussy and will study each tomato as if they are buying precious jewellery.
      I think that the demand for fruit and vegies to look perfect is a bit overdone. So much produce gets thrown out because of some slight blemish.
      Your ‘Nice Lemons’ made me laugh. I am not sure I could say that to a female shopper. She might call the police and have me thrown in the Paddy-wagon.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Yvonne Says:

    I always look forward to your funny posts, Gerard. I don’t like grocer shopping at all. Maybe Helvi could do it for me?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Master of Something Yet Says:

    When my kids were little, going to the supermarket at night alone was like a respite session. My favourite thing with the trolley is to find an empty aisle, run fast and lean on the handle, lifting my feet and ride the trolley down the aisle.
    I’m a sucker for the children’s books in that middle aisle. I claim them as a work expense for my teaching.


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