Posts Tagged ‘Shopping’

Shopping perils.

July 24, 2018
Image result for shoppers


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.


Is eating associated with dumping shopping trolleys?

July 9, 2018
Image result for dumped shopping trolleys

Nowadays people eat while doing things. You see eating going on everywhere. In the library. Crossing the street. While buying food. In church,and Post office. Even Real Estate agents are eating continuously now. Lawyers eat while being presented by briefs. On TV ads you now also see large models being featured. They too eat while lounging in a Norwegian chair. This morning I watched a mother parking two young children in a child-minding place. She had a sandwich clutched between her teeth while undoing their harnesses. People eat while driving.

Cars now have twin-cup holders at front and back. Some cars have refrigerated glove boxes.  They keep TV dinners in there. I heard that special mini micro-waves can be plugged in the car for some quick cooking of pizzas or sides of pork. Eating while working go hand in hand (or more likely in mouth.) Of course eating food involves the buying of it. The most normal combination is eating while shopping. What can be more convenient? The shopping cart is being filled with yet more food.

With my iPhone now used to count steps we went for a walk to town and back. Milo is getting older in tandem with us. We break our walk in town with a small latte. In winter we do rug up. Carrying coats and wearing gloves and scarf we started around 11am. During our latte stop-over we counted 2600 steps. Not bad. We resumed back again with the three of us having had a rest. Helvi decided to walk seriously and sprinted ahead of me. I can’t do that with Milo. He wants to sniff every bit of greenery before the obligatory leg-up. It makes some people smile. Often they will ask permission to pat Milo. He is indifferent to patting. He is spoiled.  I wish I could get those pats. One woman who I asked for a pat said; ‘if you were as good looking as Milo you too would get patted’. A cruel world out there.

It was when Helvi went around the next corner I noticed a fast walking young women pushing a food loaded trolley past me and Milo. It has always irked me to find abandoned shopping trolleys. Was she a shopping trolley dumper? She had all the hallmarks of one. They have an arrogance about them. She did not give Milo a look.  Not a good look!  She stopped at her car and opened the door. Of course, needless to say, she ripped a packet of something and fed some of its contents into her mouth. Milo was busy sniffing a bit of garden belonging to the United Church. I turned my back to this young woman unloading her shopping trolley. I wanted her to be relaxed and not feel being surveyed by an elderly chagrined looking man. I so desperately wanted to know if she had the decency to return the trolley. Would my summation of her being a shopping trolley dumper be correct?

Milo, in the meantime was sniffed out and wanted to know where Helvi had disappeared to. The girl had unloaded the trolley and slammed the car door. What next? I slowly walked by and deliberately dropped a paper hanky on the pavement. This gave me time to observe what she was doing with the trolley. I bend down to pick up the paper hanky while hoping she would be able to recognise the civility and obligation of someone not littering the footpath. I was pleasantly relieved to see she walked with the trolley across the road.  Was I so mistaken? Why do I so often see the bad sides of people? Am I so negative?

The woman crossed the road with the trolley and lifted it in the ‘nature strip’. She walked back to her car and drove off. She was a trolley dumper. I could have smacked her. But she was across the road. I am thinking of getting some wheel-clamps.

I was vindicated after all. The iPhone told us we did well over 6000 steps. That has to be good.

Post-shopping- detoxing at Oosterman Treats rehab. (PSD)

December 31, 2016

images Christmas shoppers

Yes, I understand. It is not your fault. Have you thought of handing it over to your higher power? There were a group of pale looking people huddled up at the basement of the Woollies car park. This car park is particularly cheerless. It has cold-blue neon lighting and looks so grim. Hard concrete columns with paint scrapings left by cars whose drivers took too sharp a turn around those columns. It is deliberate though, we know that. The only way out of the bunker-like environment of this soul-less car park is to walk the gauntlet of ramps and escape inside the warm welcoming, and cash yearning bosom of Woollies ‘the real food people’ shop. The lighting there is warm, inviting, and at the entrance are large pictures of moist apples, and bunches of rosy-cheeked kids showing real food eating with real healthy foods.

The people at the basement car park were part of a group doing a meeting. They were self admitted shopping-addicts. Each time they met it was to try and stop the disease of uncontrolled shopping. A careful observer would notice few men, but women formed the majority. Many had twitching and jerky hand movements. A result of handing over credit-cards, often involuntary. They had no control. But, as it was often pointed out by their leader, a bearded guru-like man of a somewhat elderly appearance; It was not their fault. It is a disease, he kept reminding the group. One woman told the meeting while standing, she had been clean for over seven weeks. A loud clapping followed. When she sat down she had tears in her eyes.

Of course, the shopping addiction does not include normal everyday household items such as apples, salt or oat-meal. No, the goods that are so addictive are generally grouped under this terrible but very addictive and pernicious name; ACCESSORIES. If ever it was possible to become addicted, it was to that word and all that it entails. It hints at something that is terribly needed. We all need accessories to living, don’t we? We can’t live by air alone. We need an accessory. Anything and everything actually falls under accessories. The shopper buys something, comes home, and casually mention they bought an accessory. The husband (or wife), dutifully bound, looks up from the newspaper, often The Daily Telegraph, and mumbles ‘oh that’s nice dear.’ The Daily Telegraphs of this world are of course totally in tandem with the world of accessories. Page after page they feature adds for handbags, lettuce spinners, sound-bars, 3d printers, rocket-like juice makers, vacuum-cleaners. You name it. It is all full on party-time for the shopping addict. The lure of handing over the credit card and walk out with something wrapped up, anything really. The zing-tone of the scanner is enough to set some off on a shopping binge.

One wonders if this desire to shop for ‘accessories’ is associated to the much heralded ‘life-style? Everything is now linked to life-style. From a Norwegian chair to a drill from Bunnings, all is part of a much needed life-style. At many social events it is now perfectly acceptable and normal to ask about someone’s life-style.

One man at the group was sobbing quietly in a corner. When asked, why?, he confessed to having busted a few days before. ‘I don’t know what happened,’ he said. ‘I found myself at Bunnings and bought a hammer-drill. It all went so quickly, it was done in no-time.’ The man was heaving with remorse. It was heart rending to watch. ‘My wife found out. She had enough. She is leaving me. She told me I have six hammer-drills already.’ Some still in their boxes. The floor is littered with Alan keys.’

The group leader sagely and ever so gently, told the man that busting is fairly normal and not his fault. It is a disease, he said. ‘Just hand it over to your higher power.’ We all get stronger after each bust and pick ourselves up and try again. One lady shared she has over 50 handbags. ‘Oh, that’s nothing, another said. I have over 70 pairs of shoes.’ They all clapped again after this revelation and sharing.

The group shared cups of tea afterwards with an Aldi biscuit, and each went their own way.

It is not easy.

Economic Shrinkage

January 12, 2011

Shoppers in Sydney (William West/AFP)

Economic shrinkage


Gerard Oosterman

Gerard Oosterman

Australia is still leading in growth, both economically but also in our body size, melanomas, diabetes and carbon emissions. The only light on the horizon is our waning of consuming.

The Christmas shopping has been the slowest and, in my opinion, the best for years. Are we now going to lead the world in something far more important and world changing? Have the first seeds been sown in this country in coming to believe and realise that mindless consuming is moronic as well as being one of the reasons our grandkids futures might be vanishing rapidly?

For the first time all of our friends decided to forego spending money on presents apart from those for the very young for whom Christmas and presents is still somehow connected to a world of magic and joy. Mind you, I noticed that many children have trouble actually wanting something from Santa that they are not already owning!

We have an annual Christmas party with friends that dates back more than 20 years. The same people meet and at the same friend’s house. A few have dropped off their perch but by and large the main body of friends are still around and stick to the party year in year out. It is a tradition born out of friendships that have lasted decades. Part of it was the giving of cards and gifts. This year for some inexplicable reason we all decided to just cook lovely food but not continue with the giving of cards and presents.

Hopefully, this is groundbreaking and the start of trying to continue without blind obedience to the God of Terminal Materialism and addiction to endless buying of stuff that with ever-increasing speed end up on the kerb-side to be dumped on landfill.

The prediction that electricity prices might triple in the next decade have all sorts of governments worried sick. None of them have come up that if we don’t want to pay more we have to use less. Where is the banning or phasing-out of hot water storage systems, electric kettles, black tiled roofs, and giant TV screens, air-conditioning units that fight to keep solar energy out instead of using it to cool and heat our homes? Where are the planners in designing better energy efficient homes, closer to infrastructures?

At the moment everything is geared to continue with ever increasing our use of energy. The engine of materialism has to be kept oiled even if it is killing us.

Economic frugality is the bane of western capitalism with economies that rely on growth rather than shrinkage, always pretending as if none of us live in a finite world. We hear murmurings of renewable energy, responsible emission targets for the future, but precious little on lowering our energy use, lowering our consumption, lowering the world’s obsession with economic growth. Yet, this seems to be far more logical.

Generally, if you are crook you take it easy. Not, it seems, with an economy though. You ramp it up, give it a couple of fiscal shots and hope it will all pan out. In the meantime the world is getting hotter, but so what; much of it is all a bit temporary anyway.

How capable are western countries in living frugally, or, more importantly, how will the population take to reducing energy consumption, reducing water, reducing our large houses, car size, income, standards of living, reducing spending? To save the world ecology we need to reign in mad economic growth and perhaps, if not voluntary, the ‘economic shrinkage’ will force itself on us, almost as part of a natural selection and survival of the fittest. This might then well be a far worse option.

Large parts of the world already enjoy a reduction in economic growth. These are not poor countries; indeed, the US is still the powerhouse of money and wealth. It is just that those that have created the wealth, the consumer and the majority of the population, are now left in the cold without sharing this wealth. It still is in the hands of the few. Isn’t it strange that millions live now in trailers, are without health insurance and have lost their homes? All because of previous rampant economic growth.

While there are many claiming that they have missed out on the fortunes of ever increasing material wellbeing, there are also many that have more than benefitted from wealth. In blatant terminal material societies such as ours and America, there are indeed many that are floating on a warm sea of obscene wealth.

We can’t hide behind the fact that we, per capita, are the world’s largest polluters.

The times ahead will be most interesting if not very hard for many people. The idea of forever increasing growth and ever increasing profits and wealth might be of the past. Sustainability and environmental concerns will have to override economies that have become obsolete on ‘growth ideology’ and remaining blind to the world’s survival… A far more equitable sharing of the pie to others must come about. Time is running out and no way will the capitalistic methods of the survival of the richest and most cunning solve a world close to a climatic death throe. The cult of individual effort and winner takes all, ought to get much more scrutiny.

In the meantime the world is getting hotter.

Gerard Oosterman is now a word painter and blogger of tens of thousands of very wise and/or whimsical but hopefully amusing words

Shopping Addiction

December 31, 2010


 What a good and fortunate sign that shopping is getting calmer. Finally a coming to our senses, that shopping gives at best a couple of minutes of relief from our boring lives in petuniated and zinc aluminated society of the never never.
What on earth can our sated and bloated society still want? The streets during council collection days are littered with the consumables of yesterday.
Entire TV’s still in working order, unsoiled mattresses never even having witnessed a single act of conjugal bliss are being chucked out by the thousands, together with Alan keys, nests of coffee tables together with coffee bags and children’s see-saws, bicycles and triple story prams and cutlery .
This morning, while taking our Jack Russell ‘Milo” for a walk I tripped over an entire ham still in its plastic bag, it cost $ 38.50 and it was within 30 metres of the World Cricket Museum here in Bowral.
We waddle from consumable to consumable, hopelessly lost in greed and ignorant of real plight of others.
Throw away your credit card and heed the call to austerity, frugality and abstemiousness. Stop shopping.

Like lambs to the slaughter we waddle to our giant shopping malls and allow our wallets and credit cards to be swiped, wiped and walloped.

While our addiction to endless shopping might be waning; what are we going to replace it with?

Our whole way of life has been geared to endless shopping and spending. The large corporations have got us exactly where they need us to be; sedated and obedient, the perfect consumer. Of course, there is no relief from that. Watching the telly only reinforces by ads that we ought to go out quickly and drive somewhere and spend yet again. The endless drone ” just for me” and above all the primal scream “I want it now” from the Harvey store, still echos even after the Telly has been switched off. Especially our way of housing ourselves, miles away from life itself. It is no wonder we have taken to those Meccas of useless consumables.
It is going to be a hard road ahead.

So now the listless wandering about, picking up the broken bits of toys, the lost remnants of our nightmarish shopping spree, crunching the empty boxes of useless consumables, trying to fit into the yellow bin.
White Styrofoam bits still under the couch and dried out pavlova stuck to the fridge. Prawn shells wafting around still.
What a hangover, and now the credit card bill looms like the sword of Damocles, forever haunting and hounding us till the need of a shopping fix becomes too overwhelming and yet again we will succumb to the oh so sad trip to the God and cathedrals of our shopping addiction: the holy West field Mall.