Friday, 15 September 2017

Why Do Supermarkets Bring Out The WORST In People?!

There are certain places where you kind of expect a bit of bad behaviour.  A noisy bar after midnight, with a 2 for 1 drinks offer in progress, for example.  But I honestly think that one of the worst places for bad behaviour isn't a nightclub, or a school playground or anywhere else that might immediately spring to mind...

...It's the supermarket.

There's something about a trip to the supermarket that just seems to bring out the absolute worst in people.  Maybe it's the monotony of doing the weekly shop.  Perhaps it's horror at the price of loo roll.  I'm not entirely sure, but something definitely sets people off.

How do I know?  Because I've experienced it first hand.  

There's even a name for the bad behaviour seen in supermarkets: Trolley Rage.

Trolley Rage can encompass anything from pushing in front of someone else at the checkouts (which, here in Britain, is basically punishable by death), to making a dash for the last on-sale item on the shelf, before anyone else gets there.

For me, there are three major things in supermarkets that grind my gears.  And because I love to share, I'm going to tell you what they are.

The first one might be contentious, because I'm about to slag off a parenting technique and let's face it, I don't have kids (unless they're hiding under the bed or something and I just kind of... Forgot?  Maybe I should check...).

Look, mums and dads, I know that kids hate shopping.  It's a universally accepted fact.  And I am all for you picking up a punnet of grapes, or a packet of crisps for them to munch whilst you shop.  


Let's be really honest about it: if you don't pay for the random food item you've grabbed from the nearest shelf, in order to settle your bored toddler, you're stealing.  There's no other word for it.  And in doing so, you're sending your kid the message that that's okay.  Which it's not (even if you use the "but supermarkets make loads of money, they won't miss the cost of this bag of cherries" argument).

When I see parents grab a packet of something and let their little munchkin eat the whole thing, before shoving the now-empty packet into their bag when it comes to reaching the checkout, it makes me ever so slightly rage-y.

Just pay for the damn thing and then nobody has to get that weird pulsating vein in their forehead, okay?!

The second thing that really annoys me, is people with no apparent awareness of the fact that other people are shopping and might, you know, need to get stuff, or make their way through the aisles.

These are the kinds of people that leave their trolleys slap bang in the middle of a crowded aisle, or who casually prop them against an entire display, blocking it from anyone who might want to take something off the shelf.  These are also the people who stand for what feels like a thousand, million years, trying to decide between supermarket juice or a more expensive brand, whilst you're desperately pawing at the shelf, saying "excuse me, please" over and over, unable to reach the flipping juice you want.

I've had run-ins with these kind of people twice in the last week.  At the weekend, I went to buy some pyjamas from my local Tesco.  A woman was looking at the rail where the pyjamas I wanted to grab, were.  She'd been there since before me, so I figured she'd be finished soon and then I could pick up a pair from the rack.  So, I waited.  And then I waited longer.  And longer.  Eventually, I feared I would have aged so much by the time this woman was done staring at the pyjamas and casually touching them (did she have some kind of fetish?!), that I said "excuse me" and waited for her to make room for me to grab a pair.  She did not.  So I tried reaching for them anyway and she body blocked me.  She knew I was waiting to grab a pair, but there was no way she was going to let that happen.

Let me remind you, this wasn't happening over the last TV in a half price sale.  It was supermarket PJs, of which there were plenty.

When she finally moved aside (several minutes later), I reached for the pyjamas and she dived beneath my arm, so she could carry on examining the rest on the rack.  She then stood up, bashed my arm with her head and stared furiously at me, whilst moaning "OUCH" in a very dramatic fashion.  Seriously, you'd have thought I'd actually punched her.

Being British, I of course apologised, whilst mentally picturing myself burying her beneath a pile of pyjamas and other night attire, because if there's one thing we do well in the UK, it's internalised rage.

I might look completely innocent, but in my mind, I've already murdered you.  Twice.

The second incident happened earlier today, when I popped to Tesco (what is it with that place?!) for some batteries for my shiny new cinema sign (my YouTube videos are going to feature this constantly, now).  I arrived at the store.  I could see the batteries, all on display on one of those end-of-aisle shelves.  I could also see a couple, blocking the entire display with their trolley, whilst they browsed batteries.

Again, being British, I tried to lean precariously across the trolley without moving it.  I was talking to my mum, who'd come with me, as I flailed in the general direction of the shelf, and the female half of this couple turned and stared at me like I had just trampled over her baby.  So, I smiled and said "sorry" as I leaned further, trying to grab a packet of double AAs which were just slightly out of reach.  At this point, you'd think maybe a woman with a brain larger than a grain of sand might have moved her trolley for me, to ease the situation, but nope.  This woman was, to paraphrase Maggie Thatcher, not for wheeling.

Having said "excuse me" and been ignored by this point, I had no choice but to gently move their trolley slightly, so I could squeeze between it and the shelf, in order to grab the batteries I wanted.  The woman's response?  DEATH STARES and that most British of traditions: tutting.  As I walked away with my loot, she pointedly "muttered" (loud enough to ensure I heard): "Just push my trolley out of the way, why don't you?!"

Which was just about irritating enough for me to actually snap: "JUST BLOCK THE WHOLE DISPLAY WITH YOUR TROLLEY AND REFUSE TO MOVE OUT OF THE WAY, WHY DON'T YOU?!"

And then I ran away pretty quickly.  Because I'm feisty, but I'm not that brave.

I have ALL the words, but please don't hurt me.

The third thing that winds me up about supermarkets?

People who unpack all of their shopping onto the conveyor belt at the end, but DON'T PUT A DIVIDER DOWN, AFTERWARDS.

Guys.  It separates your shopping from mine.  It's your polite, non-verbal way of saying "I'm done, now; it's your turn!"

Of course, I have a very calm and rational reaction to seeing people do this...

Look, I doubt supermarket shopping is ever going to be anyone's favourite activity.  And I don't want to be some weirdly anal human who starts suggesting that we need supermarket rules, but...

  • Pay for everything.
  • Be considerate of other people needing to reach things or get past you in the aisles.

Aaaaaand relax.

I'm going to go and chill out, now.  I think I'll settle down with some chocolate and a glass of wine.

Except there's no wine in the house, so...

...I'm just off to Tesco.


  1. Blergh, it's no better in the US, I can attest to that. The aisle blocking is easily the worst. And while I don't go to Walmart, I hear the behavior there is Twilight Zone worthy!

  2. I can well imagine!! It honestly drives me batty!


Drop me a line!