Richard Moore: Let's resolve not to go off our trolleys

By Richard Moore

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It's difficult to avoid a head-on collision in a packed supermarket. Photo/Thinkstock
It's difficult to avoid a head-on collision in a packed supermarket. Photo/Thinkstock

Hands up if you made a New Year resolution. It's been a week now so how many of you have broken them already?

Don't worry because there is something much more important people need to resolve to do - and I mean most people.

It came to me while I was driving into the supermarket car park, where the place was feral.

A car was trying to go into a disabled park but a trolley had encroached into it while a woman was unloading it into her boot and the driver didn't trust themselves to edge past it. Considering the car was only slightly bigger than the trolley it shouldn't have been an issue but the point is the woman's complete lack of noticing anything outside her own bubble.

A teenage girl went up to her, offered to move the trolley, did so and the woman barely stopped what she was doing to acknowledge the deed, let alone be apologetic for causing traffic to bank up behind the parking car, or my vehicle, or the 10 others now lined up behind me.

Heading into the store I picked up a small trolley and zoomed into the place.

Well, when I say zoomed it was more of a zoo ... as I was cut off by two yacking women before I got into the store.

Ah well, they clearly are in more of a hurry than me so, okay ladies, on you go.

Only they didn't. No sooner had they got inside the metal bars at the entry they stopped dead. Blocking both entries. There they decided to find their shopping lists and have a yack.

Slightly slower than glaciers, they eventually got their acts together enough to unblock one entry, allowing me to drop down into first and scoot around them - only to be blocked within three trolley lengths by a family closing one route while the youngest got to pick the strawberry punnets.

My head dropped, my shoulders sagged and I knew my seek and destroy shopping mission was going to last longer than Moses leading the Israelites out of the desert.

Now, I am not sure how you shop, but in the supermarket I have my eyes open and radar on. I don't leave my trolley blocking an aisle, nor sitting in the middle of an obviously busy route.

But it seems I am in the minority and within seconds I was seeing red in the greengrocery as unattended carts blocked every turn. And, if you managed to negotiate the maze, you were stopped as someone picked over fruit as if it were gold.

Accelerating past the seafood stall with a wave to the staff there and a quick "Merry Christmas".

For my beetroot, pear, honey and lettuce salad I needed some walnuts and wouldn't you know it, the nuts of preferment were sitting alluringly in plastic bins behind the parked trolley of an elderly couple on a budget.

How did I know this? The old guy was recounting the dozen hazel nuts in his bag.


I contorted myself in rubber band fashion - very difficult for a guy of my size - to fit my hand between his wheels and get a scoopful of the nuts.

Barely slowing past the milk section, I grabbed a two-litre pale-blue top and cream for the pavs and moved on.

Don't need cheese, don't need bread, nor eggs, so it was a quick left and my brain was racing in the open expanse of the central aisle.

Phwwwwoooooom! A trolley flashed across my front from a side aisle followed by the wee-waaah, wee-waaah, wee-waaah of a file of crying kids.

Straight ahead a determined-looking lady is headed towards me at full power. To avoid a head-on I go left, she goes right. I stop, decide to get out of her way and go right. She goes left. With a smile I silently point an upraised palm to my left. She barely grimaces before disappearing off leaving black wheel marks on the lino.

Now I'm getting foul looks for being stopped in the middle of the centre aisle. Sigh. I shrug and say "sorry, man driver, Auckland, not used to supermarkets" and just wear the scorn coming my way.

What's next?

Phwwwwoooooom! There's that trolley again.

Wee-waaah, wee-waaah, wee-waaah ... there go the kids.

Five minutes later I'm set to pick my checkout aisle.

I have to say I never have any luck doing this. It doesn't matter what store, whichever queue I go for will end up being the slowest.

It will have the trainee operator, or a bag will have a hole in, or there will be a missing price, or the customer has forgotten something and buggers off to get it when she has only one item left to put through ... I'm cursed.

I do the eeny, meeny, miney and pick a line only to be joined by a nice lady with her four kids under 5 who decide that the best thing to do in a supermarket queue is to make loud and annoying noises.

I look to heaven and ask God to take me now.

He doesn't oblige and after 10 minutes of delightful "entertainment" I'm through the checkout with a "Merry Christmas" to the operator and a "ho-ho-ho" to all.

Anyway, in case you hadn't guessed, the resolution all people should make is to open your eyes and ears and be aware of what is going on around you. And, most of all, think of others first ... it's just plain, good manners.

And doing so will make for a better 2014.

Richard Moore is an award-winning Western Bay journalist and photographer.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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