A mate of mine has just returned from a visit to the Big Smoke.
It would be fair to say the experience has left him somewhat shaken. Maybe even a little bit embarrassed.
He relayed such the other night at our regular BSG (Blokes Support Group) meeting where we all nodded solemnly and knowingly over our beer when he said his girls had wanted to do "a bit of shopping".
Naturally the trip hadn't been sold to the driver on that basis. His Boomerang Child had said, "let's support mum in her bid to find empowerment and enrichment" (or something like that) in a certain sporting endeavour and naturally, being the supportive hubby and dad he is, he had agreed.
Some hours after arriving in the Big Smoke he found himself wandering bewildered and alone along a busy road pushing a shopping trolley and wondering what on earth had happened.
Here's how it all went down.
Apparently mum's sporting endeavour went well and to celebrate daughter decided a trip to the big shopping mall nearby was in order.
At this stage all of us in the BSG were nodding enthusiastically to signify we had all been there and knew exactly what he was on about.
Anyway, before he could trot out Excuse 754 from the Blokes Code of Conduct (Page 345, paragraph 7, sub-section 2) he found himself looking after two handbags and gazing up at the ceiling as they all did the Undie Shop Shuffle.
At this stage some members of the BSG were nodding so hard pulled neck muscles were a very real possibility.
Now, like most blokes will tell you, in such situations if you can get out you should. And he did. Volunteering to go get the groceries at the supermarket - obviously there was no power tool shop handy - attached to the other end of mall somewhere over the horizon.
And he did just that, emerging an hour or so later with a shopping trolley full of goodies. There was just one thing. The car was parked back at the other end of the complex, maybe 30 miles away.
OK, I'm exaggerating a bit there and I'm using "miles" instead of "kilometres" to emphasise the distance thing. Let's just say it was a long, long, long way to the car.
So, off he sets.
Now the thing with shopping trolleys is they aren't built for anything other than a quick trip across the asphalt of the car park. Mall planners have obviously not taken the stranded male shopper into account when designs are sent through to the council for the official stamp of approval.
But our mate is a resourceful chap and the BSG grunted in approval as he explained how he didn't want to break the bearings in the trolley wheels by lugging it up and over kerbs and verges, so naturally he just followed a smooth concrete path which would, obviously, lead to a short cut which would, obviously, get him back to the car.
He did see lots of cars though. Posh ones. Audis, Beamers, Mercs. All flying down the roads he was wandering along with the drivers looking up from their cellphones long enough to wonder who this strange bloke pushing a shopping trolley round their neighbourhood, miles from any supermarket was.
Eventually he's made it back to the car and the, by now, waiting girls. He's tired. His back hurts and the block of cheese he'd plucked from the chiller an eternity ago has gone all soft round the edges.
But it's not over yet.
He (and the BSG) knows full well 10 minutes up the road there's another mall and he'll be asked to stop again because shop A didn't have brand B that girlfriend C told his girls they should try.
He puts himself on autopilot as they pull in and park and politely declines their invitation to join him inside, quoting Excuse 347 from the Blokes Code of Conduct (Page 136, paragraph 3, sub-section 4).
That's the one that says he'll just sit in the car this time and wait.