Supermarkets are hell. Grocery shopping is hell. Grocery shopping in a place where you aren’t limited in choice to just groceries and can in fact buy anything from celery to stationery, medicines to washing machines and god alone knows what more, is hell. I’d have wondered why, if vegetables were more of a nightmare than they’d originally been slated to be, people didn’t just stick to eating ice cream.
But then again, in a supermarket of such stature, you probably get your ice cream shopping done too.
It’s the sort of place where you come out with a shopping bill that looks more like a scroll transcription of an ancient epic.
And whatever the discounts may make it sound like, you’re not going to come out feeling any richer for sure.
Mum decided that as an Eighteen Year-Old Adult, I ought to join the happy family tradition of Sunday morning grocery shopping.
As if I’ve never had to do this before.
Alright then, let’s pretend I’ve made new revelations.
It is quite hell.
I can only imagine what sort of an adult I would make. I’d detest the obligatory weekly necessity and curse my human need to eat. Or something like that.
I’d be that person with noise cancelling headphones and a ton of experimental music in my ears, carefully analyzing pieces I haven’t had the chance to in the weekly rush of a [insert weird job title]’s life, carelessly striking items off my list and then getting home to realise, “I forgot to shop for toilet roll… again!”
No, I think people might want to pay me not to be an adult.
But anyway, if I had any use at all in today’s opera, it was that of the trolley. And pacifying mum. Both of which turned out to be the same.
If I had a stereotypical girlfriend, I’d be expected to lug shopping bags around, a scene anyone can identify.
Now replace the shopping bags with chillies and potatoes, and a mum grumbling about how dad wouldn’t allow a second trolley. (After all, what am I for?)
No, putting myself to a little more use than just that, I did shop for ice cream.
But I really am a multi-purpose instrument that deserves to be advertised on the shopping mart bill board. And that’s because I had another task to carry out.
And yes, they’re the same. When you’ve spent an hour at the mart, painstakingly remembering and collecting every item needed to complete this clueless treasure hunt, braving failure every step of the way, that trolley does indeed become precious as your baby. Or at least, what’s inside it does.
A short note about these failures: I’ve taken five trips up and down the store to relay from dad to mum the fact that the vegetables she’d picked out were ‘just not right’.
The second last time I got there, I handed mum the offending packet and told her, “Try again.”
The last I got there, I simply handed her a brand new report card: “F.”
Trolleysitting. When people eye so much candy on shelves, there needs to be a solid anchor to watch over your past efforts. No one said it had to be voluntary, even when the volunteer would rather be leagues away!
My grandparents were here with us today, so I had to babysit their shopping cart. Oh well, with trolleys around, absolutely nothing can be frictionless. (In narrow isles, navigating an overfilled shopping cart with maddeningly screeching wheels is an art. Avoiding the squeaky cart is more luck than an art, because almost no cart is perfect, but it seems today was my day. Ironic, given I had to go at all. But the friction today was elsewhere.)
They momentarily left me to mind the cart as they stood in line for the checkout. The minute they were gone though, all hell broke lose.
A few nods and a glance up later, I realised that they were standing in the senior citizens’ line!
Many people complain about not looking their age, and no way in hell could I ever have fit the board hanging above my head: “Sixty years and above only”. I also think I’ve been overusing the word hell today.
At any rate, my first reaction was panic mixed with a mad, fleeting moment of Inposter syndrome, and then an explanation of how I was trolleysitting. No charge per hour too.
The rest of my time there was spent bumping into (and getting squeezed by, into corners, like no one under the Jacobin government had any business to) other people who’d lucked out with rebel trolleys while typing this post out and occasionally getting that self righteous look from others in the senior citizen queue that said, “this infernal texting generation!”.
But I guess there’s one thing my “adult” self will thank mum for getting me here for: next time, we bring along Paganini.
[Edits: the ongoing civil war against Autocorrect’s subversion of my opinions.]