Monday, 3 December 2012

Shopping With Babes and Mum
By 2050 they'll have taken over

He nearly crashes into me at the Cakes corner. He’s steaming round with his baby buggy from the Desserts, I’m heading from the Deli Fridge. “Do we really need more rice?” he asks.

I’m about to suggest he tries couscous, although he doesn’t look like a couscous kind of man, when the cord dangling from his ear tells me it’s not my opinion he’s canvassing.

“OK babes” he sighs, moving on as he stuffs another packet of Uncle Ben’s into the basket balanced by the child’s rack of toys, “Your mum….”

I examine my crumpled shopping list.  Milk Toothpaste Chilli Powder Pasta.   I feel like a relic of a simpler time, like a mastodon who’s made it into the Bronze Age. I check what we need, write it down, and get it.  In other aspects of my life I’m as chaotic as a teenager, but my shopping runs along rigid lines, thanks to that Pleistocene scrap of paper.

Hands-free guy has parked the buggy by the cheese. “Does it have to be Cheshire, babes?” he moans, spitting “Your mum!…. no, not three….” but he slips the packets into the basket anyway. As I pass I hold up my list to show him there’s another way which involves no arguments, no looming relatives, no payment plans. He’s too busy balancing the crammed basket on the top of the buggy to notice.

The milk has moved. I curse the chain stores and their way of shifting the shelves around hoping you’ll be tempted by all the crisp packets you pass as you search. But Tescos Inc have met their match with me and my list.

He’s now by the cereals, having a furious argument about Cocoa Pops. Mum doesn’t like Shreddies, and he’s outnumbered by her and babes. I cruise past, but they’ve moved the pasta as well so he just beats me to the till queue. Baby’s begining to moan. His basket is overflowing while mine contains the four items. “Chicken nuggets on two for one? Look, I’m… OK, OK….”

He pushes his way past me back into the shop to dig out the nuggets. I’m left alone with baby and pull a face at it.

I finally make it through the till. “Want our Loyalty Card?” asks the woman. 

I check my list.  Milk Toothpaste Chilli Powder Pasta.   “No” I say. 


  1. Insightful. Our parliament is about to vote on FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) shortly and decide whether to take another giant step in the evolution of mankind and let Tesco and Walmart in or not.

    1. India's given the UK thousands of wonderful restaurants. And what do we give you in return? Tescos! Life just isn't fair....

  2. There ought to be a law about changing shelf layouts in supermarkets. It takes me months to remember where things are. My OH never sees the need to take me shopping; only the list and sometimes, under duress, our daughter.

    1. My sympathies. I sometimes think supermarkets should be forced to offer us satnav at the entrance to help us find our way...