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Down the aisle … (Your shopping correspondent)

I think we may all appreciate a little bit of cheering up … doncha think?

This shopping trolley I picked had a dud wheel. It had a flat-spot on the rear left-hand wheel. I didn’t realise it was so bad until we had started to fill it with products … you know those shopping trolleys … you expect something to be wrong with them … after all, many of them suffer the most awful treatment; two or sometimes three little kids being pushed around the aisles by a long-suffering mother, or getting dumped in a ditch the other side of the car-park – in a shallow water drain – generally treated like shit … sad … or else it’s got the wobbly wheel. I’ve had a few of those, you know … no matter how you try to control it, the trolley gets this wriggle, wobble, rattle and you look a goose as you wrestle with its runaway attempts … or at least you think you do … and that’s just as bad.

But I don’t know if you have noticed, but you rarely see women shoppers with a dud trolley. You hardly ever see it. I suppose that women, conscious as they are of being observed from a young age as they go about their everyday business, are just too savvy to let themselves get tricked into pushing a dud trolley … the image, you know.

I tell you what is the saddest sight you’ll see down the aisles of the supermarket; the recently divorced middle-aged male trying to do his shopping. He’s never done it regularly, you see – or if at all – and he doesn’t know where things are or what’s the best buy … or even what he needs to buy … so he spends the first two weeks wandering up and down the aisles looking dazed and confused and to make it look legitimate as he finds his “shopping legs”. He’s got the first thing that represents a sense of security that springs to his recently divorced mind; a packet of “Arnott’s Monte Carlo” cremes rolling about the otherwise empty trolley like a loose cannonade in a 17th century sailing battleship. I can assert these things because I have witnessed them … with blokes I have known personally.

But I had this trolley with the flat-spot on its rear left side wheel. I don’t know how it got there, probably got jammed some time and the person kept pushing it with the one jammed wheel over the bitumen car-park till the wheel got a flat spot … and now, with the good lady loading the blasted thing up, it was coming down heavy on that wheel at every revolution so that it made a distinct “dud” sound. And when I was called upon to make a swift manoeuvre – like overtaking an aged pensioner – it would make accusative “dud-dud-dud-dud” sounds and I would feel the insult like it was directed straight at me … like the defect trolley was my fault. Women shoppers would lower their eyes and smile and I felt obliged to explain away the defect that really wasn’t my fault and curse the god of shopping trolleys … but they knew, and I do believe it gave them a comforting feeling to get one back on the “handy-man” of the species … a sort of self-satisfied “Mr Mechanic- heal thyself”.

Every now and then, for some unexplainable reason, my good lady pauses at a display of this or that product shelf and peruses the ingredients label on a number of different brand but similar products. It never ceases to amaze me that women, some of the best known cynics of the species, will yet search out the lies and misinformation in an ingredients label and take what they read as the gospel truth!

Speaking of ingredients, I’d like to take this opportunity to recommend “Natasha’s” Pomegranate and chocolate cake mix. I have it on good authority, one Lorna Roesler, who upon noticing the above product under my inquiring scrutiny, solemnly informed me:

”That is a nice one, that is … made it for my grand-daughter’s Christening party … was appreciated all round.”

… and she tapped the box and nodded her approval … and went on her way to turn the corner by the San Remo spaghetti stand.

Now I wouldn’t want you to think I dwell too long at the cake mix shelf … it is only a convenience stop while my good lady perused the John West tuna tins … always searching out, like the alchemists of old, the philosophers stone … that elusive “Tuna with brine” tin. They don’t seem to make them as much anymore. She scorns the w/tomato, peppers or other condiments and will grudgingly accept the tuna w/springwater substitute. The cake shelf is just there over the aisle … and I have to say I am intrigued by those gorgeous pictures of the perfect cakes on the packet … as much as some disgusting old bloke perverts are attracted out of the corner of their eye by those perfect legs on the “Razzamatazz” panty-hose packets or the stunning blondes and brunettes on the home-perm packs … I linger very little at any of the above … I want you to trust me on that!

But I have to say, I have observed several middle-aged shoppers handle those packs of taut-plastic food-wrapped sealed meat trays with a fondness beyond mere purchase curiosity. I see them rub their thumb over the taut film of wrap covering the ‘lamb loin chops’ so it “squeals” and “chatters” with tantalizing intensity … almost comparable to a squeal of delight! Maybe that is the attraction … and then, having stretched the tension out, they move, thinking no-one is noticing their apparent interest, to the next … but … I … am watching … I am always watching … I am watching you all!

And talking of wobbly shopping trolleys, my cousin, Ron th’ brickie … when he purchased his brand new HQ Holden, back in those days made sure it wouldn’t get scratched by a carelessly handled shopping trolley at the supermarket by parking at the furtherest  place in the car-park … only to one day witness through the café window a reckless person, after emptying their trolley of food and products, shove the trolley away carelessly into the vast emptiness of the car-park, where it ran to an almost stop, turn slightly to the downward slope and gathering speed with a wobbly wheel, steer a course as if under the control of cruel fate, directly toward the broad-side of his shiny green Holden car. And there was not a thing he could do to stop it. ”It was like torture” he reflected wistfully … and he shut his eyes at the memory.

Until next time, this is your shopping correspondent signing off.


  1. Michael Taylor

    Oh what an enjoyable read.

  2. Freethinker

    I agree with Michael,but Joe with some of your comments you are walking on a knife edge and anything can happens after the happy hour.
    With the aim of asking for a second opinion ( no steering, Michael,I ca assure you) I just wonder what will be the reaction to this paragraphin the article,quote:
    ” But I don’t know if you have noticed, but you rarely see women shoppers with a dud trolley. You hardly ever see it. I suppose that women, conscious as they are of being observed from a young age as they go about their everyday business, are just too savvy to let themselves get tricked into pushing a dud trolley … the image, you know.”

  3. Joseph Carli

    Free”T”…youse pays yers money and yers take yers chances..

  4. Kaye Lee


    Did it ever occur to you that we aren’t actually focused on how we look while we shop but that, if we get a dud trolley, we are capable of solving the problem by, yanno, swapping it?

  5. Freethinker

    Amazing it has never occurred to me,72 and still learning……

  6. Michael Taylor

    It certainly isn’t a fashion parade out our local supermarket, but I did have a friend many decades ago who just had to be the best dressed in the aisle.

    Kaye, I am guilty of being too stupid to get a new trolley. 😉

  7. Michael Taylor

    Freethinker, sometimes I think I’ve learned more in the last 12 months than the sixty years before it. It seems that the older we get, the wider our eyes open.

  8. Kaye Lee

    Joseph, it is not a contented look on my face. It’s a frown. (Oops, just noticed you removed your comment)

    You see I hate the stereotypical idea that, being a woman, I would automatically know where things are in the supermarket. My husband picks up the daily bits and pieces. My son and daughter do the big shop.

    I hate the stereotypical idea that I would care how I look when I shop. I’m not there to be looked at.

    I understand you mean no offence and I am not trying to attack you. It is just so frustrating that, after all women have achieved in the quest for equality and as I am about to turn 60, the world still thinks women are all about looking pretty and being good at house stuff.

    Perhaps if the recently divorced guy had occasionally helped with the shopping and cooking he wouldn’t feel so lost.

  9. Freethinker

    Michael, in my case I have more time to observe and appreciate, perhaps something that I have learned with my pastime doing nature photography.

  10. Joseph Carli

    Kaye Lee…I hope you were not offended by my cheap shot,…It was an old punch-line from a old joke that I had just thought of and I plonked it on the page..I have to be more careful to not let a too reckless cruel-streak get the better of me…I do appreciate your input and there is certainly no offence intended..but I do like to stir a bit…perhaps a bit too much..good onyer.

  11. Kaye Lee


    It’s all good. Having been a high school maths teacher, a youth worker, a barmaid, a waitress, a bookmaker’s clerk and a political blogger, it’s pretty much impossible to offend me. Sometimes our typed words can be misconstrued as to their intent or the emotion behind them. I am not in any way angry with you, just pointing out the annoying societal expectations of women.

  12. Harquebus

    It’s easy to tell who here drives their car to the shop.
    I don’t use shopping trolleys. What I can’t carry home in my two shopping bags has to wait another day.

    Do you have a website? I would like to see some of your photos.

  13. Kaye Lee

    When you have six adults living in your house and the nearest shop is 10km away and there are two buses a day, that is not an option. I live in paradise but we pay a price for blissful isolation.

  14. diannaart

    Kaye Lee – thank you, I need not add anything.


    Thank you for the link – I have only taken a peek, but what I saw is stunning; am especially fond of Tassie, insects, reptiles, wilderness…


  15. Harquebus

    Many thanks.

    Kaye Lee
    Is the price worth it? What happens when driving your car is also not an option?
    Thank you for informing us of your situation. I would like to discuss this and your contingencies on a more relevant page. I don’t want to sabotage J.C’s. cheering us all up.


  16. diannaart

    Speak for yourself, Harquebus, Kaye Lee & Freethinker cheered me up.

    Michael, your stewardship of AIMN is exemplary – ’tis a narrow, tangled path upon which to tread.

  17. Kaye Lee

    Solar powered delivery drones

    The reemergence of the corner store and the co-op

    More small scale farming and local markets.


    Who knows?

    And no, I don’t have room for a pony

  18. Ricardo29

    There are some very funny lines in this piece, despite the low-level sexism revealed, in both directions. The “squeals of delight” from the stroked cling wrap on a meat tray particularly appealed. At 72 I can still pick a dud trolley with my eyes closed and will manfully (?) wrestle it to a successful shopping conclusion while my wife, basket on arm heads off to get her share. I actually enjoy my weekly big shop and also make an almost daily visit for top-ups. Sad really

  19. Michael Taylor

    Thanks Dianna. Much appreciated.

  20. Michael Taylor

    Freethinker, your site is amazing. I found myself glued to it.

  21. Michael Taylor

    Harquebus, you’re missing out on the opportunity to save yourself a great deal of money. By buying up big on essentials when they are on special you can save heaps in the long run.

    For example, Woolies have our coffee on special – 50% off – so yesterday we bought six month’s supply, saving ourselves $36.

  22. Michael Taylor

    Oh the joys of living on an island. When we were hungry we went and picked mushrooms or grabbed some yabbies from the river. Once a fortnight we’d go to the beach and catch enough fish to keep us going until the next fishing trip.

  23. Kaye Lee

    Don’t apologise Ricardo. That’s the whole point. Some people like shopping. Some don’t. Because it was traditionally the woman’s job, it is assumed we are good at it, that we all enjoy it. I remember a friend offering to look after my fairly new baby whilst I went clothes shopping. I said if you really want to help, you take the baby out and I’ll stay at home.

    We are all different. Feminism is not about beating men down. It is about removing the stereotypes. Making it ok for you to enjoy shopping and ok for me to hate it. Making it ok for households to decide what works best for them in their situation. It’s about recognising that women can be the pragmatic problem solvers and men can be the nurturers, that sharing those roles leads to more satisfaction for everyone. It’s about removing unfair discrimination wherever it is directed.

    And hopefully removing “show us yer tits” from the male lexicon.

  24. Freethinker

    Thank you all for visiting my page and the kind comments, I appreciate them.
    Kaye,I hope that my comment will not be taken as a stereotype, machista, etc
    I believe that woman are nest builders, specially after they have a baby and perhaps for that reason, with their sense of responsibility and care they stay at home if that is the only option at that time.
    I admire their dedication, responsibility and care.
    I have been brought up that we all are equal, that both husband and wife should have the same opportunities and, the same responsibilities.
    Having said that, mothers are something special and as an innocent child I perceived that mum and dad have a different and special roll in the family mum was a compassion, understanding and love giving, dad was a mate and a roll model.
    That cannot be change by feminism, woman or men right, it is set on the genes.

  25. Harquebus

    Michael Taylor
    I live on specials and am drinking coffee that I bought half price months ago. I also try to squirrel away what few items I can spare and now have a reasonably sized hoard.
    I used to catch yabbies and fish from the Torrens on Gorge Rd. Now I do not eat fish nor any seafood including sea salt. It is all poisoned as is honey which, I have also removed from my diet.
    My potato crop was especially successful this year and is one less item on my grocery list. It has taken a while but, I am learning.

    Some really good photos. You have got me thinking about putting up some of my own.

  26. Freethinker

    Go for it Harquebus, build your own page and albums, nature photography is a great activity.

  27. Kaye Lee

    I agree about the photos. They are works of art,

  28. Joseph Carli

    May I remark that with all the “warm ‘n’ fuzzies” emanating from the commentators on this thread, It makes one-as Barry Humphries once said : ” …feel very appreciative to be in the cheering-up business”.

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