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.