I LOVE supermarket shopping. No. Really. I’m not being sarcastic at all. I love it. While everyone else was flapping about doing the Christmas food shop I couldn’t believe my luck when Mr Aimee ducked out and offered me the chance to go to The ‘Trose ON MY OWN in the EVENING. I snapped his hand off, picked the kids up from school, threw them at him through the front door and was off, my printed off excel document print out in hand.
I grabbed my trolley and walked through the automatic doors pausing to sweep up recpie cards and take in the smell of the cafe (our Waitrose is the only supermarket on earth I know that doesn’t pump fresh bread into the foyer), and I was off. Whilst everyone seemed to be in a rush and a panic, I sailed down the aisles pausing to look at everything that there was to offer. I returned home two hours later with a significant dint in the Christmas budget and slightly ruffled, mumbling something about the twinkling light up Kleenex tissue boxes being on a BOGOF.
And this is why I’m not usually allowed to venture into the supermarket on my own very often.
Sadly, it really doesn’t happen very often these days. I am usually escorted by my entourage, all with their special stop-spending-super-powers. I have Super Scrimper – with his “HOW MUCH?” and “What do we need this for?” whilst looking stressed, anxious to get the the alcohol aisle (thanks for that, local Morrisons btw – having the booze at the beginning means I rarely make it past the salad and crisps before I’m ushered to the tills). Every item I pick up is frowned at, before he nips off to the shelf to check if there’s an equivalent product for 20p.
Following closely behind is Super-Wanter. The four year old who is unable to walk around the supermarket, but hates being sat in the trolley next to his brother. Grudgingly he takes up position in the trolley, his super sonic eyes flicking around, taking in everything whilst he inhales a packet of raisins. “I want that” is repeated frequently. Whether he’s motioning to a Spider-Man toy, a giant bar of Dairy Milk, a book, or randomly a solar light hedgehog. He also makes tactful remarks such as “Look at the massive wheels on his wheel chair, do you think he’s in that because he crossed the road without looking left and right?”…“Gosh. That man is very fat – perhaps he should buy some bigger high-up sleeve tops”. “I’m BOREEEDDD mummy, this is BORRINGGG…OI GET OFFF MEEEE…MUMMYYYYYY HE’S LOOKING AT ME…MAKE HIM STOP LOOKING AT ME”. The first few comments I can cope with, the embarrassment of the innocent insults to the general public..well…perhaps SHE should have bought some bigger t.shirts (that’s right. She). But I know that I’m on a clock when he’s having an issue with his brother LOOKING at him.
Then we have Super-Loud. Nothing is quiet, from the second we enter the shop he can be heard. If we’ve managed to find a trolley outside he’s wailing because he wants to walk, and if we’ve just found one, he is screaming “NOOO MUMMYYY NOOOOOO” In that way that causes people to turn around and witness you karate chop the back of his knees so he buckles and falls into the seat. They consider calling the Social Services, but realise that sadly, while they wait for them to appear on a Saturday afternoon, they will probably have to look after the child in question, and nobody wants to deal with the trail of snot that’s worked its way down his face and is slowly dripping from his chin onto his mucky jeans knees (do they not clean supermarket floors? My children end up being filthy, gathering black muck on their clothes, while they’re lying there kicking and screaming). After removing the packet of raisins he’s thrown in my hair he slowly calms down and is pacified with some Mini Cheddars.
This is when he usually spots the numbers.
Suddenly Super-Loud is in his element, causing a competitive number shout off between him and Super-Wanter. “FOUR” “ELEBEN” “SEBEN” “LOOOK MUMMYYYY NINBTEEN”. That’s not the snot causing him to talk with a B, he pronounces all the numbers with a “B” in the middle rather than a “V”. As I’m hurrying through the shop the aisle numbers are pointed out to me in glee, both seeing who can spot the next number first. My thoughts are becoming muddled – have you ever tried trying to work out which spice you need whilst having various things barked at you continuously until you respond. It’s not just the aisles aisles, every price is spotted “LOOK MUMMYY EIGHT EIGHT…” Yes, that’s right, you’re reaching to grab an £8 bottle of wine to cuddle. For a child so against fruit you sure as hell don’t mind carrying a delicate bottle of wine about whenever you get to the supermarket. By the wine aisle Super-Wanter is sitting in silence. Sulking because he’s spotted a spiderman gob stopper which I refuse to let him have. Sullen he glares in disgust at the snotty brother still enjoying the game.
Then I make the mistake of having to double back. I’ve forgotten something. Usually cherry tomatoes. Aisle number four at Saisbogs. Just so you know. Which means I am treated to backwards counting, I feel as if the clock is ticking “MUMMY TEN-NINE-EIGHT-SEBEN-SIX…”
I shove the trolley in Super-Scimpers direction and order him to a till, “I’ll meet you there” I say, grabbing additional bottles of tonic water and wine that’s at the end of the aisle, stopping for an extra lime.
We don’t need to discuss where to meet, the foghorn in place ensures we never lose each other (dammit).
The tills is the really tricky bit. There’s no room to spin the trolley ’round. There are no distractions. Super-Loud is hugging Super-Wanter. Big Mistake. Neither children make small talk with the checkout girl, who starts to coo then takes one look at them and decides better of it, firing the contents of the trolley down the conveyer belt at double the speed packing some bits of me to get us out of her face as quickly as possible.
We tumble out of the shop and into the car, vowing to do online shopping and have it delivered to the house from now on. During school hours.
Pass the gin.