SHOPPING:  PART THREE

ESHER

We paid another visit to the farm shop. No real reason; we just needed to get out and it’s a pretty drive. We could see the queue for the newly-reopened garden centre part wasn’t very long, so made a mental note to visit another time. I bought cheese and yoghurts. Very few places stock that particular cheese and I haven’t seen the yoghurts anywhere else, either.  Both are delicious. At least they didn’t turn me away at the till, crying: “These are not essential purchases, Madam!” (I would happily have bought more, but their prices are very steep.)

The friendly man on the till said it had been manic in there when lockdown first kicked off. I was a bit surprised by this, as it’s in a very posh and upmarket area and (cheaper) supermarkets are nearby. He said people were sweeping their arms across the products on the shelves, straight into their trollies, without even looking properly to see what they were. Consequently, the bin men were reporting hundreds of smashed and discarded eggs and rotting piles of food in all the bins. Greed and selfishness at its finest and go f*ck yourselves, eco warriors, doorstep clappers, the “be kind” brigade and community spirit!  It’s survival of the fittest (or the rudest) all the way…

Stocks are finally up to where they were, more or less, the man said, but he hadn’t been able to get any food for himself, his wife and small daughter at one point.

Back home, we had had the recycling bins emptied and, inevitably, bits of paper were floating about in the road. I picked them up and noted one was a shopping list (not ours). It made for very virtuous reading: peppers, tomatoes, lemons, tins of beans… I reckon they have an alternative list somewhere, which reads: Booze, fags, chips, chocolate and pizzas…

MOLESEY

We spotted a man staggering out of our small local Tesco absolutely laden down with packets of loo rolls. Hasn’t anybody told him we’ve moved on since then? The queue there was particularly long – we put it down to being a bank holiday weekend; normally, at that time, there is no one waiting outside and you can go straight in.

There was a huge queue for the chippy. Huge!  You have to ring to place your order first, and I hope they all remembered to do that. While we were waiting for our pre-booked order at the Italian, a man came in with his small son. “I haven’t ordered,” he said, slightly sheepishly. “There’s a 35-minute wait, Sir,” the waiter chirruped.  The man sighed heavily and they sat down to wait.  I wanted to tell him another Italian restaurant has re-opened its doors, for takeaway only, just down the road, but decided it probably wasn’t tactful, given where we were. The restaurant has two adjoining rooms and a good half of the second, larger room was stacked with piles and piles of empty pizza and garlic bread boxes, waiting to be filled.

COBHAM

The couple in the queue behind me outside Waitrose were having a very interesting conversation. Woman: “How long is he into his sentence?” I couldn’t hear the man’s response, as his voice was much quieter, but then she said: “I always had him down as a ‘by-the-book’ person.”

My mind was boggling away like crazy but, hard as I tried, I couldn’t overhear the rest of it.  Of course, seeing me whip out my notebook and pen and scribble their words down may have had something to do with it…

Shopping done, as I was waiting by the lift with my trolley, I noticed a small boy lingering nearby, looking longingly and expectantly over in my direction. I knew exactly what was going through his mind, so I called him over and said: “Would you mind pressing the button for me, please?” He looked overjoyed and, bless him, even said: “Thank you!” before his mother called him away. All little boys (and some big ones, too, ahem) love to press a button!

In Boots, where they are only letting three customers in at a time, a man was being very rude to the two young female assistants.  I will often wade in if I feel it necessary, in these circumstances, but I was so taken aback on this occasion and, besides, he looked a right bullying you-know-what, so, unusually for me, I kept my gob shut and immediately regretted it as soon as I had left the shop.

I don’t know what the poor young woman had done or said to him, but he shouted at her for being in a bad mood, for not being helpful and for not showing him any respect – and that she should be grateful she has a job. My wild guess is that he has lost his and is lashing out at everyone else. I pity his family, if he has any. Also, I doubt he would have said any of that if they had been men, young or otherwise, but we’ll never know.

He was still in there when I left. The young woman let me out and I said loudly: “You’re doing a great job. Most of us appreciate you being here. THANK YOU!” I hope he heard me.

We tried the huge Sainsburys just down the road, after that, but the queue was the longest we’ve ever seen it, so we knocked that one on the head and came straight home.

 

 

 

Author: Hampton Caught

The rants and ramblings of an ex Deputy Fiction Editor of Woman's Weekly magazine.

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