Shelf life - Supermarket etiquette

Last updated 16:34 06/09/2013

If I had to write a list of things in this world I dislike, on that list, above mimes and near-red velvet jackets, I would include supermarket shopping.

I also dislike malls, actually as a general rule I dislike crowded places offering mass consumerism.

Unlike mimes and red velvet jackets which I can generally easily avoid, as a mum who feeds a family-of-six I have to encounter supermarkets often.

Thrifty Thursday at Pak 'n Slave is the inner ring of supermarket hell.

But last night I forgot it was Thursday, let alone Thrifty Thursday, and I went to Pak 'n Save Riccarton.

Some people get road rage, I get trolley rage.

''OHFORTHELOVEOFGOD'' I scream, in my mind, as bewildered couples block the entire aisle with their trolley and their dithery selves.


In reality I grit my teeth and don't say anything.

Sometimes I fake a coughing fit until they turn around and realise that, surprisingly, they are not alone in the supermarket aisle.

These aisle blockers always react the same way.

They turn and their faces change from blank stare to amazement - ''how did this person get into my aisle when I'm trying to buy breakfast cereal?''. The better mannered ones then apologetically move their trolleys but some don't and you have to try and navigate your trolley with the squeaky wheel around their rude selves.

Occasionally I have been known to nudge ditherers gently with my trolley. My intention is never to harm, just to move them one metre to the left.

I also once ran over a middle-aged woman's foot who, in the course of one supermarket mission, became my nemesis.

Every single aisle I turned down there she was, blocking, dithering, stepping back at just the wrong moment so I would have to do an emergency braking move with the trolley while she was oblivious to nearly having a trolley ram her butt.

Eventually I ran over her foot.

I tried to stop it, but I think the trolley knew destiny when it saw it.

But Thrifty Thursdays really are above and beyond the normal awful supermarket experience.

Last night an elderly woman was upset and wedged at the centre of a pack of rabid shoppers desperately trying to get a bargain and earn a thrifty badge.

They were completely oblivious to her distress.

When I asked her if she was OK she said she was trying to get out but no-one would move. Using elbows-out moves I usually save for weaving my way through crowds and moshpits, I gently took her arm and said ''outta the way'' to every grabby grabby shopper until she'd safely made it out.

When I posted something on Facebook about the experience later a friend commented: ''I went a little while ago and they had a super special on nappies. There were three staff put down the aisle to supervise grabby pushy mums. One guy told me to hold on to the nappies and not put them in a trolley as people take them out when you're not watching! Madness!!!''


1. Respect elderly people, don't crush them into the tins of canned tomatoes (limit 4).

2. People with babies and children always have right of way. Shopping with small children is stressful. Don't believe me? I regularly go shopping with Batman, Spiderman and Princess KungFu, you are welcome to join us to experience this.

3. If you take a twin trolley and you don't have twins, you just really like having that extra seat to put your handbag in, please, please please don't do it when I am at the supermarket because, as a mother of twins, I will not be able to stop myself from saying something sarcastic to you about how your second baby is looking a bit leathery or similar.

4. Keep left with your trolley and don't park it erratically in the middle of the aisle. This is not rocket science.

5. '12 items or less' the sign says, not, 'That's for everyone else, not you, you're special, you can have 14 items'.

6. You're waiting to pay and the person behind you is about to start unloading their groceries. Don't make them lean across to get the divider, put it there for them or pass it to them.

7. Do not squeeze the fruit. Do not sneeze on the fruit. Do not cough on the fruit. Do not bite the fruit and put it back.

8. Don't treat the person at the checkout as if they are beneath you. You suck if you do this and you should know that everyone behind you thinks you suck too.

9. If you get halfway around the supermarket and discover that you don't like the look of that $15 chicken breast after all, don't shove it into the middle of the detergent aisle for someone else to find later.

10. Do not give your children little bits of food to eat on the way around the supermarket. This is called stealing. I don't care if you put the empty bag up to be scanned at the end, it's still stealing.

Do you hate supermarket shopping too? Do you have a rule you'd like to add to the list? Comment below.

- The Press


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