Here we are, close to the end of another week (or, should that be the dawn of a new one?) and I’m well aware that I haven’t posted as much as I would usually have done in the past couple of weeks. A couple of people have shared their concerns through e-mail to ask whether I’m okay and I’d just like to reassure all of you that I’m fine. It’s only that I haven’t had the usual ‘urgency’ to write as much as I’ve needed to in the past. Also, working until 17.00 most days, I tend to get home, sit down with a cup of tea, reply to a couple of e-mails and, before I know it; it’s 21.30 and I’ve still not had anything to eat!
I’d like to end this week with a brief reflection on the positives from within the past seven days.
When I say I’m looking to keep this brief, I mean it because my week hasn’t been too eventful. That’s not to imply that it’s been a negative experience though. As I said at the start; I’m okay in mind and feeling reasonably content with things, as I haven’t done for a couple of weeks now. That will inevitably change at some point but then, I know those feelings won’t last forever because that’s the way it goes!
When I wrote a similar post previously, I somehow failed to include my personal triumph within the world of supermarket shopping. Very close to where I work, there’s a LARGE Tesco store that I’d been avoiding for almost two-years since my first and only previous visit on my own. Since then, I’ve been telling myself that it was ‘too big‘ and how it would ‘take too long‘ to get around the aisles and to find what I needed. Also, with regular drives in to Bristol between September and December for my creative writing course, it was quite convenient to be able to pop in to a smaller store (not to be confused with a Tesco Express) on the way home in the evening (when it would also be less busy).
This other store is a good six-miles from where I work and driving there on a Friday afternoon around lunchtime makes my journey home a very long and elongated trip. Even before I started my writing course, I would head out there after 19.00 on a Thursday or Friday evening; simply to avoid the rush-hour cues and panic. This still meant I would often bump in to people who I used to work with. They’re not people I dislike but, when you’ve been away from a company for several years and you’re not entirely happy with your current job, it’s hard to explain to these people how you’ve progressively ‘moved on’. Whatever time of day I would choose to visit this particular store (once, just after 6am on a Saturday morning, after missing my preferred evening slots), the aisles would remain the same size; barely wide enough for two trolleys to pass by one another. Many of the shelves were running low or empty on certain items and, in the evenings, there would literally be only one or two checkouts open (excluding the self-service ones, which I avoid because I haven’t figured out how or if you can purchase loose fruit with them).
But, I haven’t been to that store for two-weeks now. By this time, I’d already started heading there straight after my half-days of work on a Friday. I began to realise how nice it was to have a ‘free’ weekend from then on and how almost every till was open to serve. But, the queues only seemed to grow and, in trying to navigate the aisles, my frustration only grew as middle-aged women became idle obstructions, chatting away on their mobile phones without a care or considered thought towards others trying to get on and get out.
Last week, I decided to be un-cowardly and to brave the larger store, which does almost take longer to walk around than an entire shop in the other. I still avoid sustained eye contact with most people and faking a smile is next to impossible but, each aisle is wide enough for three trolleys. People generally seem to have a greater awareness in here, even though you still get the dawdling OAPs (no offence). They seem to stock almost twice as many goods on their shelves here and I’ve noticed certain products and quantities (like 6 and 8-packs of Warburtons rolls, instead of only 12) that weren’t regularly available in the smaller shop. Each time I’ve finished my tour and have filled my trolley with the necessaries (about 40% chocolate, but still…), if there’s not a checkout operator looking to say hello then, on the next till, the shopper will be bagging their goods and getting ready to pay; leaving space behind for the next customer.
Again, I don’t engage in any casual of chit-chat with or anything but I feel good for having made it this far and then, even better for walking out the door (especially when the alarms don’t go off) and back to the safety of my vehicle, which’ll take me back to home. I also find that pushing a trolley around helps me to create my own presence within the store. There are times where I could probably get my week’s worth in one of their baskets but I still don’t see the point in straining yourself physically when four wheels are always there to help.
If I was to start shopping here in an evening, I reckon I’d run in to other familiar faces and, of course, I’d only be ‘hiding’ myself again and also, repeating a journey that I already have to make on five-days each week. That’s another reason I actually liked driving to the other store; it was a drive in a different direction and experts say that kind of approach is good for your mind, including varying your daily routes to and from work each day.
Maybe one day, I’ll even make it in to the large Asda store they opened in the same area, maybe just a year ago. I am curious to see how they compare, as I’ve always shopped with Tesco so far.
Other than that success, there really isn’t much to say. This weekend, I’m enlisting my dad’s help to overcome some DIY problems at home that, I must admit, are too much for me to handle alone (physcially, at least). I’ve found in the past that I can work with him okay; it’s only the social side I find difficult, especially when he tries to be ‘emotional‘ and tries too hard to be a father. I’m not afraid to admit that I have learned a few tricks and tips from him in the past. He is useful like that; I just don’t want anything more. As I said to someone very recently by e-mail; as much as I want to change where I am in my working life, I don’t regret having acquired the practical skills for previous years at college, learning my trade and craft. I’ll always have that, wherever I go next.
- Pensioner, 83, banned from Tesco after ramming staff with her trolley because she was unhappy with slow service (thisismoney.co.uk)
- Supermarket shopping drives me insane (irkitated.blogspot.com)
- Has Britain fallen out of love with Tesco? (metro.co.uk)
- Don’t Like Queues? Then Choose Your Supermarket Carefully (savoo.co.uk)
- AMANDA PLATELL: My brush with M&S trolley rage and this shameful frenzy of consumerism (dailymail.co.uk)
- Shopping trolley blunder 😉 (catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com)
- Supermarket madness… (kernownews.wordpress.com)
- Tesco Leads the Headlines in a Week of Grocery News (savoo.co.uk)
- Weekly reflection: First Friday, Savage Race (openedcarafe.wordpress.com)
- Thankful on Friday (artistsuziepindar.wordpress.com)