Saturday, 13 August 2011

Supermarket Syndrome

Yesterday I returned from (yet another) holiday – this time to Ibiza.

Before you judge me – I am too old to go cavorting around night clubs, enduring foam parties and the general dreadful DOOF DOOF of pounding and utterly shit dance music.

I am now heading towards my fifties so the last place I want to be is watching a bunch of overrated DJ’s with stupid names making awful and loud noises on whatever contraption they use, to a crowd of people aged 18 to 25 who are leaping up and down in rapturous ecstasy as these so called maestros destroy music in front of me, having paid a minimum of 40 Euros for the privilege.

I wouldn’t mind so much if I could find solace in a pint – the only problem is that any liquid in these clubs costs a bloody fortune. The closest I got to one of these hellish places was when a lovely young lady tried to entice me into a bar playing this awful brain shattering tripe with the words:

“It’s Happy Hour!”

“How much is a beer?” I asked .

“Hang on I’ll check,” she said. Out of curiosity I waited. She returned and when she spoke Mrs PM had to pick me up off the floor.

“Eight Euros – and you get a free shot.”


I was dragged away by my eighteen year old lad before I could get the soapbox out and scream the words “THAT’S DAYLIGHT ROBBERY!!!!”

Anyway, I digress.

I returned home and opened the fridge – as I normally do – to try to find something to eat after a long journey with nothing to eat other than cardboard plane food. The fridge was just like Old Mother Hubbard’s miserable cupboard – totally and utterly devoid of food. Had I the desire to eat ice I might have been happy.

This meant one thing and one thing only: I uttered the terrible phrase to Mrs PM:

“We have to go shopping – and we have to go TOGETHER!”

Oh God NO!!!” she cried.

Regular readers of the tripe I post will know that I hate shopping. Alas – I hate shopping for food even more and spend my time ranting internally as I wander around Tesco. When Mrs PM is there, I rant to her – that’s why she hates shopping with me.

Usually we take it in turns with the weekly shop and she is spared the vitriolic gobbledygook that somehow helps me through this tedious necessity. On times such as a return from holiday we do the shopping together- and she hates it; so do I.

Eventually, after a bit of a moan, we set off. I was hungry so the chances of a soapbox moment were exponentially more likely to occur.

Such is the ubiquitous nature of Tesco, our supermarket of choice, that we have two of them very close to where we live. I shop at the smaller of the two. Why? Because I know where everything is and it only takes me about half an hour, depending on queues, to get in and then out of the hellish place.

Mrs PM prefers the other because it is a Tesco Extra – an enormous warehouse of a supermarket that sells everything you would ever need. I hate it because it takes approximately three days to find anything. Mrs PM hates the smaller one because they invariably do not stock essentials in such large quantities; essentials like Felix "As Good As It Looks" Senior (for Cats 7+ Years) Mixed Selection in Jelly.

The Tesco I prefer does not normally have the “As Good As It Looks” tag so the cats have to put up with plain old Felix Senior (for Cats 7+ Years) Mixed Selection in Jelly.

Apparently the cats don’t like that – fussy little buggers. This means that I am consistently on the receiving end of a bollocking for buying the “wrong” cat food.

“They want to think themselves lucky I don’t buy the cheap value cat food,” I rant. “They’ll eat it when they’re hungry,”

“How DARE you even consider buying substandard food for my babies,” she replies.

As you may have already guessed, we ended up at the big Tesco – a Tesco that had around one thousand trollies, each of which had a wobbly wheel and a knackered brake, which meant that I had to wrestle with the thing as it sought to collide with shelves, fridges and other shoppers.

To make matters worse, Mrs PM presented me with a list. “Off you go,” she said. “I need to go to the toilet and get some cash – you start and I’ll see you in five minutes.”

Before I could protest, she had disappeared into the huge shop leaving me doing battle with a trolley that was intent on getting me beaten up and charged with damaging Tesco property.

I walked into the place and realised that I didn’t know where anything was. I also had to decipher Mrs PM’s cryptic list of items that we needed – or should I say things that SHE needed. One of the most traumatic things I have to endure when shopping is buying items for Mrs PM. I have stood in front of a huge shelf with thousands of different kinds of shampoo for thin hair, dry hair, coloured hair, unmanageable hair, greasy hair with all sorts of weird ingredients and claims of increased bounciness, reduced frizzing and all manner of other outrageous and indecipherable claims. All she has written is:

Shampoo for me

What the hell am I supposed to buy?

Sometimes, she puts down another word that strikes terror into my soul:


Does she mean hair conditioner? And which of the ten thousand hair conditioners should I buy? And what if she means clothes conditioner?

And it can get worse, dear reader. As you can imagine, there are lots of other “female hygiene products” that get included in the list. I don’t even know what half of them are, let alone having to wander up to a female assistant, looking like a total dork, asking her if I have chosen the right “product”. Why can’t she buy them when it’s HER turn?

Anyway, to cut a long story short (and I am aware that I am rambling a bit), I got lost in this huge maze that was Tesco and almost burst into tears when Mrs PM said “Oh – we’ve forgotten tomatoes. Can you just pop back and get some?”

“I don’t know where the tomatoes are,” I wailed. “And what if you’ve gone when I get back? What if I can’t find you?”

I did find her thankfully and I managed to escape within an hour or two thanks to Mrs PM’s expertise with this particular shop.

And we also managed to stock up on our supplies of Felix As Good As It Looks Senior (for Cats 7+ Years) Mixed Selection in Jelly.

And “Shampoo for me”.


Elephant's Child said...

So with you here. I find myself close to tears looking, looking, looking for a shop assistant so I can ask 'Where have you hidden the eggs this week? And the cat food? And the toilet paper?'
So now I make the smaller portion do it. Which has the added benefit of allowing me to complain when he buys the wrong things. (knowing she whispers that I couldn't find the right ones).

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

You don't know the half of it :-)

I had to curtail the post because it was getting longer and longer. I feel there is more mileage out of this topic.




River said...

How unfair of Mrs PM to leave you without a detailed list (shampoo for me, 375ml, pink bottle with red and white flowers on it)AND then leave you alone within 5 minutes. Next time, refuse to enter the store before she gets cash and has a wee. While she's doing that, read over the list and make notes regarding specifics of items. Add items for yourself at the same time.

Mind Of Mine said...

I can't relate, I enjoy doing my weekly shop. I just love shopping in general.

I just don't like shopping with other people. Especially if they just need a few things and can get them in 5 minutes and then want to leave.

I like to take my time, I usually go around the supermarket 2 or 3 times.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

Great suggestions - but the Imp within me has a plan for revenge; when it's Mrs PM's turn, I shall add lots of weird and vague items to the list such that *she* will get embarrassed asking for them.

Mind you, knowing Mrs PM as I do - she won't be embarrassed at all.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi MoM,

Do you want to come and do my shopping for me?




drb said...

Hi Mr PM,

Maybe you should do what Rob did - always buy the wrong stuff! So I have given up and buy things myself. He still have to come along because I don't drive. :-)

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

Nice trick - it might work for me because Mrs PM can drive.




Kath Lockett said...

Oh I hear ya, PlasMan. It's been nearly three months and I *still* haven't worked out where everything is at our local Migros - hommos and teatowels are yet to be found!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

There are things in Tesco that I know are there but are so well hidden that I could spend the next three years finding them. Thankfully Mrs PM knows where they are.