The Trials and Tribulations of Supermarket Shopping
Supermarket shopping: one of the biggest causes of high blood pressure in modern, day to day life? What is it about this theoretically simple procedure that can prove so frustrating and even infuriating? Why do so many normal people turn in to self-centred, frenzied, selfish neanderthals the moment they approach a supermarket? This page is dedicated to exploring the every day frustrations of supermarket shopping and daring to suggest some possible solutions to the most irritating situations.
Arriving at the Supermarket
A high percentage of people will travel to and from a supermarket by car. This means that the first step upon arrival will be to negotiate the hazards of the car park/parking lot and park the car. The supermarket car park pictured to the right is actually under construction and thus knows the dangers associated with any building site - but are supermarket car parks any safer when they are opened for use by the general public?
What is it about supermarket car parks that makes pedestrians think that they have absolute right of way at the expense of vehicular traffic? Careful observation over a period of time, as both driver and pedestrian, has shown that a majority of people do not bother to look for approaching cars when crossing vehicle lanes in supermarket car parks. They assume that the driver of any approaching car will be watching for them crossing and stop (at a fraction of a second's notice) to avoid hitting them. Supermarket car parks often do have very low speed limits - perhaps for this reason - but a car travelling at any speed whatsoever can still cause actual bodily harm and contrary to what may well be popular belief, will not magically disintegrate in to a puff of smoke upon contact with a human body in a supermarket car park.
Driver blood pressure is rising...
Withdrawing Cash From a Supermarket ATM
Although credit cards and debit cards are popular methods of paying for goods purchased from supermarkets, there are many people who prefer to use cash. It may even be that the ATM's positioned outside most supermarkets are a simple convenience for those who will require cash at a later time. This means that using supermarket ATM's is something a lot of shoppers do and at busy times, the lines of people waiting to use them can be lengthy, regardless of how many machines are available.
It would surely stand to reason, therefore, that having waited perhaps several minutes to use an ATM, supermarket shoppers will be ready to perform their transaction and wish to do so in a timely fashion. Why, then, do so many people start raking in bags, purses or wallets for their card, a note of their PIN or even their spectacles only when they are actually stood before the machine! Why can't they have everything ready, perform their transaction and get on with their business, allowing those behind them to do likewise. It's hardly rocket science!
Equally, there are those people who take longer to perform their ATM transaction than it would take a service engineer to repair a major mechanical fault. What are they doing? Whether they wish a statement, a balance request, cash, or all three, the time required in performing these transactions should be minimal. All the while, the blood pressure of those behind them is continuing to rise...
Highly Dangerous Non-Motorised Vehicles
If a shopper only has a few items to pick up in the supermarket, they are likely to take only a hand basket in which to carry the goods, if indeed anything at all. It is more likely, however, that a supermarket trolley/cart will be the order of the day. These incredibly simple, seemingly innocuous vehicles are essential for a more substantial shop and should pose no threat to either their custodians or other shoppers - in theory...
How often have you had your heels scraped by someone wheeling a supermarket trolley or cart? How often have you almost been bowled over by one barging in to you unexpectedly? Is it not frightening that some of the people who guide these devices round supermarkets like Formula One racing drivers taking hairpin bends are very soon to be sat behind the wheel of a car on the public highway? Such a thought is not good for the blood pressure...
Mobile or Cell Phone Usage in Supermarkets
It is not only someone shouting to be heard as they talk in to their mobile or cell phone in a busy supermarket that can be extremely annoying. Their actions and lack of consideration for others can be even more disruptive when their phone rings unexpectedly. It often seems that the prescribed course of action when a phone rings in the supermarket is firstly to position your trolley or cart at an angle, across the narrowest part of the aisle. Proceed thereafter to stand next to the trolley, fully blocking the aisle as you search for and answer your phone. If you have small children with you, completely ignore them as their meddling with the displays and interfering with other shoppers is not something that is really happening in your make believe world.
It is not only mobile or cell phone users who selfishly block aisles in this fashion, of course. People meeting friends or acquaintances will quite happily stop to chat, both parties side by side with their trolleys or carts, caring not a jot for the dozens of people backed up behind them in either direction.
Blood pressure is reaching the stage of face beginning to redden...
Supermarket Sensibilities: The People Speak
Supermarket Police! - Go Ahead, Make My Day...
Finding solutions to the supermarket frenzy and the stresses of visiting these establishments can be seen to be something likely to benefit human health on a wide scale. A half hour visit to the supermarket, after all, should not be something which leaves blood pressure at dangerously high levels. So what might the perfect solution be? Supermarket police...
The vast majority of supermarkets now have security guards permanently on the premises. These security guards at the present time, however, are charged only with preventing and dealing with recognised crime, such as theft. What if their powers were to be extended? Managing traffic in the car park or parking lot by spot fining errant pedestrians for walking without due care and attention would be a start. Loitering with lack of intent at ATM's penalties would be another winner and loudly and publicly shaming errant trolley or cart drivers by breathalising them would cause ringing cheers to echo around many supermarkets.
Supermarket Shopping Online - A Possible Temporary Solution
There is one option which those with PC access can utilise as at least a temporary solution to the hazards and frustrations of visiting a supermarket. That is to grocery shop online. Although there will be a charge incurred for this service and browsing for the freshest produce will not be an option, it may be worth considering - at least as occasional respite - in the name of stabilising blood pressure and long term health.
What do you think...?
Thank you for your visit to this page and hopefully it has amused you and got you thinking. Any feedback, comments or suggestions which you have may be left in the space below.
Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on April 13, 2018:
Hi, Lori. Glad these observations gave you a laugh. Yes, it is a minefield of an experience, the old supermarket shopping. Thanks for your comments.
Lori Colbo from Pacific Northwest on March 27, 2018:
This was a hoot. I hate carts that have bad wheels. I also hate trying to reach a product way up out of my reach and the tall person shopping next to you notices and does nothing. Then you ask a worker if the can show me where something is and they say, uh it might be in aisle six, or maybe it's seven. Bottom shelf. You scour the aisle and every shelf and nothing then a clerk comes by and says they don't sell it.
Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on September 08, 2016:
Yes, it's a mystery, Glenis - and getting worse all the time I think. I'm seriously thinking about starting to shop online.
Glen Rix from UK on August 18, 2016:
I see that over 50% of the votes are from people who are annoyed by those who block the aisles whilst they chat? Me too. But supermarkets seem to be actively encouraging us to treat their premises as a social club and the outing as a social event. Hence the rise of the instore coffee shop, where you can grab a snack and read the newspapers. So why don't the people blocking the aisles make use of them!?!
Jeff Duff from Southwest Wisconsin on June 13, 2016:
Good hub, Gordon! I've never read a better explanation for the recent growth in suicide rates among middle class Americans.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on December 17, 2015:
Well, I like a fast check out in super markets so people who talk too much with the cashier annoy me.
Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on October 14, 2013:
I'm not familiar with the game nicky but anything to relieve the stress deserves consideration :)
nicky fleming on October 12, 2013:
I have the solution - play 'supermarket frenzy' on your iphone! Relieve yourself of your frustrations!
Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on January 04, 2013:
Definitely, Forever Tuesday. That certainly gets my blood pressure up!
Ben England from Wellington, New Zealand on January 02, 2013:
For me it's blocking the aisle. Just get outta my way!
Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on March 10, 2011:
Thank you, crystolite
Emma from Houston TX on March 10, 2011:
Nice hub,thanks for sharing.
Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on March 10, 2011:
Thank you, Ann, for your visit and comment.
Ann on March 09, 2011:
well said Gordon -
Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on March 09, 2011:
Thanks, Tony. Yes, I think these frustrations are something a lot of people will be able to identify with.
Good point about the brand names. I hope you go ahead with the Hub and I look forward to reading it.
Tony Mead from Yorkshire on March 09, 2011:
good hub Gordon, we've all been there!
I just hate the places, I think supermarket food from the big players is for people who hate their families! And anyone who thinks that the branded goods are the same because they are made by an old familiar brand are not in touch with how it works. maybe i should write a hub about that subject.