As with any journey, preparation is important – Do the trolley wheels all go in the same direction? Do they have an annoying squeak? Is the route sorted out? My trolley didn’t have sat-nav but even if it did, it wouldn’t be much use typing in yoghurt, then Spam, then cheese, then corned beef because I would be going backwards and forwards through the store all morning wasting
In the olden days, when Mrs.Metro wrote out the shopping list, I would re-write the list in an approximate order of where the things were in the store. Then, being a technophile, I decided to give each item on the list a number depending on whereabouts in the shopping journey it appeared – low numbers for shampoo near the entrance, middling numbers for Dolmio Sauce in the middle of the store and the highest number for the Bag For Life which is at the checkout. Using these numbers, I started an Excel sheet with columns for quantity, items and codes. Taking Mrs.Metro’s list, I put in the quantities and add in anything that we haven’t bought from there before. Then a simple sort puts everything with a quantity > zero at the top, then it’s sorted again by code. This gives me a shopping list printout which guides me through the store in the quickest possible time.
Armed with my list, I can then set off – straight towards the first item on the list, mouthwash – at a respectable pace passing the slower moving shoppers along the ends of the aisles, then a sharp left at toothpaste and a sudden halt at the mouthwash while making sure no-one was directly behind me.
Once you’re in the narrower aisles, you obviously have to be more careful with your speed, especially as lane discipline seems to go to pot with people driving down both sides, overtaking and undertaking, stopping without warning and parking in the middle of the
When checking ingredients myself, or sorting through the Granny Smiths to find some without marks on, I always ensure that my trolley is parked tight in to the
Another thing to watch out for is emerging from junctions. The view is often obstructed by cages full of cardboard, that I hope is going to be recycled, or by the sad woman proffering free samples of curry paste. You always have to emerge slowly in case someone like me is speeding along the wide aisle down the middle of the shop – carnage can ensue from a high-speed collision between two heavily-laden shopping trolleys.
Which brings me, rather neatly I thought, onto the subject of weight distribution within the trolley. Experience of getting children, related paraphernalia, suitcases and travel fridges into car boots has served me well. I tend to pack my trolley with heavy goods together, delicate goods together and cold stuff together and I can get a great deal in there. Unfortunately, I have to admit, I tend to put the heavy stuff, like beer and large coke bottles in the small compartment at the front of the trolley – this does have a very adverse effect on handling so I have to be extra careful after I’ve visited that particular corner of the store – cornering can be very tricky – even on the modern trolleys which will usually turn on a sixpence.
The final stage of the journey, is to the checkout. As you approach from the distance, you need to decide which lane you are going for – some will be clearly marked as “Card Only”, “Ten Items or Less” or ”Manned Booth”. Take a quick check to see if there are any problems in the lane ahead such as a particularly large load or a particularly doddery pensioner, check left and right on case somebody else is heading for the same till then approach at a safe speed. You may want to earn some feel-good points and a nice smile by allowing the pretty girl carrying just one loaf of bread to go in front of you – or you may not – after all, she can use the 10 Items line.
When you get to the
Finally, you can pay, making the usual comment about how expensive everything is nowadays. Take your “Computers for Schools” vouchers and check that she’s added on the extra Clubcard points for bag reuses. Have you noticed how every time you swap one of those bags, in every different store - Tesco, Sainsburys, Co-op - the checkout operator always has to ask the person at the next checkout how you do it? The Tesco code is 180.
Well, that’s the shopping done for another week - it’s Sainsburys turn next time.