Saturday, July 15, 2006

Senior Shopping.

Yesterday I had to do the shopping thing with Mrs Beeton. She enjoys shopping, grocery shopping that is. For years it has been the highlight of her day, and she and the Fat Controller would take off to their various haunts stalking the bargains, 50% extra free, buy one get one free, three for two, they were skilled hunters. The fact that a lot of what they purchased is still languishing in the garden shed is beside the point. For them it was the thrill of the chase and the occasional fight with the other hunters to get there first and snaffle the last three cans of aerosol dairy cream, that stuff wouldn't know a dairy if it jumped up and bit it on the bum. However since the demise of the Fat Controller this little task has fallen to me.

So yesterday after yet another day sitting in a training room, I steeled myself for the role of supervising pensioner shopping. On arrival at her house we had to do the 'pre-flight' checks, reading glasses, check, shopping list, check, purse, check, toilet... several minutes later, check, cardigan, check, oh come on it was only 25 degrees outside. So after much manouvering she was safely belted into the car and we were on our way.

"Are you sure you don't mind taking me, you've been at work all day?" Mrs Beeton ventured as we backed out of the drive.

"No, no it's fine," I reassured her.

"I don't mind if you want to go another time, I don't want to put you out,"

"No it's ok honestly,"

"Are you sure?"


There was a silence for a few moments.

"We always liked to go mid afternoon, that's when you get the best bargains. Everyone will have gone from work now and they'll have got there first," she announced. Have I mentioned that Mrs Beeton likes to get her own way!

"Well unfortunately I can't take you during the afternoon. I'm sure they won't have run out of milk or bread, or anything else on your list." I reassured her.

"I need dog food,"

"You don't have a dog!"

"No but I like to have some in. Just in case."

At this point I decided that my mind would be better utilised concentrating on the rush hour traffic. Pulling into the supermarket car park my heart sank. There were obviously a lot of people doing their shopping. This meant that we would have to park some distance from the door. We would have a bit of walk. Mrs Beeton has two speeds when walking, doddery old lady, and infuriatingly slow old lady. Today she chose the later. By the time we reached the trolley pick up there was a traffic jam as far as the main road.

Mrs Beeton stood to one side waiting for me to bring her a trolley. Having taken care to select one that had all four wheels in tact and pointing in the same direction I handed it over to her. Now I don't know about anyone else, but I remember when certain supermarkets used to provide miniature trolleys that had huge poles with brightly coloured flags on them, for children. The flags warned other shoppers to watch out for them. Well I suggest the same rule be applied to pensioners when given charge of trolleys, in particular Mrs Beeton. So several deep breathing exercises later we entered the affray.

By the end of the first aisle, she had managed to cripple two people and left them hopping for cover, and place half of the items she had selected into several 'unattended' trolleys, none of which were hers, with me in stealth mode attempting to retrieve the items before the trolley owners were any the wiser. I did unfortunately get rumbled on the last occasion much to the chagrin of the aforementioned owner, who happened to be a burly six foot chap with tattoos covering most of his exposed arms. After withering under his glare, I hot footed it to the bakery section. Too late, Mrs Beeton was up to her waist in Warburtons finest. Loaves littered the floor, other shoppers could only stare in disbelief as the store assistants frantically tried to clear a path for the sweet little old dear now ploughing her way through them in the direction of the cake section, oblivious it would seem to the carnage she had just caused.

After several attempts to wrestle the trolley from her grasp, without success, I decided I had, had enough and so I headed to the book section for some respite. I had barely had time to read the blurb on a couple of jackets before a tannoy announcement tore my thoughts back into focus.

"Clean up required in aisle's 3, 5, and 8... just a minute, make that 10 as well."

Hesitantly I emmerged from my refuge and went in search of Mrs Beeton. I didn't have to look far as another casualty hopped into view from the direction of the freezer aisle. As I passed aisle 10 the clean up party was in full swing, an entire centre display of cream cakes now lay battered under an upturned table. I finally caught up with Mrs Beeton as she was being escorted to the checkout by the store manager and a security guard. For one moment I thought about escaping and running for the car, unfortunately the sight of her looking rather flustered and not a bit peeked at the indignity of being 'helped' out made me change my mind. Several more 'sorrys' and a promise not to leave her unattended or to let her push the trolley in future secured our re-admission for our next senior shopping trip. Oh goody I can't wait.

18 at confession:

joss said...

A grand day out St Jude and you truly are a saint :)I can envisage the carnage caused, but you have to laugh its just so funny from a readers prospective that is.Internet shopping sounds like an option here, but then again maybe not.
I do hope that you put your feet up with a large glass of something to recover?
So the next shopping trip will be ?

Kate said...

I love the new look! And thank you for the shout out about the Blogathon.

Your shopping trip sounded like a lot of fun, not! It was funny though, sorry, but it was LOL

I have encountered the Mrs Beeton style of shopping myself, and I still have the scar on my heel to remind me. The lady in question rammed me from behind, then muttered something about looking where I was going (I was standing still at the time) before toddling off toward the frozen food.

Attila The Mom said...

I can't stop rolling over the dog food!

You think you'll be able to get control of the cart next time? ;-)

Stinkypaw said...

First, love the new look , very "soothingly girly"...

Second, your post was almost too funny to believe that such an old lady can do so much damage!
I just love her ability to be so oblivious to it all, being a senior sure has some perks at times!

St Jude said...

Joss: Oh please don't mention the internet and Mrs Beeton on the same breath. If you want to know more just read Mrs Beetons Pickle post. I'm already dreading the next trip.

Kate:where do you shop Kate, you might have been 'Beetoned':0)

Attila: I still have no idea what the dog food is all about. It will be some wrestle for the trolley.

Stinkypaw: I'm glad you like the new look. You really have to see it to believe it on the carnage front. I'd write a sitcom about our exploits but I think they would claim it's just too unbelievable.

kim said...

I love the new look!

I see now how you earned the name St Jude... surely you have a masters degree in patience :)

St Jude said...

Kim: thanks, I'm rather pleased with the look myself.

I have always had the attitude that you can either let people irritate the hell out of you, in which case you are permanently stressed, end up with an ulcer and die young and unhappy, OR you can just go with the flow and see the funny side of life. I prefer the latter, my lovely parents taught me this path and it is the creed by which I try to live and if I can share that with others and give them a smile, I'm happy.

The Randomaniac said...

Your reward will be in heaven. :)

Kevin Charnas said...

Oh St. Jude! This REALLY had me cracking up. SO funny! I'm a former social worker and have volunteered on occassion at a local food bank, so this I can completely appreciate!
So well written too, I felt like I was there...

St Jude said...

Randomaniac: Ah heaven, where ever that may be.

Kevin: So you have done the whole pensioner thing then! I'm glad that you appreciate the writing. It took me a while to find my 'voice', I just hadn't realised that it was actually mine.

Chris Pittock said...

Your exciting shopping trip sounds alot like my Dad, who is now electric wheelchair bound. He always goes too fast, doesn't look where he's going and always moans very loudly when he can't get passed other people.

He can be very embarrassingg at times. In fact he put on a wonderful ranting session at my cousins Wedding on Saturday and we hadn't even left the church yet.

My Mother is a Saint. I don't know how she copes. She often 'pops round' to us for a good scream. However, He's the only Dad I have so I do make allowances for him.

Why are some (not all) Senior Citizens so rude? I've witnessed better behaviour from teenagers, but sadly not all of them.



Nikki said...

I love your new template! It looks so lovely. Just your style.

I'm sorry Ms Beeton is still causing you a bit of stress. You'll look back on all this fondly one day (I think).

St Jude said...

Chris: I think your Dad's electric wheelchair capers probably beat Mrs Beeton's trolley capers hands down :0)

Nikki: Thanks, I'm pleased you like the new look, yes it is me really isn't it.

Although Mrs Beeton can be a tad trying, I have to be honest I do laugh about our exploits, usually when I'm sitting down later with a nice cup of tea.

St Jude said...
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kat said...

oh, that was lovely. actually, it reminded me of wheeling grandma through clothing racks at the mall except that i was the one driving.

i must confess that i clothes shop like mrs beaton grocery shops. ah, well. i just need more occasions to wear those cocktail dresses.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I had a similar experience taking my 85-year old neighbor, Wilda, on an excursion to the all-night supermarket at 1:30 a.m. because she noticed that she had run out of ice cream sandwiches. I'm sure I agreed to such lunacy at that ungodly hour because I was asleep when she called. Then, as long as we were there, she decided to completely stock her larder. When I got her home, she wanted to have tea and pore over her photo albums with me. Since we had already done that number the day before, I demurred and apologized for being tired. After all, it was nearly 3:00 by then.

I comforted myself by silently reciting The Purple Cow over and over.

Chris Pittock said...

I have tonight introduced my Wife to your blog. On reading this one she laughed so much that she feel off the chair. At one point she was gasping so much that I had even had to reminder her to breath!

I think you have a new fan.


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