Specials and girlfriends in aisle 4. Surviving the supermarket without going off my trolley.

Friday afternoon shopping was a chance to impress Jane.

All of our mums went to the same supermarket. Some dads got dragged along too. Mostly at the end of the week.

My favourite girl of the time and her mother were always there. She was a vision. Long blonde hair. Everything a ten-year old could ask for.

My wardrobe was lacking in variety and substance back then. Those wanting to be harsh could say nothing has changed. Anyway, I would always ask Mum to have my best shirt ready for our shopping adventure.

Once we arrived, I would begin scanning the aisles for my girl-to-be. My usual approach was to linger around fruit and veg, knowing that Jane’s mother would stock up on the healthy stuff.

My goal was to get a smile. If she sent a ‘Hello’ my way, I was over the moon. An actual conversation was, of course, out of the question.

My courting of Jane in Aisle 4 could be the reason I’ve been comfortable in supermarkets ever since. Unlike other males I know, I quite enjoy doing the weekly shop.

My shopping routine became finely tuned during our stint in the Far North. The Treasurer worked most Saturdays, so it was only fair that I should fill the pantry.

I didn’t mind. It was one of the few household duties I could actually complete with any degree of success. Giving something back. Oh, and the local pub happened to be part of the same complex. All under one roof.

That cosy arrangement meant I could snaffle the specials at Woolies, and have my full trolley parked at a table by Race 3.

Of course, I would never stay long. Any shopper worth his salt knows those dairy products had to hit the fridge ASAP. There were only a few times when the milk had to be thrown out.

Those golden days couldn’t last forever. Now, I’m a Sunday arvo shopper. Not so busy. We’re a much more relaxed bunch, we late weekend shoppers.

I usually fly solo. And it’s funny who you spot scanning the shelves. My favourite supermarket counts an Olympian, a former NRL coach and a former Queensland Government Minister as regulars.

Both The Teenager and Daughter Two fight with all their might to avoid coming with me. Boring, they shriek.

I do trap them every now and then. If we’ve been to a Sunday movie, I’ll drive them home via the Fresh Food people. They never catch on until we’re in the carpark. Dads are amused by such things.

Once they become part of the spending team, things change. After conducting trolley races, annoying anyone over 40, they start spruiking their wish list.

Must have items. Usually from the confectionary and stationary sections. New chocolate brands. That groovy pack of highlighters. And we need those glow-in-the-dark water bottles for our lunch boxes. Didn’t Mum tell you?

I knock each request back. But they always manage to slip something in when I’m not looking. Just for chuckles at the checkout.

One thing I am wary of, is young blokes lurking in Aisle 4. Especially if they happen to be wearing a fancy shirt. Maybe I’ll leave the girls at home next time.

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