Unless I’m standing up for wifey, as ridiculous as it seems I tend to try and avoid public confrontation. I get butterflies and feel light headed. Which is stupid as I’m 6 ft 4 and have a very quick and acerbic tongue.
Still, I was remembering wifey’s experiences in Sainsbury at the checkout, or more precisely the queue for the checkout as I was standing in line at Waitrose today. Wifey has found increasingly that half way through a large shop, middle aged man gets a place in the queue holding a couple of items. He is only a place marker because ten minutes later when he is near the front, his battle axe of a wife appears with a huge trolley load of junk, causing much consternation amongst those honest shoppers who actually shop before queuing up. Sainsbury lose an awful amount of goodwill from the silent majority by turning a blind eye to this practice. And by a blind eye, I also mean an ear that’s deaf to the complaints.
Well something similar happened to me in the “basket only” queue at Waitrose today. In proper bloke fashion, I didn’t even have a basket, I had (too many) things held to my chest. I had a senior citizen in front and a Man with an Expensive Outdoor Coat (MEOC) in front of her with a very full basket. The old dear was only buying some mushrooms. As MEOC made it to the till, a litany of excuse mes ran down the line of 10 odd people as WEOC (Woman in an Expensive Outdoor Coat) barged past everyone and stood behind MEOC. Perhaps they met in Rock & Snow whilst looking at expensive coats, I don’t know but it was obvious they were together.
WEOC turned to the old lady and said, “I’m not queue jumping, I’m with him.” in a smarmy voice that made me immediately despise her. The old dear said something along the lines of, “It says basket, singular, not two baskets.” which got an even smarmy response of, “Well it’s the season of goodwill so I’m sure we can overlook it this once in the spirit of the season can’t we?” I sort of assumed this meant queuing is for people who don’t wear expensive outdoor coats come back and complain when someone turns you into an acronym old woman. This was met with a huff and elicited the final response that WEOC got to make, “Well what do you want me to do, go to the back of the queue?” in a condescending tone that even our NCT breastfeeding expert didn’t manage*.
It was at this point the mouse roared. I took one step forward and said, “Yes, that’s a good idea.” She looked up at me and, not knowing me, assumed I was scary. It may have helped that I was wearing a Salamon ski jacket (it is 6 years old and the zips going but it was once an expensive outdoor coat). She looked incredulous and slunk to the back of the queue. Her husband ignored her. He might have had an expensive coat, but at least he knew when his missus was in the wrong.
It’s manners really. If you have a trolleys worth of stuff and decide to split it between two baskets, I’m grumble inwardly if you queue up together and pay for it in one transaction on the basket only till but if you think you can stroll round the shop and ignore everyone else who has legitimately queued for ages, then this is one mouse that will roar. It’s time supermarkets started policing the checkout queues in my mind.
*when she told us wifey had to demand feed up to twice an hour 24/7, and wifey asked when she was supposed to sleep, our NCT breastfeeding teacher said, “Well you should have thought of that before you decided to have a baby.”