Monday, June 11, 2007

A Bum Steer

I drive. I'm not a bad driver. I'm not a particularly good driver but I know that if I turn on the ignition, point my car in the general direction in which I want to go, it will move forward, provided it's in gear it will go where I want it to and respond in a way I expect it to. I also have the benefit of an all wheel drive vehicle which will turn on a five cent piece and respond immediately to the slightest touch of the steering wheel. It's also 14 years old.

Today, I will be driving another vehicle, similar all wheel drive, much newer than my old jalopy and capable of a large load. It will be a shopping trolley. Laugh if you must but why are these contraptions so difficult to steer? Initially, it will be quite easy. After racing the woman beside me for the first available and wrenching the offending vehicle from a long line of neatly stacked others, I'll trap my fingers in the kiddy seat and get the safety belt caught on one of my buttons. So as I go through the automatic gates at Coles, I'll look like a retard or some poor old sodette who has a severe back injury. Once I've disentangled the child safety belt from my jacket button and righted myself, I'll drop my dilapitated purse into one of the many 'green' shopping bags stuffed in the said child seat section but my keys will miss their mark and become entangled in the mesh at the bottom of the trolly. As I go down on my knees (not in a good way), I'll draw attention to myself in a way that is far from desirable as I bend beneath the trolley to retrieve the trapped car keys.

I'll head first, down the closest aisle which happens to be soft goods such as bread, croissants and other pastries. This means that all the soft and squishy stuff lies in the bottom of the trolley. Who designed this place!

As I meander up and down each consecutive aisle, the trolley will become fuller, heavier and inevitably impossible to steer. It used to be handy having a toddler grabbing the front of the trolley and perched on its frame to reweight the thing so that it did actually travel in a singular direction and in a straight line but by the time I reach the shampoo and tampons, it's loaded with cans and jars, juice and boxes and refuses to go straight. At this point, I'll avoid a small child running out of control with an irate parent chasing it and crash duly into the neatly stacked collection of toothpaste (with a free toothbrush) which I would otherwise have missed and take advantage of the free offer whilst I clumsily try to restack the mountain of gold foil boxes.

Having crashed, of course the carefully placed cans and jars will land heavily on my croissants and wholemeal, squashing them into oblivion at which point, I'll remove them, leave them on the shelf where the dog food resides and vow to revisit the squishy aisle to get a fresh loaf and half a dozen more croissants.

A final run of the frozen section for baby peas (that's all I buy frozen) and I'm done. Again, I wobble towards the checkout, now with one rear wheel refusing to right itself and the trolley has developed a screeching squeak which alerts every shopper and checkout chick to my presence. At the moment I reach the end of the queue and begin unloading the harder items, I remember that I've forgotten to pick up my loaf of Helga's MultiGrain and have to push past irate waiting shoppers, each with their own trolley challenge and race to retrieve tommorrows vegemite toast.

Finally, all items sorted in order of firmness, they're packed into the greeny bags, I fumble for the right credit card which is slammed one more time with a bill I can ill afford and the bags are loaded back into the trolley for dispatch to the car boot.

Now the worst bit. I have to navigate the now completely crippled and squarking wire frame contraption through the revellers enjoying their cappucino and free cake from Michelle's Patisserie scraping their chair legs as I go. Through the automatic doors where I am the only shopper in the world that smiles at the security guy (he sees me coming these days and gives me a sheepish wave) and down the flattened curb towards my car. The trolley now, weighted has gained velocity and is actually pulling me towards the old jalopy before crashing into the pre-scratched bumper.

Almost done now. With the greenie bags unloaded the empty trolley is pushed back up to the trolley bay and thrown into it with such vim and vigour that it bounces straight out and has to be caught on the fly before it scratches the brand new Landcruiser parked badly near it. With a flushed face, underbreath mutterings and a firm hand, it's lodged once more with its compadres ready to drive another shopper insane.

I'm thinking long and hard about home delivery . . .


Anonymous said...

A universal truth if ever there was one. My supermarket of choice was GIANT but now I've gone back to Weis a local store. I t doesn't seem to matter what continent you are on you always get the same shopping cart no matter where you are.

Baino said...

another product from Bastards Incorporated
Actually, I dragged Clare along to be the trolley pusher so it was incident free

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter which cart I choose. It always wants to go sideways. Most carts are alcoholic as they always steer me into the wine section, even though I'm aiming for the butcher's counter.

Actually, I gave up years ago. I haven't been in a supermarket for ages. I get it all delivered. Ah! The joys of the Interweb... ;)