Supermarket sweep

I thought I’d share a little tale of yesterday’s adventures in Waitrose. Now this would be a good time to explain that I don’t like shopping, any kind of shopping. Retail therapy? Not for me, retail makes me need therapy! Ok, I do like pottering in little interesting shops like we did in Iceland, but that’s not shopping. As for heading to the supermarket, well that is just the worst kind of shopping! Thank goodness for the online world I say, but even then I get fed up with shopping. It was a usual busy Saturday morning. My husband’s children were with us and had homework to do. It seemed the fair thing to do to head off to the supermarket and pick up the bits we needed. My husband gave me his Waitrose card and off I went.

The car park was busy as always on a Saturday morning, but it seemed to be full of pensioners. Why do pensioners have to shop on a Saturday when they could choose any other day of the week? I am busy during the week earning money I pay taxes on to pay for their pensions. The least they could do is keep clear of the supermarket on a Saturday morning. To all those younger than me, I make a solemn promise to keep away from supermarkets, garden centres and all other vital places on a Saturday when I am a pensioner and you are earning the taxes for me! Finally in a parking space, let the shopping commence.

Now, I thought I had the Waitrose card so that I could use one of the self scanning handsets. I’ve never used one on my own before and this was the perfect first time. I swiped the card, nothing. I swiped it again, still nothing. I swiped it a few more times, even turning it round, nothing. I used the other machine, same result. Another lady (not a pensioner thankfully) swiped her card and ping! a handset was released. ‘I think you need a credit or debit card for this,’ she said. ‘Oh no,’ said I confidently, ‘my husband uses this all the time.’ Undeterred I headed to customer services and told them the card wasn’t working. The young lad looked a bit dubious but checked the card out and said he saw no reason for it not to work and released a handset for me. I was ready.


© Waitrose 2015

This self scanning isn’t as simple as it should be. I needed my phone for the shopping list, my glasses to read the shopping list which I needed to take off to see where I was going, to hold the handset to scan and to push the trolley. I was clearly several hands short. Added to the confusion, my phone kept locking and this is when having a six digit pass code isn’t at all helpful. If only I knew how to turn it off easily…

Carefully juggling along the aisles I started my shopping, scanning everything and depositing it into the waiting bags. What an ingenious invention this is to eliminate all that excessive taking things in and out. You put it in the trolley, get to the check out, take it out of the trolley, pay then put it all back in the trolley just to get it out of the trolley to put it in the car to get it out of the car to put away. It’s exhausting just thinking about it! Oh, and thinking about it made me miss something on the list and I had to go back an aisle. Well, there are no arrows on the floor, but our Waitrose does have a kind of accepted one way system, and I was definitely going the wrong way. Pensioners chatting to chums, children skittering under foot, people filling shelves and of course all those trolleys coming the ‘right’ way. I weaved and wove, nipped and tucked and made it to the cream cheese. I felt sure at any moment I would get pulled over by the Waitrose police for going the wrong way down their slip road…

Finally it was time to pay. ‘Scan here to finish your shop’ the machine said and so I did. ‘Swipe the card you used to release the handset’ it said. Well, my card hadn’t released the handset the so I couldn’t do that bit. Perfect timing saw an assistant pass the check out and I told her my dilemma. ‘Just one moment, please,’ she said, ‘I’ll just put these away and help.’ With that she went off with an armful of handsets and returned moments later. After explaining that actually the Waitrose card is not meant to release the handsets, it is the credit or debit card that is associated with it that will do that, she said, ‘No problem,though. I can do this on the till here, can you give me your handset?’ I paused, before saying ‘You’ve just put it away,’ and her face fell. ‘Oh, so I have, oh dear, oh…’

Now there are not many times really that being a bit nerdy with numbers comes in handy, but here was one of those precious moments. ‘It said 828 on it if that helps?’ I offered. ‘Oh yes,’ she said, ‘that’s perfect that helps a lot! Otherwise we would have to re-scan everything!’ I paid and headed to the car, weaving again to miss pensioners, stationary cars, kids, moving cars and endless bollards before transferring my purchases into the boot.

When I got home I said to my husband, ‘I thought you used the Waitrose card to release the scanner.’ ‘Oh no,’ he replied, ‘I use the credit card for that.’

Well, he might have told me that sooner…