It’s a Monday, Minx 1 and 2 are safely locked up away from my grumpiness and potty-mouth in nursery, so it’s… find a shopping trolley day!
Food shopping is 100% guaranteed to bring out all the exasperation and anger in me. If I manage to find a parking space that I can get the door open wide enough to worm the baby out of her car seat without wrecking the car beside me, I get to march all the way down to the supermarket door, in the driving rain and wind (it’s the Highlands, you know!). I take all my shopping bags with me, like a dutiful little housewife: Save Our Planet from plastic bags (and our car-park from the shards of glass caused by the flimsy things breaking prematurely and spilling their contents…). I also have to take a change bag, because Minx 3 still has unpredictable emissions from each end. So presently I arrive at the big stand of shopping trolleys with a heavy baby taking up one arm and hip, 2 bags on the other arm, my long (now wet) hair whipping over my eyes and over the baby (did I say it was wet and windy again?). I grab the handle of the nearest trolley with a baby seat, jerk at it, smack an old lady sideways with my flailing bags, apologise, sigh, and realise the fun is about to start.
Once I get the damn trolley separated from the others (honestly, it’s harder than peeling apart the wet pages of a book dropped down the toilet – don’t ask), I pause. Are we going to have our usual Monday morning fights? I open up the folded baby seat – yep: broken safety strap. Really broken. Even an enterprising woman like me can’t resurrect its previous safety. Grimace. Push trolley to one side, dutifully apply safety brake, struggle with second trolley. Only person hurt this time is the baby, who doesn’t like the jolts (and me). Peel open the seat. Another broken clip. Repeat. And again…
The 4th or 5th trolley isn’t totally serviceable, but I reckon there’s enough left of the broken strap for me to tie it to the other functional one to keep the baby safely onboard. Great! I pull out a little blanket from the change bag with my teeth and try to arrange it as best I can over the brown, sticky stains and their accompanying mould that decorate the seat. I lower my precious (cold, wet, shrieking) daughter onto the blanket, tie her down to it, and try to ignore the greasiness that’s transferred from the straps to my hands. Dumping the bags in the trolley, I wheel off to the toilets where I can get a handful of wet and soapy toilet paper (IF the soap dispensers are actually full of soap – this is not always the case), unstrap the wailing baby, attack the filth of the seat, rinse it, dry it with more toilet paper, put the now dirty blanket in the change bag, put the inconsoleable baby in the clean(er) seat, and ignore the glares from the coffee shop customers who’ve had their peaceful morning coffee disturbed (try experiencing my morning, pal). As I wheel the trolley to the first aisle, I feel the pit of my stomach plunge as I realise that the trolley won’t steer in a straight line, even if I push on one side of the handle and pull on the other whilst walking sideways.
And now you want me to spend money in your store?!!
I once tried complaining about the state of the trolleys. I got a shrug and a grunt. I occasionally shop online. I only do this whenever I forget how annoying it is to fight with 26 plastic bags (I kid you not – I counted them out and I counted them all back in again to the irate driver’s hands) for a week’s shopping, or to re-educate the driver/picker that no, I won’t accept a burst carton of cream, bashed butter or a chicken twice the size that I asked for, dated to be used up today.
I hate shopping – I am obviously not a hunter-gatherer by nature.