It’s 1.30 p.m. and already I’ve decided that there is no way that I am venturing out again today. Why? Because there’s a numpty apocalypse out there!
Yesterday – Armistice Day – was a national holiday here in Belgium, and quite rightly too, as the nation came together to honour those who fought on our behalf against tyranny, despotism and autocracy. All shops, businesses, post offices and public services were closed.
Given the fact that Friday is usually the busiest shopping day, and that yesterday – Friday – everywhere was closed, means that in order to survive today’s weekly supermarket shopping trip, an acceptance of the fact that everywhere is going to seem like Oxford Street on Christmas Eve, is essential. I had bargained for it being busy. I was prepared for it. What I wasn’t prepared for was the fact that every chucklehead, knucklehead, numpty, nitwit and wazzock had apparently made it their mission to get in my way!
I shall start from the beginning. I usually do the vast majority of my shopping at Aldi. However, when I need beefburgers for my cat (one of my cats, Dusty, will only eat cooked chicken and raw, pure beef, beefburgers), I am forced to enter the shopping hell that is Delhaize (a supermarket chain here in Belgium). Why do I hate shopping at Delhaize? The staff are discourteous, they never have enough checkouts open, they always have to call someone to get a price for them because the system doesn’t recognise a particular code…I could go on. If I could avoid shopping there, believe me, I would avoid it like the plague! Yet it is the only place which sells the pure beef beefburgers at a reasonable price. The love of my cat means that I am forced to endure this hell on a weekly basis.
Today, the car park of Delhaize was completely full. Correction, it wasn’t completely full, there was just nowhere to park on account of the fact that a great many people obviously had the spatial awareness of a three-year-old doing some colouring in, in that it was impossible for them to keep within the lines! So there was a queue to get into the car park as people waited with ever diminishing patience for an available space, and a queue to exit the car park caused by the drivers of two cars travelling in opposite directions deciding it was a good idea to stop, lean out of their windows and have a chat. By the time I eventually got parked up, there were so many beeps and horns, shouts and whistles, I thought I was in downtown New Orleans during Mardi Gras!
Once in the supermarket, I got my beefburgers in lightning quick time and immediately headed to the checkout. My heart sank. I decided right then and there that I would send a letter to Stephen Hawking, to ask him if he could apply his brilliant capacity for physics to explain how a supermarket, which employs around a hundred people, can only manage to have three out of ten checkouts open at any one time. Dutifully, I got in line and waited as the six people in front of me were served at a snail’s pace. Fifteen minutes, two I’ll-pack-my-bags-as-slowly-as-possible-and-then-pay, two oops-I’ve-forgotten-something-I’ll-just-go-and-get-it and one I’ve-left-my-wallet-in-the-car later, there was now only one person in front of me. I was almost there. I rejoiced when I saw that she had just three items. Her first item scanned. Her second item scanned. Her third item…wouldn’t scan. Rapidly losing the will to live, I watched in dismay as the cashier said, “I’ll just go and have a look what it says on the shelf” and left her seat. Another five minutes passed, and just as I was about to start headbutting myself to death on the checkout conveyor belt, the cashier returned. The lady paid. I got served, packed my bags, hurried to my car…only to find that King of the Numpties had parked his Range Rover across a parking space rather than in it, and blocked me in! When the guy eventually returned to his car, I rolled down my window and asked, in as calm a tone as I could muster, “Who taught you how to park? Stevie fucking Wonder?”
Aldi was marginally better. It was still hellishly busy, the car park was still full, but at least everyone was in their spaces and every checkout was open. In fact, the only quibble I have with Aldi is that they should employ counsellors to console those shoppers who have a breakdown through trying to pack their bags at the same speed at which the cashier scans them!
Now, back at home, I find myself venting my spleen at you, dear reader, while indulging in a steaming cup of hot coffee and some therapy. Sorry, did I say therapy? I meant chocolate.