I drove my parents to an out of town shopping centre this afternoon. Which, according to my cutting spouse, makes a change from driving them to drink!
The primary reason for the venture being their desire to undertake a food shop at Sainsbury’s supermarket.
Despite my pater being not being too chipper at the moment, he stubbornly refused to miss his weekly jaunt to the retail wonderland founded by John Sainsbury in 1869. A mystical place where you can buy anything in the world, apart from a life size Dalek.
The refusal to stock Dr Who’s greatest nemesis, resultant from numerous customer complaints about constant cries of “Exterminate” in the bakery section by the confrontational wheel driven critters.
Watching my parents food shopping is a captivating experience. My dad’s insistence on getting the most aesthetically pleasing of a particular product, with the latest ‘use by’ date is a thing of OCD magnificence. It’s absorbing behaviour that doubles the duration of the shop and adds a further few grey hairs to my mum’s ashen locks.
Today’s spectacle of him deciding which fresh chicken to purchase was a joy to behold. He shuffled them around the chiller unit with the speed a Las Vegas blackjack dealer distributes cards. So much so that my mum was lead to cuttingly comment “You’re going to make those chickens bleeding dizzy, Malcolm!”
Eventually, he chose a fine looking bird with the ‘use by date’ of ‘When hell freezes over’ which, with a pleased with himself look on his face, he gently placed in the trolley.
Mally’s meticulous precision when storing groceries and greengroceries in a trolley, is akin to the strict routines of Dustin Hoffman’s savant character in the movie ‘Rain Man’. Forensically placed fruit and veg sit adjacent to diligently laid chiller items in designated quadrants of the trolley.
Woe betide anyone who carelessly places a tomato (or indeed any none bakery product) in the trolley area where the bread is stored. If anything perishable is inadvertently dropped in the unperishable goods area of the trolley, a look of scorn will be the minimum the perpetrator will be subject to by my old man.
Don’t get me wrong, he is a lovely man who we dearly love and his quirkiness when let loose in Sainsbury’s is harmless to anyone. It is, though, fascinating to behold from a people watching perspective.
In particular, the sight of my dad’s procrastinating in the wine aisle is a feast for the eyes. Witnessing Mally spend 15-20 minutes hunting for the best value Merlot or Rioja is addictive. It’s like espying a viral online video of a dog playing the piano or a cat delivering the Richard Dimbleby Lecture.
His indecisiveness has meant we have had to implement a ‘five second rule’. This piece of Strachan retail legislation was introduced so that once pater had place a bottle of vino in the trolley, if it had resided in the trolley 5 seconds he wasn’t allowed to swap it, even if he found a better wine at a cheaper price.
It might sound harsh but was borne from necessity. Otherwise Mally would have been ambling the wine aisles so long he would have been able to claim squatters rights in the store…… Although perhaps that’s what he was aiming for!
God bless my dad, who’s not well at the moment. A fantastic husband, dad and granddad, I hope he thoroughly enjoys his dizzy chicken for tea.
Incidentally, does anyone know where I can buy a life size Dalek?