Eight shoppers you could meet at the supermarket

I’ve been supermarket shopping today, stocking up for the first barbecue of the season, and I’ve turned to thinking about some of the people you may meet as you navigate the aisles. You may also be one of these people.

  1. The focussed planner. This person knows what they need. Never mind the list, the items on the list are arranged according to the geography of the supermarket. Usefulness to other shoppers is that they may be able to tell you where to find the pickled gherkins.
  2. The family outing. Not really an individual, this is a group activity. They’re all here. Presumably the older kids can be despatched to the third aisle on the right to pick up a box or two of whatever it is, but having eight people standing in the washing powder aisle can be a problem for the focussed planner who may be running against the clock.
  3. The disoriented husband. Sorry to be a bit sexist here, but no matter how many Saturday mornings this guy’s wife turfs him out to do the weekly shop, it never gets any easier. He still has no clue where to find the home baking section and cannot understand why the frozen vegetables cannot be beside the fresh. While a focussed planner might be done in 30 minutes, this guy will be lucky to get out before the frozen fish has begun to thaw.
  4. The long lost friends. What better place to stand for a good old natter than the salad aisle. Who said shopping should be about filling your trolly? It’s a social occasion. So much to catch up on. Things get really congested though when the family outing combines with the long lost friends.
  5. The ponderer. What is better value when you are buying a tin of garden peas? 240 grammes for 40p or 600 grammes for 90p? Probably the latter, especially since you can get two cans for £1.50. It’s not just the garden peas, either. It’s chocolate biscuits, bottled water and jars of jalapeño peppers. Supermarkets are starting to employ psychologists to deal with disoriented husbands who also happen to be ponderers.
  6. The distracted student. Just pops in to get a few last minute things. Awareness of other navigators is not helped by the iPod and earphones. Liable to sudden changes of direction.
  7. The yellow sticker hunter. This is the shopper (possibly a student) who is only really interested in the bargains – indicated by yellow price stickers.
  8. The sandwich maker. Like the focussed planner, the sandwich maker has a strategic approach. However the strategy might not be obvious to the casual observer as the sandwich maker moves from the bread section to the butter section, to the mayonnaise and then to the cold meats.

None of this even begins to unpack the dilemmas you face when you opt for a basket, only to realise you should have taken a trolley, or that your trolley has a wonky and/or noisy wheel. Not to mention the queue at the check out desks…

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