Now in hindsight, I should have realised that going to a supermarket on the evening of December 22nd was pushing my luck. I admit, I thought that ‘a bit busy’ would be an adequate description. After all, it wasn’t the 23rd or the 24th. There were still two full shopping days before the entire retail world shut down for – what – a world-shaking 60 hours, any one of which could turn out to be Armageddon, right?
The first clue was the car park. ‘A bit busy’ was just about an adequate description. It was possible to park without having to cruise for hours and start several bitter personal feuds that would last generations in order to get a parking space. It wasn’t that bad. My gamble, it seemed, was going to pay off.
Inside the store wasn’t too bad either. At least, not the running up and down the aisles part. In that is was possible to move more often than it wasn’t. If you put aside the number of trolleys that had been abandoned, half-laden, in the middle of them, that is. But then even one trolley abandoned with obviously no thought given to anyone else tends to induce homicidal thoughts in me (I can understand the need. Even my wife does it. But please, park them where they’re at least a little bit out of the way. You’re in Tescos, remember? Not barricading the streets to herald the coming of the revolution).
So all of this is not as bad as it might be, and as usual, I’m pleasantly surprised by how good-humoured it all is. And, come to think of it, this happens every Christmas, right. When you stop and think about it, everything I’ve described sounds entirely predictable, right?
So why, with the shop practically bursting at the seams and eight laden trolleys lining up for each till were only half the checkouts open? When I left (with the checkout I had used now closed behind me), the queue had reached ten. At the far end of the shop in the alcohol queue, they’d run out of aisle and were snaking around the back of the shop. It’s a good job we English are so well-natured when it comes to queuing otherwise people would have been looting the gardening section for pitchforks and torches so they could lynch the management. Can’t have been any fun for the till-operators either.
Mead and very content children have since taken the edge off my bile and I realise that forty minutes of queuing is a mere piffle in a town that’s used to hosting the V-festival, but still, critical failure of forward planning, Tescos. 1/10 (a couple of bonus points for the shelves still being at least reasonably well stocked, minus one for refusing to let me use my Clubcard rewards vouchers unless I’ve got my f**king Clubcard with me).