Shopping for lunch should not be a chore, but a pleasure.
I had opted for Tesco over Sainsbury's this lunchtime, however, which proved to be a stupid, schoolgirl error. It was traumatic.
Firstly, I embarrassed myself by setting off the alarm when I walked in. Note. I had nothing on my person except my clothes, my purse and a smile. No-one was coming out, no small midget sneaked past me, furtively clutching a Milky Bar. No. I walked in, and alarm bells rang. What a comment about the state of my life: no matter how hard I try, I always make an entrance. And it ain't pretty.
Then I have to trawl through the vegetable counters for my weekly salad purchases, while this little old guy who looked like the incarnation of Mr Magoo kept following me around the veg. stand and smiling every time I looked his way. Short of beating him around the head with a carrot or shoving a squash up his wrinkly nose or stapling his head to a marrow with a pricing gun, there was little I could do except call it a day for fresh fruit and veg and go and hide in the deep freeze under some McCain's chips for a few hours.
Note to Tesco's: Tinned Treacle Pudding is not one of the following: "Tinned soups, vegetables and meats." It is not one of the four main food groups. It belongs to the group: "Bad, Very Bad, Totally Calorific and Cavity-making." Tinned tuna, however, does not qualify for either of those two food groups and therefore does not exist in the world of Tesco employees. "Tuna? Tinned Tuna? Uhhhh...Not Sure..."
Furthermore, putting a small Krispy Kreme counter right next to the weightwatchers yoghurt and dairy section is simply barbarous.
Also, selling "fresh" pomegranate chunks that, when opened, taste like soured vodka that has been left to stand for six days in the heat, beggars belief. The taste - and some of the darn pips - will remain with me for days.
Then to proceed to the self-service checking counter. All goes well until it does not allow me to take my full shopping bag off the "bagging area" and start a new one. "Please place item in the bagging area" it says in a loud woman's voice, over and over and over. Eventually I end up talking to the machine, just as loudly. Yes. I am insane.
Then after I pay, I realise it has not charged me for something worth £5 (that's US$10 and CAN$600,023). So I ask the lady if I can re-do my shop or just pay for that one item at the same bagging counter. She is very helpful and polite - a highlight in that dark Tesco - and I put the order through for that one item. As I go to pay, the automated voice starts up again: "Please put your item in the bagging area. Please put your item in the bagging area. Please put your item in the bagging area."
By now, I am thumping the bagging area and cursing like an old sunday school teacher - vis-a-vis: "Condarn you, you little beggar", "Confounded nuisance" "Dadblamed machine." All the while the same message is booming out: "Please place your item in the bagging area."
Eventually I bang the bagging area so hard the red light starts flashing on the top of the self-service (SERVICE? HA!) area and a voice starts up: "Calling for assistance. Calling for assistance". I pull out my credit card, throw £5 cash at the attendant who has been standing there all the time, and run out of the shop like a thief.
All this for a bleeding garden salad and a lemon yoghurt.