The Super Gender War.
(Names have been changed to protect the guilty)
Arthur and Susan are your usual elderly couple. Still independent, they are happy and quite capable of looking after themselves. That includes shopping.
They are a ‘traditional’ couple. He worked for around 55 years, and recently retired. She is still working, of course. She has been the housewife, the mother and the home-carer. She either does not want to retire, or has no choice.
Main shopping is done at the super. There is the local one downstairs. Everything is available there, but being ‘downstairs’ it’s more expensive.
And before I continue, there’s the Carmel market, where everything is cheaper and fresher – and still, when Susan goes there, with or without Arthur, she will buy by habit. Certain stuff from him, other stuff from another, she’ll bargain, she’ll complain and of course, like everyone else, she’ll pick one by one, having a good feel of each, only taking 2 out of every 3 and putting the other one back. She will not always take from the top of the pile. That may be out of reach. It’s not her fault when the pile gives way and some tumble to the ground.
Back to the supers. There is a better one nearby, but have to go by car. I’m not sure why the above 3 options are not enough.
Because, once in 2 weeks, Susan insists on going to Tami Levi, the mega-super, which is 10 minutes’ drive away.
They have the usual big trolleys requiring a deposit or a token. Susan is one of the many who ignores the system and, before parking, will search for an abandoned trolley. That’s far more important than finding a convenient parking place.
Inside, there are 2 shopper-types: the woman on her own, or the clever one that drags her Arthur with her.
It’s finally dawned on me where women learn to drive. At the super. Forget the driving instructor; the super will give you all the driving skills required to become a woman driver.
At Tami Levi, the aisles are just wide enough for 2 trolleys to pass each other. That works OK except…the aisles are also full of the shelf-builders and their carts, and also filled with husbands leaning on their trolleys, waiting for their wives to shout at them to be nearer, while trying to stay out of people’s ways. The patience needed and the incredible manoeuvrability required are among the main reasons why men are good drivers.
There will always come a moment when Susan orders Arthur to go stand in line, which of course he does quite happily, as this is a sign that torture’s end is near.
Occasionally, when it’s not busy, there is room to stand behind the one in front. But the obvious reason Arthur is sent to stand in line is because there’s a wait. Trouble is, there’s no clear room for the usual line. First question is: are you last in line? The other person usually has a clear answer. Yes, so you get behind him. Or no, another is, so you get behind the other. Or, I think that it is, indicating an abandoned trolley whose owner has reserved the space and has gone off for ‘last purchases’.
All well and good you would think. But…there’s only space for 1 trolley in waiting without blocking the ’cross-lane’, if you get what I mean. Normally, you are expected to continue the line behind the last trolley, but leaving room for ‘cross traffic’. Trouble is, Arthur can’t get there. There are 2 abandoned trolleys standing there, and the ’last in line’ has no idea of their status.
So, Arthur does what any good driver would do: the lane next door is closed. There is room to stand to the side without being in anyone’s way – as long as he stands by the trolley and prepares to explain the situation, if and when the owners of the abandoned trolleys return. And if someone else who wants to join the line asks “who’s last?’, he is quick with the answer: “Me’.
One trolley owner, a male, arrives. He tries the ‘I was here before’ bit
All OK; no problem.
Until….Susan arrives. She immediately sees the situation. As there is that cross-lane space available, she will stand there and pull their trolley in tight behind the one at the till. The man in line across the cross-lane disagrees, which gets Susan going. Arthur tries to tell Susan that all is OK; the he is next in line. ‘Susan’, he says – and she is not happy that her name is being publicised.
The lady who is having her stuff checked out turns round and defends Susan. Her husband tries to distract her back to the till; Arthur is still trying to stop Susan from having an argument with any man who comes near her. There are now 4 men involved – each with their own trolley. All of them are holding their hands up – as if faced with the women’s guns.
Each is trying to let the other in, something the women have learnt is 100% taboo at the super. NEVER LET ANOTHER IN. Perhaps because the 2 women see that 4 agreeing men have some power, and 1 of those 2 women is already ‘on her way’, the situation calms down.
In the meantime, the man behind Arthur is joined by his wife, who quite loudly wonders why he not next in line. She appears to accept his explanation, and all is well.
Except….the cashier has to do pee-pee. “Where is she going?” asks Susan. Arthur, however, is greatly in need of the toilet, and gratefully asks the cashier is there are also facilities for. the customers. She indicates to him where to go, and off she goes.
It’s quite a long way for Arthur – way to the back of the store. But when he returns to Susan, the cashier is not yet there, and the wives are impatient.
Arthur agrees that it is taking long, but keeps his opinion to himself. You never know…ttrolley ladyhe cashier is an Arab lady. Perhaps it is much more complicated to remove and re-apply all her clothing. Who knows?
They load the car, leave the trolley in the next customer’s parking space, and go home with the feeling that they’ve saved a lot.
March 9, 2021