Wednesday, March 21, 2007

trolley torment

I'm sure you're all familiar with trolley torment. It's a common phenomenon. You rush to the supermarket, you grab a trolley randomly, and then spend the next half an hour careering wildly around the store, seemingly without direction. Literally. Because the damn trolley has a turned wheeel, and when you point the trolley straight, it goes left. Or right. Or if you're particularly unfortunate, it rotates in a full circle, so that you end up back in the same spot, still in front of the breakfast cereals. It's maddening.

These days, I like to think of myself as somewhat of a supermarket expert. After all, I was a Grocery Store Shopping Assistant to my mother for years. Now, I am the Designated Shopping Person in our family. I do this job every week. I know about supermarkets. Why, then, do trolleys still defeat me? What is it about their sneaky conniving ways that has me beat?

Early Sunday morning, I drove serenely to the local supermarket. I was looking forward to an hour of quiet, to be honest. For one whole hour, I would cruise peacefully up and down aisles, stopping occasionally to flick through a magazine. Any screaming kids would not be mine to deal with. In any case, it was too early for most parents to have wrangled kids through dressing and breakfasts and into the car. The store was full of old folks and me. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.

I may have been dreamy, but I still was alert enough to select my trolley carefully. I pulled it from the stack. I tried it forwards. Tried rolling it backwards. Tested a quick turn to each side. Perfect!

The fresh produce section went well enough. I breezily bought bananas, and cheerily bagged apples. La-la la! I grabbed green beans and toyed with the thought of buying pumpkin, just to annoy my kids.

It was sometime during the viewing of Aisle 3 that everything unravelled. As the trolley filled with groceries, it began to move against my will. As I pushed straight ahead, the trolley would surge obediently forwards a few metres, then angrily pull to the left. As I tugged it forwards again, it swung wildly to the right. I swear it had a mind of its own. This was a trolley with intent, and I'm talking evil intent.

As I fought to steer the trolley down each aisle, I began to sweat lightly. I grimaced as I wrenched it away from shelves of teetering tins. I apologised to a frowning elderly lady as the trolley suddenly lunged at her. I laughed and shook my head, explaining, "This trolley is crazy!". The old lady silently glared back. It was evident where she thought any mental instability lay.

The worst thing was, there was no way to predict what this damn critter (i.e. the trolley) would do. Its behaviour was completely inconsistent. It would lull me into pushing in a normal fashion, then veer off at almost ninety degrees. I tried to compensate for the left veer, but would end up still going left. Or right. Never straight. It seemed to defy all laws of physics. Not that physics is my strong point.

I'm just saying - watch out for these trolleys. They don't reveal their true natures until you begin to relax. They don't show the wild whites of their eyes until you are committed; until the trolley is already half full. All the pre-shop rolling and testing will not help if you don't try to sense the trolley's aura. You must stand next to it. Pause. Wait for any malevolent vibes. Trust your trolley instincts.

Good luck, my friends. May the trolleys be kind to you.

13 comments:

meggie said...

What a wise & adorable post! I've met the brothers of these trolleys. They are actually thugs in disguise. And they target women in particular. My daughter has met them also, they lie in wait for the unsuspecting, & then cunningly wait to reveal their true bully-boy/Hoodlum personalities.

TUFFENUF said...

OK, this is weird. I went to the store on Monday. I was very careful to choose my cart so I did not have one with a loud bumpy wheel (like I had the previous week) My cart was half filled with groceries, and it started to "bump". Now my incident happened on Monday - which was Tuesday where you are; and your trolley went crazy on Sunday. Maybe it was the earth's axis off kilter or something - but it is strange! Jelly, you make me laugh!

Val said...

Jelly, you brought back so many memories! Shopping trolleys were one of the hardest things for me to get used to when I first arrived in Oz in 1974. You have gone into much more detail. This is what I posted in February last year:
The shopping trolleys from hell: it was a constant struggle to steer them in the general desired direction, the only consolation being the hilarious sight of seeing other people, sometimes two per trolley, trying to navigate them around the aisles and to their cars. Australia must have bought up the world's supply of dysfunctional trolleys - the wheels just did not want to work.

thisisme said...

Shopping trolleys are evil and must be destroyed. What an absolutely hilarious post - thank you. I understand why so many older ladies bring their own trolleys to the supermarket - they have truly learnt wisdom. What I really want to know though, is why, when I've had a trolley behave all the way through my shop, when I get to the car and open the boot, why does the trolley start edging away from me and take the shopping with it. Lulled into a false sense of security again!

Alice said...

Dare I suggest that there is a solution to look forward to? Just wait a few/lot of years, and when you and Fatty are retired, HE can push the trolley for you and it won't be your worry any more ...lol.

Mimi said...

This is hysterical! Your writing at it's best. Thanks for the laugh which of course even here in the US where we call them carts we can fully relate. My kids wondered why I was laughing so hard.

Mimi

Redneck Mommy said...

We call them buggies over here. And I am an expert buggy wrangler.

Snort. I only wish.

I do have the amazing ability to always pick the buggy with the squeaky wheel. You know the one where you can hear me coming four aisles away.

The one where the ole ladies give you the stink eye for making such a racket.

Yep, me and the squeaky wheel know each other very well.

Christal said...

Trllus, buugies and Carts here... I dislike them all! They never seem to go where you want them too! They have minds of their owns! Thanks for bringing a smile to my face!

Sandy said...

Such a wimsical story and one that we can all relate too. We've all had those terrible buggies that have a mind of their own and thank goodness our local grocery has just bought brand new ones.

You are such a wonderful story teller and I could envision you tra la la ing all the way through the store until your buggy decided to take control. Such a funny story Jelly...thanks for the laugh.

Kerri said...

I had one of those evil trolleys (carts here) just yesterday. It sure takes the fun out of shopping. Wait a minute....what fun? OK, it sure makes shopping an even more unpleasant experience than it already is!
Jelly, you're hilarious :)
You'll have to start carrying your own can of oil...or set of tools...or whatever it takes to fix those wheels! Perhaps you could start an instore service (in your spare time) :)
The ladies would love you..and maybe even the men :)

shellyC said...

I ALWAYS get these kind too - they seem to be the ones that are not full of rubbish or lettuce leaves!! I love it when a new supermarket opens and for about two weeks you are guaranteed a good working trolley!!
I really hate battling with these crappy trolleys in the carpark. Knocking a few cans of beans off the shelves or running into the ankles of a pensioner isn't as bad as scraping a BMW!!!

david santos said...

Hello, Jelly!
This work is very good. thank you
have a good qeekend

Connie W said...

Having found your blog only last night I am delightfully reading away on older posts and laughing my fool head off. This one is way too funny (although too true as well) and you have definitely tickled my funny bone.