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.