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Supermarkets need an aisle for blokes

Somehow grocery shopping seems so much simpler in other countries. Photo by Geoff GoodfellowLAST week, my old mate, Neil Charge observed a new pest invading our supermarkets. Library shoppers, he calls them.

“You have two minutes to get milk and bread at the supermarket, you rush to aisle eight and no it’s blocked by library shoppers,” Neil bemoans.

“One is reading the salt content of a tin of baked beans another is checking if food colouring 9874 is in their packet of cereal, Muriel is doing an online price comparison, while another is phoning the National Nutritionists Hotline for advice.”

Chargy is right, isn’t he? This is yet another new phenomenon we all have to deal with while negotiating supermarket aisles.

“I want Woolies to install cow catchers on their trolleys so you can mow them down,” suggests Neil and those of you who know the former Mittagong hockey player will agree – he probably would.

Unlike Chargy, my greatest hassle in the supermarket is not the library shoppers, but choice. There is far too much of it.

My good wife Barbara occasionally sends me off with a list of goodies she needs for the larder and I break out into a nervous sweat.

“Make sure the washing powder is for a front loader, not a top loader. And when you get the oranges check they don’t come from California,” she warns sternly before rattling off another set of instructions about the lasagne sheets, yoghurt, cheese, bacon and everything else on the list.

When I get to the aisle to make my selection I can’t even see what I am looking for. There is stuff everywhere. Row upon row of confusing choices. Fifty shades of pasta, a variety of things masquerading as yoghurt, a zillion different cheeses and even the bacon from the lovely lady in the deli, who ever so politely asks – “would you like it thick or thin, gourmet or normal, high fat, low fat or lean, sir?” I just want half a dozen rashers of bloody bacon.

All these questions. What us blokes need is one aisle that has just one brand of everything neatly arranged in alphabetical order, preferably on one, eye-level shelf with really simple big labels saying, avocado, bread, custard, detergent, eggs, fish, grapes, ham, ice cream, jam, kippers, lemons, milk, all the way down to zucchinis at the other end of the aisle. Too easy!

And what about milk. Was a time milk was just milk, like it brilliantly says in that iconic television commercial you all will have seen.

“A bottle of milk thanks,” says the bloke going into a corner shop.

“Low fat, no fat, full cream, high calcium, high protein, soy, light, skim, omega 3, high calcium with vitamin D and foliate or extra dollop? asks the old shopkeeper.

“Uh… I just want milk that tastes like real milk.”

Yes poor bloke just wants milk that tastes like milk, but I am not sure where you can legally buy the stuff directly from the cow’s udder these days.

This modern pasturised stuff in plastic bottles has been pulled apart, molecularly rearranged and subjected to excruciating temperatures then packaged under 94 separate labels just to confuse us blokes. Not that we are hard to confuse in a supermarket, I accept that. Anyhoo, time for a couple of supermarket tales from the book of Dudley

“I’ve lost my wife somewhere here in the supermarket,” said Dudley to a stunningly good looking lady stacking the toilet paper aisle.

“Do you mind having a chat with me for a couple of minutes?”

The woman looked puzzled.

“Why?” she asked.

“Because every time I chat with a pretty looking woman with long legs and an ample chest my wife will suddenly appear out of nowhere”

Which brings us to a Bowral supermarket, where Old Dud and a young bloke were wandering around aimlessly, when they collided.

“Sorry mate,” said Old Dud. I was looking for my wife and I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

“No worries,” said the young bloke,” I was doing exactly the same thing.”

“Well maybe we can help each other find our wives,” suggested Old Dud.

“What does your wife look like?”

“She’s 24, tall, with blond hair, big blue eyes, long legs and she’s wearing super short shorts, a tight mesh singlet and no bra,” said the young bloke, who then asked; “What does your wife look like?”

“Doesn’t matter, mate” said Old Dud, “let’s look for yours.”

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