Commentary and Philosophy Fiction posted February 7, 2019

This work has reached the exceptional level
gotta love junk food

Shop Till You Drop

by djsaxon



I'm a shopping trolley. One of those difficult to manoeuvre wire mesh items that sit patiently in long intimate rows outside of supermarkets, waiting to be used. And here she comes. The Princess of Waddle. I'm next in line so I have no choice. I am about to become a user-heavy Zimmer frame with foodie benefits. This thirty-something behemoth is gonna do my head in, I can feel it. Twenty minutes of grunt and puff if she is able to last that long. I may be blessed with nutritious and healthy, but I seriously doubt it.

      The woman moves slowly. Thigh rubbing against obscenely fat thigh, and a bum that could squash a large possum. How she ever managed to squeeze into her floral Lycra tights beggars belief. She drags me out of the rack and off we go. Waddle becomes enthusiastic pant and push, and in very little time at all we are in Aisle 2. Chocolates and Treats. She contemplates the choice of potato chips, and decides to load up on Smith's Originals. Hard to resist at two jumbo packs for five dollars. She buys eight, and moves on. I do my bad-wheel trolley trick, hoping that we may abandon the treats and visit the vegetable area sometime soon but she is not deterred by my squeaky protest. Everything that she has purchased so far is packed with refined salt, and it's all sugar heavy. We remain in the same aisle but now she is looking at chocolate. Four large blocks of fruit and nut find a place next to the crisps and we're done. She lumbers into the drinks section. Coke is on special so she buys a carton pack of thirty. Forty bucks. I'm starting to wonder whether real food is ever gonna be an option.

      I feel a little better when we hit dairy. The woman grabs some really good cheese, an olive oil spread, and some Greek yoghurt. I had forgotten about the ready-made meals on the other side of the dairy display. The slide and discover windows reveal all manner of fat-person goodies. I get to transport nine budget pizzas and three packets of frozen hash browns. We finally wheel away from that area and head back the way we came. No ice cream? I'm almost impressed. I thought for a moment that we were moving towards the vegetables, but it turned out that she had forgotten the chocolate biscuits. We pant our way back to Aisle 3. Mint Desserts, and two family packs of choc chip cookies.

      'Maureen! What a surprise.' The voice belonged to an attractive blonde woman. She appeared to be about Maureen's age but was half her size. She added a packet of salt-reduced whole wheat crackers to her own trolley.
      'Hi, Deb,' Maureen said. 'You're shopping early.'
      'I know. Dave starts work at ten. He'll be needing the car before then. 'She smiled. 'So here I am, barely awake, and buying all manner of nasty stuff.'
      'You're looking great.'
      'Thanks. Not too bad for a forty year old mother of two I guess. I hit the gym three times a week.'
      'Well done you.'
      I glanced at Deb's trolley. Nasty stuff? I didn't think so. It was all free-range eggs and gluten-free everything, marbled beef, rolled oats, and fresh vegetables. No chips or chocolate that I could see. Whole wheat crackers were as nasty as it got in Deb's universe.
      Deb looked at the items that were now piled high in Maureen's cart. 'Are you planning a party that I don't know about?' she asked.
      'No. These are just the weeklies.' Maureen blushed. 'Pete and I both love our nibblies,' she said by way of explanation. 'So do the two boys. It's a footy thing.'
      Deb took that comment on board with not much more than a raised eyebrow. 'Dave's much the same, she said. 'I'm off to the deli section to lash out on some pancetta and Parmigiano reggiano. Uh... you should join me at the gym, Maureen. You'd love it. It's terrific fun.'
      'I'd like to Deb, really, but I'm so tied up with the kids and everything.'
      'Of course you are. No pressure.' Deb said. 'Always lovely to see you.'
      Deb scurried away. I wanted to follow her, wishing that I was her trolley rather than Maureen's.

      We finally did meat I think. It's all something of a blur now. Cheap mince and some fatty, reduced-to-clear chops as I recall. We even made it to the veggie section, but we didn't stay too long. Maureen grabbed a kilo of washed spuds, a carrot or three, and some white onions. Greens didn't get a look in. Shop done, she hauled me to the checkout.
      'Do you have Flybuys?'
      'Yes, I do.' Maureen offered the young man her card. 'I can never get this right.'
      'Let me swipe it for you... that's one hundred and five dollars and thirty cents.'
      Maureen brandished her debit card. 'Savings,' she said. 'No cash out,'
      'Would you like a receipt?'
      'Enjoy your day.' The next customer was greeted with a recycled smile. It was less than honest. 'Good morning, sir. Do you have Flybuys?'

      Maureen was a single bag user. I was dragged into the car park laden with her sugar-heavy purchases. I have a locking device on my wheels, so there was no way that I was going anywhere further, short of being vandalised. I noticed Maureen struggling to breathe as she loaded her shopping into her car, but I thought nothing of it at the time. I try not to get involved with my customers. Without any warning at all, she clutched at her chest and gurgled her way onto the tarmac. A heart attack. There was little that I could do. I'm a shopping trolley.
      I won't be stranded here. One of the boys will be along shortly to wheel me back into line. Wow. What a morning.



Straight up, I realise that there are language Differences with US and AUSSIE English. In OZ shopping carts are "trolleys" (and invariably impossible to control). Equally, Australia has adopted many US words and expressions, so "chips" and "crisps" are both valid as are "biscuits" and "cookies".
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