…and the General Obliviousness of Ottawa Shoppers
With Mom away in Arizona I seem to have become my grandmother's primary source of transportation. Every Friday I get a call asking if I'm free on Saturday to take her banking and to pick up a few groceries for the week. And if I'm lucky, that's all she asks for. Because she's quite old and slow, those two things alone take us nearly two hours to do. If she needs something from the drug store or the dollar store or Walmart on top of that, it's easily another hour and my Saturday is shot.
I shouldn't complain – I really am happy that I can help her out. I generally go for a visit anyway and this at least gives us something to do while we chat. No, what really bugs me about these shopping trips – the root of the problem – is that they have to be done on Saturdays.
As a general rule, Junkii and I try to avoid shopping on weekends. We do most of our shopping on weekday evenings, when the crowds are smaller. It's just less frustrating that way. Shopping with large crowds can be infuriating. Why, you ask? It's not the long line-ups that are frustrating, no. It's the general selfishnmess of the average consumer and the fact that they all seem utterly oblivious to the people around them.
Costco provides a perfect example. Costco is ALWAYS busy. More so on Saturday, but there's never a time when it's dead. So every time we go to Costco we wind up trapped among the cattle. Here, everyone has an XL shopping cart that they feel they must keep with them at all times.
- Looking at the produce? Keep your cart beside you – right in front of the bananas where every single shopper needs to be.
- Browsing through the DVDs? Park your cart in front of the new releases while you consider your purchase, just to keep others at bay.
- Leafing through a new book? don't place your cart off to the side, keep it in front of you so no one can reach the books
And if that weren't enough, people don't look where they're going at all when they're pushing a cart. They come ripping out of a side aisle without the slightest care in the world. Or they stand chatting at the end of an aisle, without a care in the world, blocking all who want to get by.
Some people get road rage, but for me it happens with shopping carts. It's enough to drive a man insane. Or at the very least, having recognized it, it's enough to keep a man conscious of his surroundings.
Now keep this in mind when you think of me escorting my grandmother through the aisles at Loblaws. Not only is she slow and bulky because of her walker and her fur coat – but she's totally self-centred, walking blindly down the centre of the aisle as people pile up behind her. And I can't say anything. She's my grandmother. I try to steer her as best I can – "Oh! The soda biscuits are over here. Come this way, Nana, and let that lady by." – but I can only do so much.
So mostly I just suffer in silence (except for this rant) and keep hoping her sons continue to help her get the rest of her shopping done during the week so I can just focus on keeping the Loblaws shoppers from killing her.
Or maybe I should just learn to be oblivious too.