I used to love supermarkets, especially when my main job was writing comedy. It is a great place to observe people – people of all ages, people from various backgrounds, people with wonderful individual traits and foibles – and they rarely know they are being watched. They are also adequate places to obtain food.
These days there’s isn’t the same thrill watching a stressed mother totally lose it with her little Damien or the pensioners pottering about, sampling the grapes and complaining about the price of bananas or bright-eyed Nicole at the checkout with a wide smile above the love bites on her neck. You see, supermarkets have become a tad daunting.
Again, it is probably related to the MS symptoms of losing short-term memory and concentration. Somehow, when you are down an aisle, you don’t see the individual products or brands, it’s more like being confronted with a wall of food. And if you don’t go armed with a list, you inevitably return home without something. And the cat hates not being fed.
I used to have a terrific memory. In fact I could ‘memorise’ a pack of cards in order – that’s more a trick than a total memory thing and I could use a similar memory trick to go to the shops and bring back up to around 80 items if required. These days I take a list if the number of required items exceeds two.
A few supermarket things I have found handy:
- Only go to ones you are familiar with. You will already know where the fruit and veggie, frozen food, meat sections etc are so the trolley will sort of lead you. An unfamiliar supermarket can be just plain scary.
- Don’t go on pension day (every second Thursday).
- Try to find a time that is less crowded so the queues aren’t as long, the aisles not as busy and there’s less distracting noise.
- Use a trolley, even for a few items – it is a good walking frame and prevents fatigue.
- Don’t be swayed into the self-checkout area – it’s far too stressful and fiddly having to ‘beep’ your own items and muck around with the payment and change bit (not just feeding in the notes, but all that hunting around to pick up the change you dropped!). And if we all do our bit to avoid such automation, the more checkout attendants will keep their jobs! I can handle ATMs and self-serve petrol because that’s convenient for me – but finding the right photo to distinguish coriander from parsley is just downright irritating.
And, if you would like to find out how to ‘memorise’ a deck of cards, drop me an email. It does take a couple of days ‘practice’ but can be a lot of fun!
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