The dos and don’ts of last minute shopping

By 14:06

It wasn’t the best idea but I had to do some grocery shopping on Christmas Eve. Whilst I was there, I mentally put together this list of dos and don’ts to help you when shopping on one of the busiest days of the year.
Don’t do it: If it is at all possible, please avoid the Christmas rush by shopping way before festive season. Stay at home and spend time with your family. It is also a lot less stressful to shop in the New Year.
Do take a trolley from the parking lot: A rookie mistake that I made. Once you realise that there are no trolleys inside the store, you have to wait for trolleys to come through and there’s people of all sorts pushing through trying to grab a trolley as if it is rations of food being handed out during times of war.
Once you’ve gotten your trolley, everyone’s eager to squeeze through the generally tiny entrance of the grocery store. This is not Zimbabwe. The groceries are not going to run out. So don’t push your trolley into other people like you’re playing bumper cars or go-carting. I had the unfortunate incident of a woman pushing the trolley hard into me. I turned around and shot a look at the unapologetic woman. She did it again and once again I stopped to turn around. It’s not like you don’t know that you just bumped your trolley into someone’s ass...hard! I stopped and let her through and then as I was walking behind her, I gave her a taste of her own medicine. Harsh, I know, but how else will people know that it hurts and they shouldn’t do it to other people? She turned around and I gushed a seemingly sincere apology.
Do take someone with you when shopping. Not only will it help to keep you sane trying to manoeuvre through half of Durban packed into one store, it also helps with shopping strategies. I decided to let my mum do the shopping while I pushed the trolley behind her – often stopping in some quiet corner while she brought various items to me.
Please understand your, um, body size in comparison to others. With 68% of South Africans considered overweight, I don’t care whether it’s your ass, tummy or boobs that’s large, don’t push people out of the way with your weight!
Do try to be considerate of others when weaving through the un-orderly shopping nightmare. Pushing a trolley is pretty much like driving a car, at certain intersections, some motorists have right of way. If there’s a car in front of you, you wait for them to go through busy traffic because squeezing on the side of them while only do you car damage when you’re brushing the side of your against theirs. If you can’t fit through a gap, don’t do it. In fact, if you haven’t passed your driver’s licence test, perhaps you shouldn’t use a trolley when shopping. Hand baskets were meant for you.
The store is not filled with shoppers alone. Merchandisers work while the store is open, packing and neatening up the shelves so you can find what you need when you need it. That being said, when merchandisers are pushing through those bulk trolleys filled high with many heavy products, do let them through. It’s dangerous to be running around in front of them and also says that you’re a selfish person who thinks that the store is open solely for your shopping pleasure.
Do smile at others especially when saying “excuse me” or “sorry” or well just generally smiling. Frowns do not a Christmas spirit make.
When I finally got to the queue for the till, the queue was blocking the pathway of people needing to walk past. Do be courteous. I kept pushing my trolley out of the way for people to walk through and pushed it back in the queue once I could. Unlike the woman behind me, when I had progressed closer to the till, who just decided that she was in a queue and that was that. That then meant, nice old me had to move out of the way so that people to squeeze through to the other side.
Then there’s the dreaded encounter with the face of Checkers - the cashier. Customer service is clearly not taught at Checkers or if they did the cashier would smile, be friendly and maybe not stand with a bored expression on her face whilst not telling me why she’s just standing there waiting. Do complain about customer service. Perhaps the training manager, Jayindree Reddy, was not the best person to complain to (read: incompetent) and she didn’t do much when she came to the till to assist. It is because we have the culture of accepting bad service that it still goes on. There are a lot of unemployed South Africans who need a job and will be willing to take on the duties involved in a customer facing job for the salary on offer.
That, ladies and gentlemen, wraps up my experience. Hopefully this will help you when you find yourself needing to do some last minute shopping over really busy periods.

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