By Kenny Macaulay, recently retired priest of St Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Dumbarton High Street.
A warning to all: avoid using A certain supermarket in Ayr at the moment if you can.
I’ve just got back from a truly awful shopping trip there.
Having queued up, patiently and socially distancing, as I neared the entrance a shop worker clipped a carabena onto the belt loop of my jeans, my perplexed expression must have said it all as she explained that whilst people are distancing in the queue outside, they aren’t distancing once inside the store.
So what some Donut has dreamt up is to rope six or so customers together with 2m of rope between each of us.
Well these are strange times and with the threat of a second wave of infection I thought I’d best not complain and just tow the line (so to speak).
I’m telling you now, what an absolutely idiotic idea this is. We’ve negotiated our way in to the store, some with trolleys and others trying to grab a basket before the berserk conga line drags them away.
I’m was near the middle of the rope picking up some veg, the woman at the front, who was trussed up like a kid in a harness was trying to drag the whole line to the apples and the bloke at the back trying to pull the other way to get his hands on last weeks courgettes which were now this weeks courgette offer. It was like tug-of-war for the deranged.
It’s embarrassing to say, but I lost it, started ranting and raving about the rope and how the hell are people meant to shop like this, I went to unclip the carabena which miraculously brought the attention of the staff who told me I’d be asked to leave the shop if I unclipped. “FFS we’re not rock climbing, we’re trying to buy cheese” are words which I’ll carry with me to my grave.
Strangely this outburst had the effect of bringing our train together as a team.
We carried on now with lots of communication, people passing stuff along the line to other to fill their baskets. Now I know passing things to one another could spread the infection as much as person to person contact but I honestly think if we hadn’t of done, I’d still be there now.
As we started along the aisle I generally refer to as “biscuits and creosote”, it was clear from the melee that all was not well in the adjacent aisle. As far as I could tell there had been two trains of people and a lady in the middle of one chain had ducked under the other to get her hands on a pop-art cat bed. The tangle had resulted in a multi-pedestrian pile up in which the epicentre resembled the deity Durga, it wasn’t clear how long they’d been there but one old chap was trying to free himself by feverishly sawing at the rope with his house keys.
We navigated the remaining aisles without major trauma, other than having to rescue Sadie (2nd in line) after she fell in the chest freezer trying to reach the last beef Wellington. We were individually unclipped prior to the till, at which point any camaraderie we’d had quickly evaporated as everyone scrambled for the first available till.
With the ordeal still impeding rational thought, it was a welcome and familiar sight to have the checkout throw all my shopping on the floor in the normal 1000 mph fashion. I really did not appreciate being strung along like that, but I hope you did.
I don’t think I’ll be going back there in a hurry,
And if you really want to be entertained, wait for the comments from those who don’t read the whole thing!
* The supermarket in the photograph above was NOT the one where this incident happened. Ed