I had completely forgotten, during the Lockdown, the Delights of Shopping.
No, I haven’t been queueing outside Primark
or battling my way into JD Sports; in fact I have only so far ventured to the shops in The Strand, five minutes from home, except for one short foray to the Giant Tesco’s, which caused me so much confusion that I almost forgot to return my shopping trolley
and reclaim my pound coin.
Over the last 100 days of Splendid Isolation, I have relied on several wonderful people to shop for me. There was the Lovely Kay who,
unable to look after my house for me, took charge of my fridge and larder instead, keeping them well-stocked against almost every eventuality. Then there was Ever Reliable Ian who would phone every few days to ask if I needed him to run any errands. Oh, the
prescriptions he has collected for me, the parcels he has posted for me! The Delightful Donna who helps me look after Mr B, was always willing to bring in a loaf of bread, should I have eaten too much toast over the course of the previous day, or to call in
at Boots when we have run out of something Mr B needs. Nor must I forget the ever-cheerful Ocado delivery driver (other companies will surely deliver equally cheerfully for you) once the initial on-line rush of new customers had subsided.
I have grown accustomed to planning our meals for the week, making lists and accepting the inevitable times when not everything on my list was available on the shelves. I have, indeed,
saved quite a lot of money over the last three months as a result and I will always be truly grateful to my Trusty Shoppers.
Now I am back in the World of
Retail and, as well as growing extremely lazy, I had completely forgotten the pleasures of the shopping experience. It’s not that I am now able to choose my own bananas, or to watch a packet of sultana scones leap, unbidden, into my shopping basket
from the top shelf of the Co-op’s bakery section. No, it’s the random conversations I have so sorely missed.
On my very first foray, here is a selection
of delightful socially distanced Conversations I Have Enjoyed...
1. The shop assistant in the newsagents told me how impressed he was that I had managed to locate
a bag of fruit pastilles. Apparently he had been asked by several customers before me where they could find fruit pastilles and had been unable to help. He had surmised that said sweeties must be out of stock until I turned up at the till with a bag in one
hand and a pound coin in the other. I explained that fruit pastilles are Mr B’s current favourite and I can sniff them out wherever they may be. I think he was impressed with my Sniffer Dog Act.
2. I met an elderly woman who was standing outside a charity shop with several bags of unwanted items, studying the notices in the shop windows for information as to when the shop might re-open. I told her all about the Loft
Clearance Project (it was an abridged version of the tale, I wouldn’t have bored her with every detail) and how the back seat of my car was now completely taken up with books and clothes bound for one of several charity shops I like to support. She told
me all about her poor husband who had “passed” and how she wanted his clothes to go to help someone in need, especially the jumper which she bought him for his last birthday and which he had never had the chance to wear. We had a bit of a weep
together. I rather wished I hadn’t gone on at such length about the Loft Clearance Project, in the circumstances, but she didn’t seem to mind.
had a little bit of trouble socially distancing myself from a small dog trying to avoid being taken into the new vets surgery. His owner managed to pull him / her away from my trouser legs and we exchanged views about the difficulties of getting some pooches
to obey orders. I managed to carry on my side of this conversation pretty well, considering I am not a pet owner myself. However I did have my experiences with Mr B at his most stubborn to call upon and I am pretty sure I got away with it.
So there you have it - the Delights of the Shopping Trip. How I have missed it all. The chat! The randomness of the everyday life of others!