Wheeling it in the aisles

By: Brian Rogers brian@thesun.co.nz

Brian Rogers
Rogers Rabbits

With Rogers currently sidelined for repairs, we thought we’d delve into the archives and revisit one of the classics. This beauty is from 2010.

It seems there’s a tonne of you out there in supermarket aisles enraged at the apparent lack of commonsense and common courtesy among your fellow trolley pilots.

Here is a guide to the type of drivers you are likely to encounter.

There are distinctive driving styles:

1. The Speed Freak.

Just as a shark must keep moving to keep a flow of water over its gills, the speedster is compelled to ‘floor it’. Grabs items while maintaining minimum cruise speed of Mach3.

Would rather make a second high-speed pass than slow down or stop.

Identifiable by sonic boom in frozen goods, blurred appearance, hair blow back, white knuckles, and distorted facial expressions due to G Forces while cornering around aisle ends.

No. 1

2. The Slow Coach, Lane-hogging ditherer:

The bane of all supermarkets.

They are indecisive, stop mid-aisle to read all the small print and check for expiry dates, specials, calculate whether to buy two small packs or one large one; search for country of origin, traces of nuts, broken seals, and run their fingers along the shelves, suspecting dust. Always park their trolleys mid-aisle, sideways, sometimes rolling backwards.

These people also comprise 99.8 per cent of all time-wasting price-check situations at the checkout. They often drive motorcaravans and vote for Winston.

No. 2

3. The Elbow Leaner.

More than 98 per cent of these are bored males. Seemingly unable to support their own weight, or possibly on the verge of unconsciousness, their elbows sink to the handlebars, leaving their rears in danger of exposing significant builder’s crack.

Not an issue until he arrives at the checkout and the half-blind old biddy behind gets confused when asked to swipe her card and sticks it in the wrong slot.

No. 3 and two No. 6’s

4. The Upstream Swimmer:

There’s always one that goes against the grain, travelling the opposite direction to the majority of other traffic. Collisions are frequent and devastating.

In the unlikely event of them ever reaching the top of the aisle, they will spawn and die.

5. “My Trolley’s possessed”.

This person believes that a mysterious force has taken control of the trolley, making it impossible to steer.

In reality, this is actually caused by:
a) faulty front wheels
b) Uneven load distribution
c) toddler body parts jammed under
rear wheel
d) It’s under the undetected influence of...

6. The Compulsive Course Re-Adjuster:

This person has serious control issues.

Usually female. Even though they are not the primary propellant of the trolley, they subconsciously cannot trust the nominated trolley driver (usually male, elbows on handlebars as per No.3) to steer correctly.

The Compulsive Course Re-Adjuster messes with the trolley trajectory with lateral interference at the front end or one side. Often associated with a mother/son configuration, can also apply to dominating female/long-suffering-male scenarios.

It leaves the hapless primary driver no longer in charge of his own destiny, merely a forward propulsion system with little directional capability and not credited with the ability to decide and execute satisfactory navigation. He will eventually need psychological counselling if subjected to such prolonged abuse. Often identifiable by a small public outburst near the fruit and vege section, along the lines of: “Why don’t you just drive the **** thing yourself then?”

7. The Skate-And-Ride.

Often identifiable by Metallica tee shirt. This shopper thinks of the trolley as a giant skateboard and feels compelled to get it up to high speed by scooting with one foot then jumping fully aboard for a brief but satisfying glide.

Usually ends in tears. Or a pile up in the canned tomato sauce section. Often found in A&E with spinal injuries or having items of vegetable surgically removed from body orifices.

8. The Ghost Trolley:

A seemingly innocent, unattended trolley parked to the side. Some say it’s the shelf stocker’s. But we all know it’s the haunted vehicle of an unfortunate Elbow Leaner that got so bored he ended it all in the dried fruit and nuts section.

9. Ditch-And-Run.

This person is too busy or lazy to return the trolley to the designated trolley collection points. Oddly enough, they took an hour of the day to drive to the gym, but don’t have the energy to walk another 20m to return the trolley.

Identifiable by gym outfit, RAV double parked in disabled space, self-important look and a plastic sipper bottle.

10. The Screaming Parent/Ratbag Kids team:

Not a real family unit at all, but a subversive team of professionals sent to the supermarket by rival chains to try to disrupt the pleasant shopping environment of the competition store. Their mission is to drive you mad with whining, crying, unruly behaviour to drive shoppers away from that supermarket to another. These highly-trained operatives are so obnoxious they couldn’t possibly be real people. Recruited from the ranks of failed Al Qaeda applicants.

No. 10