Dancer on Aisle 8

By on March 19, 2020

Before a few months back, I never really liked shopping. I didn’t care for supermarkets and I rarely stocked up on supplies for my house. I survived on the buy-what-you-immediately-need lifestyle. I purchased what I needed exactly when I needed it. 

This meant that on many occasions I’d have to squeeze the life out of the toothpaste tube after suddenly realising the tube has run out and I am not keen on stepping out of the house at 6 am. Every now and again I would run out of sugar, salt, soap, cooking oil and just about anything simply because I had not stocked up. But somehow, I survived. If you are extremely single and no one likes you, there is a lot you can get away with.

Eventually, and with time,  I started to see a bit of reason in having supplies stashed away – for a rainy day. 

And I began to slowly stock up on things here and there. Instead of the usual half KG of sugar, I’d now have 3 KGs lying around in the house. I’d also have a dozen toilet rolls, 3 or 4 new toothpaste tubes, a tray of eggs, 2 or 3 bars of soap and plenty other things – like a responsible fella.

One can say the little miserly boy inside me was starting to grow into a man and was therefore becoming more reasonable.  One can also say I had started earning a bit more so I could afford to stock up for rainy days. Either way, I was no longer having panic attacks in the middle of the night after a toilet roll had run out and I needed to handle my business.

A lot has changed since then. Nowadays, I enjoy shopping quite a bit. I do most of my shopping on Saturday mornings. I actually wake up excited about the shopping, take stock of what I need to purchase, draw up a shopping list, struggle with what to add and what to remove and then head to the supermarket knowing what to buy and how much it will cost – again, like a responsible fella.

In the past I didn’t care much for where I did my shopping, mostly because all supermarkets appear pretty much the same to me. There is usually a kind and overly enthusiastic Etesot, Langi or Acholi gentleman at the entrance who will volunteer a wide smile as he welcomes you to the supermarket, with a deep and thick native accent. He will then proceed to do the mandatory security check and usher you in – smiling the whole time. As you enter, a lady with a name tag reading Grace or Hellen will ask if you’d like a trolley or just a basket. I usually go for the trolley because I tend to spend quite a bit of time in the Supermarket. Carrying around a basket for 34 minutes can wear you out. Yes, that’s how long I usually spend in the Supermarket. 

When I start to make my way towards the aisles, I’ll most likely head to the alcohol section first. For the strangest of reasons, I often find myself picking out 2 or 3 big bottles or cans of Guinness (I can’t seem to find them anywhere except in specific Supermarkets) plus a 750Ml bottle of Uganda Waragi (I have since found that they are cheaper in Supermarkets) and then proceeding with the rest of my shopping. Then I will head to the toiletries section, swing back and forth between other sections and finally wrap up with the fresh food section. This routine, I have adopted and stuck to like a catholic priest telling mass. 

Last weekend, I paid a visit to one of the fairly new supermarkets around town, Carrefour Supermarket, located at Oasis Mall. I didn’t know much about this supermarket until I walked in. First of all, most of the supermarkets I do my shopping from aren’t gigantic establishments with several aisles packed with endless items. Most of them aren’t that big and usually give you options for 2 or 3 brands of items. I entered Carrefour and bumped into a world of varieties – some of which I had never seen or heard of.

Any supermarket that plays beautiful music in the background as I do my shopping is going to make me spend a good chunk of time just toggling between aisles. And Carrefour had me humming away as I moved between the aisles. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a slave to music. No I can not sing, I just hum and mouth words – it is all I can manage. While doing my shopping at Carrefour, once or twice I caught myself getting lost in the music and just drifting between aisles, completely unaware that I wasn’t paying any attention to the items on the aisles but rather to the music. 

I am fully aware that a huge shopping complex like Carrefour has got all kinds of CCTV surveillance with well-paid security experts manning the machines all the time. But that did not stop me from breaking into a mini-dance or shuffle after looking left and right and seeing no one nearby. And quite lucky for me, Carrefour is a large supermarket so no matter how many people you may be in the Supermarket, you can always steal a moment or two to try out a modest MJ routine, with no one, except the security guys in the CCTV control room watching you. 

Shopping is okay when the prices in the supermarket are low. And this is what I live for – cheap prices. But it is pure heaven when there are all kinds of promotions going on. And this is where most of my time goes. As I moved around this huge establishment trying to look for items on my list, there were tagged and uniformed folks telling me about promotions on various items. As a person who lives for cheap alternatives, I ended up spending a lot more time in the supermarket than I had planned to because I was doing the maths. And after making several executive decisions, I ended up spending a lot less than I had anticipated. Which gave me the chance to revisit the alcohol section for a top-up. Do Not Judge me!

Shopping in the past was never really a fun thing for me partly because of families that ferried their entire households to the supermarket, as if for a family day out. Some kids are really decent and will quietly walk behind their parents, humbly asking if they can have Item A or Item B. Their parents will occasionally glance back to their offsprings and either nod or shake their heads. Everything happens with organised calmness.

And then there are those little rascals who will run around the establishment making all kinds of noise and throwing tantrums over denied toys or sweets. On the day I visited Carrefour, it was calm and for this, I was eternally relieved. Kids are generally a menace wherever they are. Bring them to the supermarket and they become absolute demons. Those little rascals will kick up a storm over a toy or tin of biscuits like it is the only thing standing between them and life. ‘

Since I don’t have any of my own yet, I am often left shaking my head and mentally offering advice to struggling parents,

“Have you thought about gagging him?” 

“But why don’t you just slap that one?” 

“I have a brand new belt you can borrow,”

“Lend me your child for 10 seconds so I can teach him a lesson,”

“Always carry a slipper in your bag,”

Of course I can’t openly offer this advice or I will end up locked up somewhere for child abuse. So I make sure the devil is locked up in my head while on the surface I smile and just look at the suffering parents nonchalantly. 

When I was doing my Shopping, there wasn’t any child drama. And it made me smile as I went about my shopping.

Right after I was done with enjoying the music and moving around the supermarket ticking off items on my list, I casually strolled to the counter to check out. And then I noticed that all the check out points were busy. They must have been 5 or 6 in total, all busy, but for some reason the line was moving quite fast. As it turned out, there were 2 or 3 people working at each check out point to make sure things moved fast. And as if they had trained for this job since they were 5, the guys who did the bagging haa a special skill set. They would pack your things in the shopping bag with tact and precision, it made you wonder why you thought you had a lot of shopping yet suddenly it could all fit in the shopping bag.

By the time I got home, I was humming along to a tune I heard in the supermarket and I was looking at my shopping list and wondering why I had not added a few more items since the prices were much cheaper than I had hoped.

The next time I head back to Carrefour Supermarket I’ll have two things with me; a longer shopping list and a new new dance move for the CCTV guys.

“One of the joys of shopping is browsing.” ― Steven Magee

a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
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Beewol - The Talkative Rocker