‘On The Couch’ With Jasminda




DEAR Jasminda,

Yesterday I was waiting in a long queue at the supermarket with about 20 items.

One of the staff members told me to go to the express aisle, which I did.

Within minutes, however, several people with less than 12 items started queuing behind me, giving me nasty looks.

How do you negotiate this?

Mrs Petra L.

Dear Petra,

I don’t have a lot of daytime shopping experience.

I try to purchase my groceries right before closing time.

It is an absolute pleasure to shop at this time — well, it would be if they lowered the lighting and changed the music — no aimless shoppers wandering around like extras in Dawn of the Dead, no screaming toddlers and definitely no queues.

However, I have been placed in the predicament you describe, and it is very uncomfortable. Particularly, when the people behind you are passive aggressive.

It starts with a few loud sighs and then extends to narky little comments muttered under their breath – ‘Can’t she read?’; ‘Can’t she count?’

Honestly, one starts to feel as though one is auditioning for a spot in a prestigious day care centre.

You just have to stand your ground, or maybe hide smaller items like soap under your Chinese cabbage to confuse the angry mob.

Added to this issue is the dual function of this aisle. It is also the service desk and the smokes counter.

You have to spare a thought for the attendant who is negotiating customers with nicotine withdrawals, those cashing in Return and Earn receipts, someone wanting a replacement for a below-par avocado and dealing with the growing fracas in the 12-items-or-less queue.

Petra, may I recommend that you just stand your ground and avoid eye contact.

When you finally do get served, you can return serve with your own comments: ‘Oh, I realise I have more than 12 items, but your lovely colleague told me to come to this aisle.

What outstanding customer service.

It seems strange to me that you have at least eight registers closed, but who am I to argue?

It must be a bit frustrating to those behind me, but that’s what I love about this little community.

People are just so accommodating and understanding.’

As you leave, wish your fellow shoppers a lovely day and carry on as normal, your 20 items evenly balanced between your two calico bags with their ‘Just be Kind’ logo.

Carpe diem, Jasminda.

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