Our supermarket has had a makeover. The car park is fantastic. An entire level for blue badge holders (which, given the battle anyone has to park within a mile of our market must be a godsend for those less sprightly on their pins) AND there are always spaces!
Incredible, remarkable. But it may have something to do with the fact that you can’t find a bloody thing in the shop any more. If you can find the shop at all. The lifts have been reversed and you’ll see many a confused shopper (yes all right, me) stuck in the lift staring hopefully at closed doors while a trick-or-treat set opens and closes behind them. When you park the signage tells you that you are on level G+1. There’s a level G+2 and a level G-1 as well, but the buttons in the lift do not correspond with any of that (the stickers which the staff helpfully sellotaped up failed to stick). So your hallelujah joy at escaping the lift is short lived when you discover you have arrived at a floor which doesn’t exist, and you can’t even remember which town you are in any more.
Now I could be accused of being change averse, but don’t get me started on the shop’s new lay-out. In our uber-quaint market town, cafes and tea rooms are three a penny. There isn’t a combination of hot drink plus calories which you can’t locate within seconds of arrival. So why oh why did our town centre supermarket think it was necessary to add not one, not two, but three areas inside their shop where you can now get a coffee?
You fall over the queue for the first one as soon as you walk in. A coffee machine wedged conveniently (not) between Customer Service and Quick-Check hand-set collection. Slow quick-check hand-set collection (sounds like a line from Strictly Come Dancing.) Very slow shop, because nothing is where it used to be. Trip over second cafe in the bakery section, notice the seated diners judging as you try to buy cake covertly.
I fear there is a clash of customer versus marketing going on here. Me, I just want to do a grocery hit and run. Marketing wants me to be distracted by all the fripperies they have on offer. They succeeded in distracting me (before I got out of the lift) and they have well and truly slowed me down. Too many special offers for a befuddled brain to cope with…six for five, three for two…or a baker’s dozen and a cappuccino? Four backtracks to hunt out items I’ve missed and I still turf up at the ‘quick-check’ (note ironic inverted commas) with less than half of my shopping.
Cafe three, I see what they’re doing. You do actually need pit-stops to break up this ordeal. And…a security check. The final insult to prove it would have been quicker to grow the groceries myself. I remind myself to be polite. It isn’t the shop assistant’s fault, and given my now total confusion there is actually a very good chance that I’ve stolen something…three for two, seven for six, one for nothing? I smile at her sweetly, I may need her in a forgiving mood before this shopping trip gets a whole lot worse.
As it is, I’m out! Now I just need to find the bloody car. And breathe.