Thursday, 12 June 2014

The Joy Of Tesco

We all make bad decisions in life. Do things we later regret and then think "what the hell was I thinking?" Even I, from my lofty perch of 44 years life experience, am not immune.

Why did I do it? I don't know. Perhaps it was some moment of madness. Perhaps it was down to some deep-rooted psychological problem where I feel the need to punish myself for past sins, like a gambler pouring all his rent money into the roulette machine in the bookies. Perhaps it was just because I fancied some cheese flavoured Ritz crackers and I know Sainsbury's don't sell them. Who knows?

All I know is that for some reason, last Sunday morning as me and the boys were about to go into Sainsbury's to do our shopping I got some irrational urge to go into Tesco instead. Quite why I should want to do this, I don't know. After many bad experiences in the past with incorrect price labelling, rude staff and all the rest of it, you think I would have learned. Still, I thought, maybe it's changed. We'll give it a go.

The shopping itself went quite well. Despite Sainsbury's apparently heaving next door, Tesco was almost deserted. I also managed to procure for myself a number of items that were marked "Reduced To Clear". There seemed to be loads of these around the store. Everything was fine until we got to the checkout.

For some reason, nearly every checkout was manned yet it seemed I was the only one in any of the queues. You'd think they'd find something else for them to do, but there you go. There's a plus point - no need to queue. I chose the till with the least looking miserable person on it and she started scanning my shopping through. Now as you know I have two very lively little boys and as they often do they decided to spend the time while I was packing running around behind the tills, laughing and enjoying themselves.

If anyone who hates kids wants to come on at this point and slag me off for bad parenting feel free and I'll respond in kind. I've already had one idiot try and tell me I'm a bad parent this week just because I complained that the school had arranged an induction evening for parents of new starters in reception class at the exact same time as England's world cup game against Costa Rica. I had expected such a response on the status I put up - it's inevitable there will be some holier than thou comment. This meeting is not even for the children but purely to introduce new parents to the school and explain how things in reception class work. Which I already know as Ollie has already been there - but when I wrote it on facebook someone decided to comment on how much I value my children's education and general upbringing.

I thought of two possible responses to this comment. The first one was "Get a life". The second one was "Fuck off tosser". However I decided to write neither as the fellow is a rather sensitive soul and I wouldn't want to upset him so I opted for a little gentle sarcasm instead. Now I just need to find a way of stopping him reading this. And someone else as well come to that - perhaps I'd better put a sweetener in here before I continue. "The bakery in Tesco is lovely and so are all the people who work in it". There! That should cover it.

I've digressed. Back to the tills and the "bad parenting". I am very careful with my boys to ensure they are not endangering themselves so they have to behave themselves on the travellator in Sainsbury and they have to stay close by me and hold hands when shops and streets are busy and it it dangerous. In open spaces where there is little danger I allow them a little more freedom. You judge each situation as it comes as any parent will tell you.

So there they are having a little run around and one of the more senior cashiers (that's more polite than what I wanted to put, but there's no need to get personal) on one of the other tills decides to shout at them to stop it. What happens next? Two boys go from happy and having fun to bursting into tears. It's actually very hurtful for a small child to be shouted at in this way by a complete stranger. They were both completely traumatised. She was lucky I've been too busy to complain to head office, as I was thinking about it.

So I spend the next half an hour consoling them. Cheers Tesco. My own fault for going there I suppose. Before I left my cashier asked me for my Clubcard - I replied "There's no point - I won't be needing it anymore".

Then as we left, Ollie started crying even more. Apparently the woman had pulled a nasty face at him as he left. My parting shot was "Come on boys, we'll be doing our shopping at Sainsbury's from now on".

And so we have. We are now back over at our favourite store which as quite the friendliest staff I've ever encountered in a supermarket anywhere. I'm on first name terms with most of them and we just love going there. The place is a joy to shop in.

When I got home that day I was delighted to read in the business section of the paper what an awful time Tesco are having. Over 1.5% lopped off the market share and sales declining year on year. What a shame. It couldn't happen to a better retailer.

Ollie meanwhile spent all of Sunday going on about the "horrible lady" and how he was going to tell all his friends at school. Now normally I would attempt to discourage such behaviour but on this occasion I just thought "Good".

On a final note on the shopping front, I am planning to head up to Aldi at some point over the next day or so. They are now selling Wagyu steak can you believe! At £6.99/kg or something ridiculous which is about a tenth of what it costs in Harrods. Amazing stuff.

You'll be wondering how I'm finding time to write this blog, well after going over the finished manuscript for the third time, yesterday I sent it off to the proofreader for it's final checks. I have been working around the clock on it for the past few weeks, basically any time when I wasn't parenting, I was writing. This also accounts for my lack of activity on Facebook. However, now The Time Bubble is very close to launch. I am also excitedly waiting on the cover which is being designed by graphic design students at Brookes University and all being well, the book should be up and running on the Kindle within another couple of weeks. Just in time for my next interview on Radio Oxford on 27th June.

Jason xx

Jason Ayres is the writer of three humorous non-fiction books and new novel The Time Bubble, released June 2014. You can check out his profile on Amazon here:

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