White lines and massive kites. My guide to supermarket etiquette. Part one. The Car Park.

I’m not a supermarket snob, I’m as comfortable in Aldi as I am in Waitrose. One might be posh frocks and fancy pants and the other pockmarks and farty pants but that doesn’t mean etiquette standards should slip. The rules are the same wherever you shop.

I’m not going to tell you where to shop, that’s personal preference. I’m not going to judge; unless you do all your food shopping at Marksies then I’m going to assume you are 93 years old and almost certainly a shoplifter.

As a regular part of most of our lives, I think it is about time I guided through the dos and don’ts of supermarket behaviour.

The Car Park

It’s difficult not to stray into well-worn territory when writing about supermarket parking. There’s a lot of easily identifiable hate figures but I’ll try and stick to the basics.

The simplest thing to remember is that you are going to be wandering around a supermarket, potentially for hours depending on who you are with. The distance from your car to the supermarket entrance is nothing compared to the distance you will cover inside. Why get fixated on getting as close to the door as possible?

Fighting over spaces, parking illegally, leaving your car in the most prominent place for ‘accidental’ trolley damage. It’s not worth the stress. Relieve yourself of this burden and park in a quiet part of the car park.

This way you can saunter into the supermarket relaxed and carefree, much like myself, ready to face the hell that lies within.

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There are spaces closer to the door reserved for disabled patrons and parents with children; I understand their need and have no problem with it. Just for clarification, a hangover is not a disability and someone in their forties turning up at Sainsbury’s with their twenty-year-old daughter is not entitled to a parent and child parking space. Being twenty-five clem and having a massive kite is not the same as being pregnant so you get no dispensation.

Come to think of it, being pregnant doesn’t give you any dispensation, that’s on buses and trains where people should give up their seat. I’ve made a new rule, if you see someone pregnant driving, give up your parking space.

On second thoughts, scrap that. It may just be someone twenty-five clem with a massive kite.

It appears that I have stumbled into an etiquette minefield so I shall move swiftly on.

Talking about moving swiftly, the supermarket car park is not a race track. As tedious as Formula One is and as much as I compare it to cars driving around Tesco’s car park, this does not give you the right to tear around in your Corsa like you are Lewis Hamilton.

Unless you are Grandmaster Melle Mel you shouldn’t be ignoring white lines. Try parking in between them. This isn’t a suggestion or a guide, it is a rule. If you are unable to do this I suggest getting the bus.

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Cars aren’t the only four wheeled vehicles in the car park. Trollies are a constant menace but as people keep on claiming about ‘Devil Dogs’, there are no bad trollies, just bad owners.

‘They have a mind of their own’ is the defence of the simpleton. It’s a trolley, made of metal and rubber; it has a mind of its own about as much as the average Big Brother contestant. You don’t have to be the Trolley Whisperer to tame one, just point it in the direction it needs to go and push. If you can’t see where you are going due to too much beer or cake in your trolley, then you need to consider your life choices.

If you are a little bit dim and somehow manage to guide your trolley into somebody’s car, own up. Similarly, if ‘the wind catches’ your door and you slam it into someone else’s or you reverse like Mr Magoo, honesty is your only option.

If you are someone who carries a token to use in supermarket trollies, I am putting you on the same register as people who wear Reactolite glasses and those who have chips on a Full English. They cost more than a pound for Christ’s sake. ‘I always carry it round so I have something for the trolley’ is their feeble excuse. Why not try carrying around something more appropriate? Like a pound coin for instance.

In the only piece of acceptable social cleansing in history, the Royal Mint have decided to replace the current pound coin with a twelve sided one rendering all the trolley tokens useless; much like their owners. Poor buggers will probably starve to death now.

Finally, if you have managed to get back to your car without causing carnage with your trolley, please return to the relevant place. Don’t just abandon it. If the trolley shelter is full, don’t just add to it and have the line of trollies snaking out into the road. Walk to the next shelter, you fat, lazy oaf.

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I hope this blog has been of use. Next time I will be tackling how to behave once you cross the threshold and end up in the Supermarket itself.


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