Note to self: Stay at home today

When I have the time and inclination (to waste time), I quite enjoy meandering through supermarket aisles – that’s typically also when I go in just to pick up some milk and apples, and come out with three big bags of stuff I didn’t know we “needed.” So I also sometimes get excited by the prospect of a new supermarket to explore, especially when I’ve heard rumours that it’s “amazing”, like some have said of the new SUPER Spar in the uber-chic new extension to the Cape Quarter.

It very soon became apparent to me that there is nothing amazing about this Spar. It is just like all the other Spars, just bigger, and because it is brand new, bordering on mind-numbing inefficiency. Some memorable moments:

1. Waiting 15 minutes for three people – none of whom looked at or spoke to me – to figure out how to weigh and label the portion of chicken curry I wanted (that was BEFORE realising that there were no lids to hand to close the container).

2. Checkout woman putting a piece of gingeron the scale and asking me if that “is garlic, right?”

3. Same checkout woman scanning beetroot sprouts and being confronted with the message that ITEM NOT FOUND on her machine, which she took to mean that “something” had gotten into the (already full) bag without having been scanned. We then had to unload all the scanned items to check that they had in fact been scanned before she cottoned onto the fact that ITEM NOT FOUND means that she had to manually input a barcode for the very last item to pass the scanner, ie. the beetroot sprouts.

4. During the re-checking procedure watching the same checkout woman unable to identify what the bill listed as “mint”. At the time, she happened to have her hand on a packet of

mint.

Restaurant reviewers often have a healthy policy of not visiting a new establishment in the first month or so of its opening, in order to give them a chance to iron out the kinks. I think this principle might be usefully applied to supermarkets too, but I can’t help wondering: if you are not ready to open (ie. if you haven’t made sure that all the machines are functioning and competent, including the human ones at checkout counters), then WHY OPEN?

I’ll be giving that “Super” Spar a wide berth from now on, and given my experience with morons driving Mercedes Benzes (ie. Kompressor Tossers) while talking on their cellphones on my way home, I think it best to give the whole outside world a big fat miss for the rest of today.

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