Supermarkets are annoying places at the best of times. Truth be told, I don’t want to be there. I am a master of the quick dash round – almost as if Dale Winton was timing me as I sought out inflatable tins of beans. This is why I don’t go shopping with my partner, who likes to browse and ensure that he buys products with the longest possible sell-by date. I don’t like ditherers, and I REALLY don’t like people who bump into a friend and then block the aisle while they catch up on inane chitchat.
In recent years a new annoyance has entered the marketplace – the charity bag packer. This is usually, in my experience, a teenager raising money for the scouts/a dance school/a sports club. When asked if I would like my bags packed for me by the fundraiser I always decline, and here’s why:
- I don’t think funding your hobby is really any of my business. If I’m going to give money away, then it will be for something important – like helping Palestinians or something. If you want to be one of Baden-Powell’s little proto-fascists then get on with it, if you want to dance then do it, but don’t expect me to subsidise it.
- I have a system for packing bags, and a child is not going to do it properly.
Once I’ve politely declined the offer of a youth stuffing my shopping in to bags willy-nilly, the fundraiser then continues to stand in the bag packing area, usually texting, sometimes just scowling at me, but always getting in the way. As far as I’m aware, this is my sacred consumer space, where I can order the bags for my very particular system of packing, but now there is someone stood there. Believe it or not, I’m too polite to tell them to fuck off; after all these are usually reasonable teenagers who have hobbies and are taking time out to do something positive. What we need is some charity bag-packing etiquette – if I say ‘no thanks’, then a retreat to a safe distance should follow, with the fundraiser returning once the next customer arrives. That’s not too much to ask is it? If I wanted a child to help pack my bags I would have stopped taking the pill fifteen years ago.