Tagged supermarket

The Hunger Games

In the dystopian, post-apocalyptic nation of ‘Tesco’, Mumniss Evertired is chosen to compete in the Hunger Games. Participants (‘Tributes’) in the Games are selected from the ranks of parents who forgot to put in the online food shop order, and now have nothing in for tea. They must fight to the death to obtain the supermarket shop with toddlers in tow. The winning Tribute is rewarded by leaving the shop with actual food and the same number of children they entered with. The purpose of the Hunger Games is to provide entertainment for childless shoppers, and to punish parents for failing to conform to the system of the online shop.

At the start of the Games, Mumniss is introduced to her mentor, a past victor of the Games, and now a grandmother. The elderly mentor offers advice and guidance to Mumniss: ‘You’ve got your hands full!’ Tributes recognise the importance of collecting free fruit at the start of the Games, to provide as gifts to placate the toddlers as the Games progress. The toddlers must not leave the shopping trolley at any point. Certain doom awaits any Tribute whose toddlers succeed in escaping the confines of the trolleys.

As the Games begin, many Tributes do not survive the first aisle. Their toddlers declare that they now hate apples, oranges and bananas, and throw themselves on the floor, refusing to proceed unless they are allowed to eat cheesecake in the trolley instead. With these weakest Tributes dying of shame, Mumniss, and the other Tributes who succeeded in this first challenge of pleasing the toddlers with offers of free apples, proceed into the dangerous territory of the ‘chilly, too cold, don’t like it, I’M COOOOOLLD’ aisles. Mumniss successfully navigates this treacherous terrain by employing the dual strategies of bribing the toddlers with promises of toys, and declaring the entire family to now be vegans, thus allowing virtually the whole chilled foods section to be skipped.

Mumniss makes a near fatal strategic error in moving too swiftly to the bribery portion of the Games, providing the toddlers with toys and treats with well over half the contest still remaining. Mumniss faces disaster in the lentils and pulses aisle (vegans now), when it becomes apparent there is nowhere left to go in the bribery stakes but to offer the toddlers a car in exchange for their compliance. Mumniss realises that survival in the Hunger Games requires backstabbing ruthlessness. Promise whatever you have to, with no intention of keeping that promise.

Tributes form alliances with each other, but these are treacherous and short lived. It is each mum for herself. Tributes quickly realise that a major meltdown from another Tribute’s toddlers can stun your own into much needed submission. There are gains to be made from selling out your fellow contestants and encouraging tantrums amongst their offspring. By this stage, all the Tributes are battle hardened. They step over the bodies of their fallen comrades in the crisps aisle.

The most dangerous time is yet to come for Mumniss. She must navigate the sweets and chocolate aisle. Here Mumniss goes rogue. She makes a controversial decision to take the path of least resistance, and throws packets of sweets and chocolate (not THAT vegan) at the surprised toddlers before they can even begin to organise a sustained attack of whining. It’s a calculated risk. The move will be unpopular with the Heads of the Games. Tributes are supposed to maintain an organic, superfoods trolley throughout. Mumniss just wants to reach the tills.

The tills are in sight and Mumniss has almost made it. Only one other Tribute remains. As they race to the checkout, the cruel and callous Game Heads have one last trick. They release wild toddlers into the shop. As the feral infants tear through the aisles, grabbing items from the shelves with abandon, Mumniss desperately tries to prevent her own toddlers from joining them. She sees her last chance and seizes it: ‘If you just sit down and be quiet, you can go on Gaston the Ladybird when we’ve got through the checkout!’ Mumniss holds her breath. There is silence. First one toddler, then the other, sits down. The other Tribute has failed. He is knocked to his knees as his own children race to join the wild beasts in the magazine aisle. Mumniss throws her shopping onto the conveyor belt.

Mumniss is crowned the winner of the 3824518954th Hunger Games. She can return to her now vegan home. But the Games continue. There are always parents who forgot to do the online shop.

May the odds be ever in your favour.

 
 
 
 

This Mum's Life

 
 
 
 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

How (Not) to Do the Supermarket With Toddlers

retail-1424043_1920Planning on navigating the supermarket with multiple toddlers? Read this handy guide first to ensure that you do not do it wrong. It would be embarrassing to do it wrong.

1. Be on foot with the pushchair, ensuring a trolley cannot be obtained. Pick up a basket.

2. Both toddlers will want to come out of the pushchair. This is not viable. Choose between two crying toddlers in the pushchair, or one crying toddler in the pushchair and one running free in the supermarket. In the latter case, there will still be two people crying, but the other one will be you.

3. If you have allowed one toddler to walk, spend a considerable amount of time explaining that she cannot carry a basket that is only marginally smaller than she is. She will be unable to grasp this concept. Hand her the basket in order to let her learn for herself. She will still be unable to grasp the concept. Pick up toddler from floor and untangle her from basket.

4. Realise that the pushchair containing the remaining toddler has been left within reach of the shelves. Remove five packets of fish food from toddler’s lap. Explain to now screaming toddler that the fish food was not biccys. Additionally explain – to even louder screams – that, no, she can’t get out of the pushchair.

5. Tell the free toddler to put down what she has picked up from the shelves whilst fish food was being removed from the captive toddler. Tell her that this instruction was not to enable her to have her hands free to pick something up from the next shelf.

6. Attempt to begin the actual shopping. Abandon it when the free toddler makes a break down the aisle. Attempt to catch the runaway toddler despite being hindered by running with a pushchair. Briefly consider whether leaving the pushchair in order to chase the now vanished running toddler would be acceptable. How likely is it that anyone would take the toddler in the chair? Appraise her. She is howling and trying to eat fish food. Conclude that it is probably not very likely, but that, having already misplaced one toddler, the correct protocol is certainly to keep hold of the one you still have. To misquote Oscar Wilde: ‘To lose one toddler may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.’

7. Catch errant toddler and threaten her with pushchair if she tries to run off again. The toddler will be unable to hear this threat as she is too busy running off again.

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7. At this point, there are two options. The first is to force the runaway toddler into the pushchair, where she will join her sibling in howling. This will cause you to consider abandoning the shopping. But you really do need milk. The second is to create a ‘fun’ (and time consuming) game, involving the toddler searching for the shopping items and putting them in the basket. This will cause you to consider abandoning the shopping. But you really do need milk.

9. Juggling an increasingly heavy basket, a pushchair and an out of control toddler, contemplate how far away the milk, situated at the far end of the shop, is. Realise that, having made it to the milk, the entire length of the shop has to be navigated again to reach the tills. Decide that you do not really need milk. Head for the tills. Realise that nothing in your basket is as important as the milk you have decided not to bother to get, and therefore the whole shop could have been skipped. Nonetheless, having come this far, you are now buying the damn shopping. Except milk. Nothing is worth going to the other end of the shop.

10. Begin scanning items at the self service checkout. There will be a delay caused by an unexpected toddler in the bagging area. You will wonder why this is unexpected to the bagging area. It is quite predictable. It happens every time. The bagging area has a short memory. Wrestle toddler from bagging area into pushchair. Assure other toddler that she is not now getting out instead. Placate both for this injustice with promises of biccys/fish food as soon as the shopping is paid for.