Shopping. It’s a word and an action I try to avoid. Well, no, to be honest, it’s a concept I try to avoid. Ask my wife; she will tell you how much I hate shopping. Buying clothes is, for me, the ultimate in horror situations. I have a mild [insert: severe] fear of spiders. But I would happily sit down to tea with a South American bird-eating tarantula, if it would get me out of going shopping for a new shirt.
When I have to go shopping with Missy, there is a whole new level of pain added. Children cannot resist the urge to touch. It’s too strong. I suspect it’s genetically programmed. Little hands and mouths need to experience the world around them, touching and tasting everything within reach; but that does not make it any less annoying.
Missy walks around the shop, picking up things she is sure we need. Not things we actually need, like bread and milk – she thinks, for some reason, I should be buying products like a kilo of dried shrimp paste, or 10kg of dog food. (Note: we do not own a dog). I suspect she is impulse shopping! Now, that would be ok, if we were in the confectionary section, but she seems to be well behaved till we start down the aisle that contains bits of animals not intended for human consumption (art least, not by me), or the aisle of things we clearly don’t want, (like kitty litter: we don’t own a cat, either).
I guess I should be mildly happy; Missy doesn’t generally drop things, so there is rarely a time when I have to present a broken bottle of margarita mix at the checkout for payment. I have, however, had the character building experience of not noticing the adult diapers being slipped into the trolley. The look of pity you get from the checkout girl is quite confronting. It’s also a long walk back to return them.
But, like all things, if you turn it into a game, it makes a vast difference. Missy is learning to put things back, and as long as a few things can go in the basket, she seems reasonably happy. As well, I discovered a talent I had no idea I had. I can swoop into the trolley, scoop out the men’s styling gel, and have it back on the shelf while little hands are busy inspecting the condom section. So products, preserves and unwanted pet food can happily be ‘bought’ and pleasingly returned, all before the checkout is reached. I suppose Missy will eventually realize this Tardis like basket has a sinister habit of losing her purchases, but for now, it works.
I also realized quickly that, Lex Luthor style, it is quite easy to use her powers for evil, rather than good. And so Missy and I turn up at home on occasion, with a shopping bag full of crisps and beer. “Sorry Darling, Missy insisted on buying them”. Yep, the wife doesn’t believe me either.