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Supermarket woes

Bloor

Member
This morning I was in a supermarket checkout queue with my noise-cancelling headphones clamped to my head and Can's 'Tago Mago' album (I rare diversion from my regular shopping trip album, Emma Ruth Rundle's 'Engine of Hell') doing a great job of calming the sensory hell that is my weekly shopping trip.

There were a couple of people in front of me and, if I joined the queue directly at the rear, I would have been partially blocking the aisle. So, I parked my trolley perpendicular to the last person (there were no checkouts open in the direction I had queued so I wasn't blocking them). A lady joined my queue, but rather than going behind me she stopped behind the person in front of me, messing up the line of the queue and completely blocked the aisle (and yes, it was obvious that I was in the queue).

After a few minutes, I noticed the man in front of me trying to get my attention. Reluctantly, I pulled my headphones off of one ear so I could hear him and he said that the woman behind me wanted to talk to me. I turned to her and she asked "Can I leave my trolley here as I forgot something?". I replied "I wouldn't leave it there as it's blocking the aisle but I'm not a member of staff". She looked confused and I was confused so I put my headphones back on. After a minute I saw the man in front take her trolley and move it to the side where it was out of the way and she left to get whatever she forgot. Only then did I realise that when she said "Can I leave my trolley here?" she actually meant "Can you look after my trolley?".

I felt like an idiot. I do, however, recommend both Emma Ruth Rundle's 'Engine of Hell' (both the studio and 'Live at Roadburn' versions are excellent) or Can's 'Tago Mago' for any music lover's supermarket shopping trips.
 

kriss72

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Just shows we need people to be explicit when communicating with us - I have done that many times, later realizing, ohh... that was what they meant... I understand what people say, not what they mean :) - You did fine, and the whole checkout thing is really a challenge in the first place. I'm trying to get better at asking when people say something I think is a bit strange, just to be sure I understand them.
 

Misty Avich

I prefer not to be referred to as autistic
V.I.P Member
I can imagine how awkward that might have been. Hopefully nobody thought anything bad of you, although I understand how embarrassing it can be for you, no matter what the others involved were thinking.

I remember one time I was waiting in a bus station for the bus home, and a couple who were standing near me also waiting for the same bus said, "I recognise you, you were on this bus this morning from [the name of my hometown]". I looked at them and said "yeah", and was about to say more* but then thought better of it, so I just stood there staring at them with a weird grin on my face. I could see they suddenly thought I was a bit simple or something, and they gave me an odd look then turned away.
I felt like banging my head on the wall in exasperation with myself for social failure.

*What I was going to say was "oh were you on the same bus?" but thought that would be a stupid question because obviously of course they were on the same bus otherwise they wouldn't have recognised me from the bus ride. So that was why I didn't ask, but I didn't have anything else to say, so that's why I stood there awkwardly grinning at them. Ugh, I hate myself.

I don't do well with strangers.
 
Last edited:

Mary Terry

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
The last time I had supermarket woe was when I dropped a gallon of milk while trying to put it on the self-checkout conveyor belt and it ran all over the floor in every direction. Holy Cow! I was embarrassed by my clumsiness.
 

Misty Avich

I prefer not to be referred to as autistic
V.I.P Member
Oh, the incident in the OP also reminds me of a time when I was at school. It was the first day of the new term, and the new little kids that had joined the school didn't know if they were allowed on the play equipment or not (maybe at their old school only children of a certain age might have been allowed on certain play equipment or something). So one of them politely asked me if they were allowed to play on there. I wasn't really expecting them to ask me, so it took me a few seconds to process what they were asking, then I quickly realised and said, "yeah, you can go on anything you like."
But I said it too awkwardly and quietly, so they lost interest in me straight away and went to ask someone else, probably thinking I was stupid.
 

Misty Avich

I prefer not to be referred to as autistic
V.I.P Member
The last time I had supermarket woe was when I dropped a gallon of milk while trying to put it on the self-checkout conveyor belt and it ran all over the floor in every direction. Holy Cow! I was embarrassed by my clumsiness.
Oh yes I've seen that happen before. This couple had dropped a bottle of red wine and it went everywhere, looking like a murder scene. I could see the couple felt embarrassed.
 

kriss72

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
I remember once I stood at the service desk with JJ - we had some question/complaint that took them a while to process - then one of the staff asked us if we would like to step to the side waiting (we didn't realize we were blocking the exit for people who don't want to buy anything), so we just answered, "no, we are happy standing here" getting a wired look, and a the question repeated, until the guy realized we didn't get a hint, and he asked, us will you please move you are blocking the exit, at which point we got it :)
 

Bloor

Member
You did fine, and the whole checkout thing is really a challenge in the first place.
There used to be a really great checkout assistant who knew I was autistic and put things through in the order I placed them and at exactly the correct speed for me to pack. Unfortunately, she's on maternity leave :( I've explained to other assistants that I'm autistic and to put things through a little slower so I have time to pack but they just give me a blank stare. I tried the automated checkouts but things have a habit of going wrong and you have to get authorisation for certain things (alcohol, number of bags) so I gave up.
 

Bloor

Member
I can imagine how awkward that might have been. Hopefully nobody thought anything bad of you, although I understand how embarrassing it can be for you, no matter what the others involved were thinking.

I remember one time I was waiting in a bus station for the bus home, and a couple who were standing near me also waiting for the same bus said, "I recognise you, you were on this bus this morning from [the name of my hometown]". I looked at them and said "yeah", and was about to say more* but then thought better of it, so I just stood there staring at them with a weird grin on my face. I could see they suddenly thought I was a bit simple or something, and they gave me an odd look then turned away.
I felt like banging my head on the wall in exasperation with myself for social failure.

*What I was going to say was "oh were you on the same bus?" but thought that would be a stupid question because obviously of course they were on the same bus otherwise they wouldn't have recognised me from the bus ride. So that was why I didn't ask, but I didn't have anything else to say, so that's why I stood there awkwardly grinning at them. Ugh, I hate myself.

I don't do well with strangers.
I probably would have done exactly the same thing. Strangers tend to screw up any of my pre-planned scripting and I end up babbling nonsense or smacking two unconnected sentences together.
 

Misty Avich

I prefer not to be referred to as autistic
V.I.P Member
I try to avoid using self-service checkouts if possible. So many things go wrong on them. Yesterday I bought a birthday card, and I used the self-service checkout. But it all had to be a drama, because for some reason the machine didn't seem to like the birthday card. It scanned all right but wouldn't come up on the screen. A member of staff who came to help said that often happens with greetings cards. Why? I have no idea. The reliance humans have on robots is not only scary but daft. I mean, in larger supermarkets there's staff patroling the machines and there to assist, so why not just do away with the self-service machines and give the staff a till to serve you on? Why do we need to rely on robots all the time?
 

kriss72

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
There used to be a really great checkout assistant who knew I was autistic and put things through in the order I placed them and at exactly the correct speed for me to pack. Unfortunately, she's on maternity leave :( I've explained to other assistants that I'm autistic and to put things through a little slower so I have time to pack but they just give me a blank stare. I tried the automated checkouts but things have a habit of going wrong and you have to get authorisation for certain things (alcohol, number of bags) so I gave up.
It would be nice if they had a line for people that need a little more time to packing, the place we do the main weekly shopping has a line for families w. children, something like that.
 

Misty Avich

I prefer not to be referred to as autistic
V.I.P Member
I like the 10 items only lines, if I only have a few items in a basket of course, but they always seem to be closed. It can be frustrating when you only have a few items and have to wait in a queue of shoppers with full trolleys.
 

Bloor

Member
I like the 10 items only lines, if I only have a few items in a basket of course, but they always seem to be closed. It can be frustrating when you only have a few items and have to wait in a queue of shoppers with full trolleys.
It's a shame but those seem to have disappeared from our local Tesco.
 

Misty Avich

I prefer not to be referred to as autistic
V.I.P Member
I think I would have understood what the woman meant, and would have just said yes. I do often feel honoured when a stranger asks me for a quick favour, like they're trusting me. I remember an elderly lady asked me to look after her shopping bag while she went to get something. The amount of trust she placed in me was heartwarming. And of course her items were safe with me, and when she returned she thanked me. I said "no problem".

But I'm not criticising the OP or anything.
 

Judge

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
After a minute I saw the man in front take her trolley and move it to the side where it was out of the way and she left to get whatever she forgot. Only then did I realise that when she said "Can I leave my trolley here?" she actually meant "Can you look after my trolley?".

I would have acted in a similar fashion under such circumstances. Unless of course the woman wanted to leave her personal property (such as a purse) in the trolley at the time. But then had she actually approached a perfect stranger to mind her personal property I might not have reacted in a kindly matter. Care, custody and control of a patron's property is between them and the the proprietor. Not me.

And if it was just a trolley with groceries and nothing more, she should just move it out of the way. I'd think it's not like anyone would likely to be pilfering groceries from another's trolley not yet purchased. So ultimately I would find her response rather odd and not your own.
 

Aspychata

Serenity waves, beachy vibes
V.I.P Member
I just told somebody l am going to be slow. You might want to go to a different self-checkout lane.
 

Bloor

Member
It would be nice if they had a line for people that need a little more time to packing, the place we do the main weekly shopping has a line for families w. children, something like that.
If a checkout assistant starts throwing items through the scanner faster than I can cope with, I "go slow". I will deliberately pick up each item individually, even if I could pick up more than one, and place them carefully in the bag that I had mentally assigned to them (fridge bag, cupboard bag etc). I refuse to be hurried as that leads to meltdowns and I feel much better if I control the speed and not the assistant.
 

Misty Avich

I prefer not to be referred to as autistic
V.I.P Member
I usually load the heaviest items on the conveyor belt first, followed by the lighter items (or items that can get crushed easily), then as I'm packing I put the heaviest things into bags first then the light things on top.
 

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