We’ve all heard of super-market wars, but I was always under the impression this meant rival stores battling it out to compete on price with the winners being the shoppers.
But now it seems store wars have been extended to fisticuffs in the aisles, with people coming to blows over the last items on the shelves. I thought I’d heard it all when it came to rows over the most ridiculous things… until I heard the recent tale of the pensioner who assaulted another shopper in a supermarket in a brawl over CARROTS.
Yes, I had to check to make sure it wasn’t April Fools Day but I kid you not. A cantankerous 71-year-old ended up in court after he blocked a female shopper from getting to the carrots in a Morrison’s store. When the woman asked if she could get to the carrots, he told her: “No you can’t, I’m getting carrots.” He then added: “You’re not getting in front of me. No one is getting in front of me.” The woman told the court how she then reached across and picked up carrots only for the grumpy old man to retaliate by pushing her in the chest and “boxing her ears”. The man, Raymond Newton, denied her version of events and bizarrely said he pushed her three times in the forehead as self defence as he thought she might have “some kind of missile because I realise ladies carry a lot of merchandise in their bags.”
Unbelievable. Who knew us women all carried dangerous weapons in our handbags? Then again, my own bag is crammed with lots of junk and I often surprise myself with what I pull out – so maybe there is a missile lurking in there somewhere. But even more importantly, who knew going shopping for your five a day could be such a dangerous mission? I don’t think I dare look at a carrot again when I’m out shopping just in case someone else is already eyeing it up.
It seems the sanest of people can turn into raving lunatics when going around the shops with a trolley – or when it comes to driving. Carrotgate isn’t the only reason supermarkets have been hitting the headlines – there’s been a lot of carry on recently about old bags. I’m not talking about the old bags who ram you in the ankles with their shopping trolleys, but the old bags we’re being encouraged to re-use to carry our shopping in – or face paying 5p for a new one. Despite all the fuss we’ve all survived the implementation of the charge and the world hasn’t ground to a halt. There have, however, been incidents of people either attempting or being accused of trying to steal their shopping baskets rather than forking out for a bag.
Personally, while I agree we need to cut down on carrier bag consumption for environmental reasons, I do think the 5p is a hidden tax on the disorganised and spontaneous. I for one do not plan out my shopping trips with military precision and think: ‘I must take my Bag For Life as I might pop to the shops on the way home to pick up some bits.”
Whatever happened to buying things on a whim or an impulse? Do people now go into a supermarket to buy bread and milk and instead of filling their basket with lots of things they fancy as they’re passing, do they think: ‘I’d better not - it won’t fit in my bag for life.”
I myself have resigned myself to the fact that every time I go into a shop, I’ll have to add an average 20p to my final total to pay for the bags. I’ve bought so many Bags For Life recently, I’ll need to live to 120 to get full use out of them. But have I remembered to take any with me when I’ve popped to the shops? Have I heck.
In any case, the bag charge is a real money spinner for the shops – even if they do donate proceeds to charity. Not only do we walk around advertising their store with our branded carrier bags, we’ve had to pay for the privilege of doing it. And then there’s the extra money shops rake in through the sales of bin-liners as people will no longer be able to use their mountain of carrier bags for the job. It does smack of hypocrisy on the part of supermarkets to me. It’s all very well saying we should use less bags, meanwhile, stores still get away with packaging products in more wrapping than an Egyptian mummy.
With Christmas shopping about to get into full swing, the carrier bag carry ons are sure to continue. As the Kaiser Chiefs sang: I predict a riot.
As for the bad tempered carrot shopper Raymond Newton, he was found guilty of common assault as the female shopper was said to be a credible witness who was consistent with her evidence. Old Crotchety Carrots was ordered to pay £150 compensation, a £60 fine and a £20 surcharge as well as £600 court costs.
That could have bought him a lot of carrier bags … and carrots.