Monday, 15 February 2010

A Clash of Compulsions?

Glass bottles then cans, cartons of fruit juice, root vegetables, packaged meats, breads, vegetables, soft fruits, eggs.

You will have got there by now; it's the order you load up the conveyor belt in the supermarket. Well, okay, it's the order that I load up the conveyor belt in the supermarket. It's not OCD at all, well not in my book - it's just a sensible way to pack my shopping without the heavy items crushing and damaging the lighter goods.

It's a system that works for me and I am sure it works for you too. (Come on, admit it, you do it too.)

So, the other day in Waitrose, I was stumped and confounded to be confronted by the lady on the check-out with a system of her own. I didn't notice it at first - but began to realise that something was up when the goods coming down the slope towards me were coming at a slower rate than normal. I noticed that she was selecting items from the upstream end of the conveyor in a very particular way.

Apples, bottles, breads, butter, cans, carrots; it went on, with no apparent rhyme nor reason to the order of selection.

It was causing havoc with my packing regime at the downstream end.

It was only when I got home that I realised what her system was - it was selected alphabetically!


  1. Perhaps she'd be happier working at Asda?

  2. Not met an alphabetical one before, beats my OCD into a cocked hat!
    I'm training our eldest to pack bags, but now I know why she's making slow progress. Went shopping with David yesterday and we swapped roles. He doesn't put things on the conveyor in the right order.
    Oh dear.
    It's only taken me sixteen years to find out. Am I sunk?

  3. Sounds to me that you've met your soulmate - were all the tin labels facing the same way? :)

  4. It's the packing end of things that I concentrate on - I have to have items put in with other appropriate things e.g. all soap products together, all dairy etc.
    Discombobulates (is that a word?)my day terribly if the Scouts are doing the packing - I've been known to pay them to NOT help me!!

    (the word - kiesses!!)

  5. Des: She could start at Asda, then move on to Budgens, the Co-Op...

    Louise: Alphabetical is new to me too! Exciting eh? (But I do seem to recall your herbs and spices...)

    Phil: Of course tins and bottles are put on the conveyor the right way round. It would be outrageous to suggest otherwise. And all are parallel to the best degree possible.

    Laura: That's how my Mum used to pack things in "Fine Fare". Most particular she was, too. I wonder where I got it from then?
    I shall claim those 'Kiesses' at Braemar then?

  6. This is probably as good a time and place as any to confess to a foible.

    When I'm putting diesel in the car I try to get the amount in litres and the value in £:pp to both end on an even number. It really hacks me off when I can't manage it, although I've only once actually overflowed the tank.

  7. Wow! Both the quantity AND the price. That's really something!

    Are there any more confessions out there? (oh - okay then - just one more... When I leave the bathroom I count down, after as random an interval as I can possibly make it, from a guessed number - trying to coincide my 'zero' with the extractor fan stopping. If it doesn't coincide I carry on counting (upwards) to see how far I was out...))

  8. There's more to the washing confession, (the one that closely followed the alphabetical herbs and spices...which is ofcourse normal...) I had a thing about the pegs I used to hang the clothes in age and layer order. I had to use the white ones first. Then the blue. Then the wooden ones. Then, and only then, if I was getting desperate and running out of pegs, I could use the yellow ones, then the orange ones. And they had to be in pairs of colour or wood, no mismatching colours, no wood and plastic. (I didn't like the yellow and orange ones.)

    That felt so good.

    Until I read it back to myself and realised just how sad I am...

  9. I have to agree: It does look awful with mixed pegs hanging a single item, whether it be a material or colour mismatch.

  10. My grandmother was a country woman and had one quirky belief, that if you crawled three times beneath an ass it would cure any respiratory problem. As I say, she was a country woman.

  11. Des: I have always believed your ancestry to be Irish. Now you make me wonder if your spirited Grandmother was indeed an American?

  12. Correct, she never left Ireland. But before they married, my grandfather had spent several years working in a New York department store as an elevator operator. Some of what he picked up there may have rubbed off on her.


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