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Shuffle Buddy Shoppers

old lady with lots of shopping bagsEnter the doors and 5 ladies attach themselves to your arm. One name is announced and 4 concede graciously with a measured expression of consideration… “I’m shhure oursh will be along presently”. A reassurance that they have not been forgotten, along with a compliment for their patience, grace and beauty usually teases out an amicable atmosphere as the shopping bags of the named customer are being gathered up into the spare arm. Once the arms, shovel-sized hands and all finger-load-capacities have been utilised to the full, the end result is a driver who has both arms fully laden with countless shopping bags and one beautiful customer.

”Shall we?”… “Yessh”… The departing shuffle dance begins. If you get the harmonics of the difference in stride size just right, the pair of us can make a cool exit from the shop. If, however, the timing falters, the consequence is often a slight deviation from intended course and into some sort of incident, often involving the door post. I make sure I buffer any physical impact we arrive at, but, in true spirit of teamwork sharing, I proffer the notion that the cause of veering off course was them, for being a bit tipsy.

The result is usually just the next few meters of shuffling, with both of us chuckling away, but there was one response which carried real off the hip fire wit… “You took shhuch a long time to arrive, I managed the whole bottle.” “Well, I’ll see you get a good discount for your waiting.” “Discount!” She turned radiant. “Now that’s very useful, driver.” The next few meters had us quietly chuckling, until one more minor scuff of a paving stone, found me pushing my luck. “How big was the bottle?” Again came a calm, but instant and fluent repost. “Would bigger mean more discount!?” How a vibrant mind must be a priceless card to still have to play when in latter years of life. In quantity, a small fleeting interaction with this person it may have been. In quality… a privilage, a delight.

The established practice in some city shops, is for the elderly to have a private hire taxi ordered for them at the reception point, then relax and wait on the sheltered seats, inside the main doors. When the car arrives, the process is as described above. It works great, but there is an aspect of legality that is overlooked for this to work as well as it does. The areas outside are technically ‘no loading/parking at anytime’ zones. On two occasions I witnessed this beneficial practice being turned bad (completely outrageous by my opinion). One involved a traffic warden ordering us (shuffle buddies) to return back inside and make the pickup from the delivery dock, round the rear. I’m quiet natured, but once my lady was smuggled into the parked car, he got an opinion delivered at volume 11. The other was when the practice was banned by the council. I arrived in rain to find a distressed elderly lady stood soaked and chilled in the isolated delivery yard.

These stories together later…. In ‘The Sad’ category as ‘Go wait in the loading bay, you old people’ 

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