As a seasoned stay-at-home dad I should know better than to do a big shop with little helpers.
I guess it’s like my relationship with KFC; every few years I just need reminding of why it’s best avoided.
The warning signs were all there. Their eagerness to help for a start, that’s not normal. Then there were the items added to my shopping list which were more than a little troubling. Add to this the death knell of a staff member complimenting them on their good behaviour and what you have is the three signs of the apocalypse, right there.
But fear not, I had a plan. I’d make a game out of it by sending them on missions. Nothing gladiatorial, mind, or so I thought.
I heard them before I saw them. The unmistakable war cry of a six year old beaten by his brother to the cherry tomatoes.
A war cry that echoed round the infamous amphitheatre of Asdia, just before they came tearing round the corner on their imaginary chariots. Sonny holding the prized tomatoes aloft. Luca close behind, poised for a last ditch tackle.
It was like Lord of the Flies meets Supermarket Sweep. Ankles were swiped. Bodies clambered over. Fellow shoppers reduced to collateral damage.
By the time they reached me there were no tomatoes.
At this point I should have gone home. Instead I headed to the World Foods aisle.
Luca: “I’ve got to have these, we had them on holiday.”
Me: “Eh? We’ve never been to … *checks label* … Pakistan.”
Luca: “Yeah we did, remember. When I was three.”
Ah, the famous Punjabi region of … Scarborough?!
Over my shoulder flew what for legal reasons I’m calling Noodles in a Pot.
Me: “We’re not having those, they’re horrific. Have you seen the salt and fat levels?”
Sonny: “They’re OK, I’ve checked the traffic lights. All blue which means … whatever!”
No time to argue. The trolley was off, driven by a seven-year old drunk on adrenaline and the promise of dehydrated obesity.
By the time I caught up with them, four multi-packs of crisps had been added.
Me: “They’re three for two, put one back.”
Sonny: “Or … we add a couple more and they’re both free. Six for four, innit. Basic maths dad!”
My head hurt. Rachel Riley, I’m not.
The next few aisles were a blur as I puzzled over the corn snack conundrum. I resorted to number sentences…
Mark wanted one bag of crisps. He bought six. If two were free, how many packs did Mark pay for that he didn’t want nor need… ‘6-1-2= …’
“Sonny! You’re wrong, I’m paying for three packs I don’t …. oh dear God … LUCA! NO!”
As Sonny lent over the trolley with yet more rubbish, Luca pushed him in head first and launched the trolley down the aisle. I stood helpless as he went careering off into the distance, legs flailing in the air, head wedged between chocolate and ice lollies, neither of which were on the shopping list, I might add.
He finally came to a halt in the mixed emotions aisle. Where pride and shame sit amongst toilet rolls and tissues.
In hindsight, the high-five with Luca probably could have waited but Sonny wasn’t half milking his injuries. The dizziness was fair enough, but can you really get brain freeze from head-butting Fab lollies?
Not that it mattered. He had the last laugh when we finally reached the checkout. Remember those blurred aisles where I was discombobulated by Disco’s? Well, that’s where the real damage was done. Where a £20 shop somehow jumped to £58.55.
Ten chocolate pancakes, nine nasty cupcakes, eight pack of Snickers, seven pots of noodles, six bags of corn snacks, Muller Golden Balls. Four milkshake straws, three cereal types, two Soreen loafs and a partridge in a pear tree.
OK, I might have made the last one up. This was Asda after all, not Waitrose Everyday Essentials.
Which was shame, because the partridge might have come in handy when it came to making dinner that night…
Me: “Where’s the chicken? Didn’t I send you for chicken?”
Sonny: “Couldn’t find any but I got something better!”
Me: “Can it go in a stir fry?”
Sonny: “Maybe. Can you stir fry Babybel?”
For the Love of God. £58.55 I spent. Fifty eight pounds! And for what?
A chippy tea, that’s what!