Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Why it's better to stay calm than go off your trolley

Rage is all the rage. It's all around us, getting out of the car and into the supermarket, ever-ready to give and take offence. Enough! Time to keep calm and stop carrying on.

We need seriously to examine ourselves. No call to remove your trousers, sir. I mean examine our souls.

That there are reported outbreaks of fury, and even violence, at the supermarket is hardly surprising. Supermarkets are the modern equivalent of the Roman forum.

They're where we foregather, often with background worries about what we can afford, and perhaps after an edgy car journey on roads buzzing with insane people.

But most of the time, you must remember, in the supermarket we all get along. Same on the roads. One reckless driver makes you forget the 999 good ones.

That said, as a semi-professional shopper, a veritable Lord of the Aisles, even I acknowledge that the busy festive season brings out the vegetables. Some shoppers seemed barely sentient. I'm not knocking them. Indeed, I envy their state. How wonderful to wander through life never thinking.

You can think too much, I think, and it becomes a curse, particularly if you're teetotal like I am and can't have the respite of a soul-soothing G-and-T.

But someone must fret on society's behalf and sometimes, when I encounter men acting macho, even here in this place of frozen peas and ancient DVDs, or women behaving with barely disguised greed, I retire unnoticed to the never-used photo-booth and there shed a silent tear.

Men are undoubtedly a peculiar gender and it's sad to see them, dragged round the shops by the missus, trying to look hard and aggressive. Better to leave them heavily sedated and tied to a chair at home.

However, a disproportionate number of women get involved in trolley rage, perhaps because they shop more, which I don't think too 1950s a thing to say. Certainly, they seem ruder as they grab for things on shelves. Sometimes, they become unseemly, sticking their heads through your legs and past your crotch to get that last tin of spaghetti hoops on the lowest shelf.

They redeem themselves on the road, I feel, where it's rare that the driver aggressively close to your rear bumper is female.

Oddly enough, while never succumbing to trolley rage - probably because someone might hit me - in the safety of my car I do have bouts of road rage, after which I get angry at myself.

The problem is caused by the policy of letting horrible people have driving licences. Eventually they get to you.

Recently, one shouted at me as he passed on the inside and parked just ahead at the lights. I drove forward and bade him wind down his window and explain himself.

He completed the former successfully but not the latter, becoming tongue-tied and eventually pulling up his window and driving further forward to get away.

It was staying calm that did it. It freaks aggressive people out. They think you must be pugilistically confident, little suspecting you're merely a master of tongue fu, the ancient art of talking opponents into submission.

Stay calm at all times, readers. Breathe your troubles in and breathe them right back out again. Let them dissipate on the air. Crivvens, listen to me. The Sage of Sainsbury's. Quite ridiculous, but what the hey: less rage, more love in 2013.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz