Janet Christie: It's time to fight passive aggression

Down in the Tube Station at Midnight is thumping in my head as I shop although I'm actually down in the supermarket mid evening.

Janet Christie. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Janet Christie. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

It’s just this side of the booze bolt when the announcement calls time on the sale of alcohol and everyone abandons their plans for that signature soufflé, grabs a six pack and crisps, and sprints to the checkout.

Despite the hour, the shop’s busy with various night time supermarket tribes. There are the stoners on the munchie run, the vamps stocking up with appetiser alcopops before heading off into town (on a school night, how fabulous), and so many animal onesies I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a furry convention at the budget hotel next door. Then there’s the saddo in the parka, bulk buying staples to fill the gaping maws of her hungry offspring (me).

Last orders is called over the tannoy and as the lemmings (penguins/bunnies) race for the checkout cliff-edge I step aside from the plush rush to avoid contact burns. I’ll take my chances with the automated till.

It’s going not too badly, with only a few “unexpected items in the bagging area”, but I become aware that the couple behind are so tense they’d look at home on the shore at Easter Island.


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“Sorry,” I say, “unexpected items in the bagging area,” and smile. Nothing. I speed up, pay, (OK, twice), apologise again. Nada. I pick up my bag and with a final “sorry”, walk away. Yes, it must be annoying for efficient people to have their lives clogged up by doofuses but they weren’t buying booze, I’m thinking, as I retreat. Suddenly I’m doing a U-turn, I’m back at the automated check out and standing way too close to Stony Couple.

“Actually I’m not sorry. Not sorry at all,” I say. No response. They continue to slide and bag, slide and bag. But they heard me, so I leave, satisfied, a worm turned. Passive aggression, we’ve got to fight against it, people. Next time I’m shopping in Youngest’s tiger onesie.