Just the thought of the supermarket made her shudder. She knew she had to go, but imagining what it would be like as she stepped through the automatic doors, as the swish of too warm air hit her in the face like an over friendly slap, made Lucy want to get back into bed with the duvet pulled up as high as it would go without leaving her feet out in the cold.
She knew exactly how it would be. The lights would be too bright, so she would get a headache immediately, before she even worked her way through the fresh fruit and veg. There would be too many people, all thinking that they were the only ones with the need to buy their weekly shop and getting irritated to the point of exploding when they realised they weren’t. By the time she reached the hot food counter at the back of the supermarket she would have been pushed, glared at and run over by numerous trolleys.
She groaned, contemplated forgetting the whole thing, and then begrudgingly slipped on some comfortable shoes for the ten minute drive. She didn’t bother with a coat. From house to car to shop and back again meant only a couple of minutes in the open air, if that. Less if she managed to park near to the entrance.
All hopes of that were dashed once she drove round the corner, past the petrol station, and ended up at the back of a queue for parking spaces. She could already feel her temperature and blood pressure rising. Breathe, she said to herself, repeating it over and over until she felt calmer. She realised everyone was trying to get into the main car park. Idiots. Didn’t they know there was an overflow? She smiled to herself, glad to get one up on the savage hordes, and turned left as soon as she could. All right, so the walk to the shop would be a bit longer, and she might wish she’d worn her coat after all, but at least she’d get parked with no problems.
Well, almost. There were a number of spaces left, but the fact that the selfish people who had parked their before her had assumed they had the right to take up two spaces when one would happily do, or leave trolleys abandoned in the middle of another space meant that easy parking was not to be. But she did finally manage it, squeezed between a massive truck like thing and a van. She just hoped they were both gone by the time she escaped the place. They probably would be – this was not a quick in and out sort of chore.
By the time she reached those dreaded double doors, Lucy’s hands had turned a funny shade of blue, and she was almost glad of the over friendly slap. Almost. It was still bloody uncomfortable and really unnecessary. One day she might even mention it to someone, but it always seemed like such an effort, and she never wanted to spend any more time here than she had to.
Before she could take another step, the shop’s internal speakers started shouting in a nasally voice that sounded incredibly bored; “Could a manager go to customer services, customer waiting.”
No please. No thank you. Lucy looked around. No one else seemed bothered. She sighed and pressed through the masses to the customer service desk. She saw the woman waiting, her face ready to argue, clutching a tattered receipt and a banana.
“Madam? How may I help you?” Lucy asked.