Supermarket Showdown

INT. SUPERMARKET – EVENING A middle aged man, dressed in comfort gear of tracksuit pants and an old T-shirt wonders the florescent isles with a half filed basket in one hand and a shopping list in the other.

He’s constantly checking the list in his hand, walking very slowly through every isle as he looks at every product on the shelves. It might as be a Where’s Wally. People with trolleys zoom past him as he struggles to get out of their way, kids run past on his other side and he nearly tumbles over. A stockist with a large box of items comes at him and he hurries up the isle like Indiana Jones escaping the boulder. This is not his element.

He takes an item off the shelf, laundry detergent, and looks down at his list again. The list is written in a very masculine script and we watch as he crosses out the words laundry detergent from near the bottom of the list. All the items above it have been crossed out and there’s only one more below it. This one is written in a different hand and is a decidedly more feminine font. It reads ‘Tampons’.

The man’s face shows quick surprise as he reads this last word, he looks up and sighs, then starts wondering the isles again.

He paces quickly down one isle then the next. The following one he just sticks his head into, shakes it, then moves on. He jogs past the dairy case, weaves his way through the produce section. He walks briskly past the hygiene isle then stops for a beat. His head appears looking back down the isle, his face lights up in a smile and he enters.

He walks down it more carefully, looking left and right. Near the end he spots the tampons. There’s only one box left and an old woman is standing right in front of it. He approaches slowly and stands beside her pretending to look at the items in front of him. He looks across at her out of the corner of his eye. She’s looks at the shelf below the tampons, hosiery socks. She looks at each pack carefully, umming and ahhing over them. She picks one up off the shelf and puts it back again, resuming her inquiry.

The man becomes impatient. He looks at her, the tampons, then away. He still pretneds to study the items in front of him while never really looking at them. He drums his fingers on the basket. He looks again at the old woman, she’s still inspecting the hoseiry socks. He clears his throat, she doesn’t notice. He clears it again, louder. Still nothing. He notices a mother pushing a trolley with a baby in the seat down the isle next to him giving him a very weird look. He looks back at her confused, then forward to realise that he’s been pretending to look at a rack of bras this whole time and in his impatience has taken one of the shelf and is playing with it in his hand. He hurriedly puts it back on the shelf then moves to the other side of the old lady to pretend look at the much safer item of shampoos.

The old woman now has a pack of hosiery socks in each hand and looks from one to the other. The man sighs. He starts very slowly reaching over to the solitary box of tampons. His hand is gets close as it slowly passes the various shampoos. The old woman continues to look at her socks. His hand moves closer. The old woman looks up at him sharply. His hand, just on the edge of shampoo territory and about to enter that of the tampons grabs a bottle of shampoo at the last second, and he pretends to study it. The old woman goes back to her socks and after a beat drops one in her basket and begins to walk away.

The man, elated, places the shampoo back on the shelf, and is once more reaches out his hand out for the box when the old woman quickly turns, snatches the box of tampons off the shelf, drops it in her basket, and just as quickly spins around and continues up the isle.

The man’s shoulders and face drop in shock and defeat. He looks back down to the list and the feminine font of ‘Tampons’. He looks up resolutely and starts to follow the old woman.

He stalks her down the isle when she stops in front of the coffee section. On one of the top shelves sits a massive jar of instant coffee, she reaches to get it. Unable to reach it she places her basket on the ground and goes up on tip toes to reach it again.

The man, seeing his opportunity, sidles up next to her and looks at the items on the shelf. Slowly he kneels down as he pretends to look at the items on the bottom shelf. He reaches into her basket his hand coming so close to the box of tampons. The one kilo jar of instant coffee lands with a hard thud between him and the tampons, narrowly missing his hand. He looks up at the old woman who’s looking down at him. He smiles up at her sheepishly.

The old woman grabs her basket and continues on. The man looks around and thinks. He alights with an idea. He walks up and grabs the same instant coffee the woman took. As the old woman walks around he continues to stalk her, his eyes always on her basket. As he does so he mouths the items in her basket to himself.

Satisfied he leaves the woman and rushes to the front of the store and grabs another basket. He takes the instant coffee from his and puts it in the new one. He runs around the store, still mouthing the list to himself, and stops at points in the isles to put various items into the new basket. He completes the list then runs down the back of the store, looking hurriedly down each isle as he goes. He passes the isle that the old woman is shopping in. He stops at the end of it and looks around. He spots one of the kids that almost knocked him over earlier. He calls the boy over and whispers something to him and points at the old woman. The boy nods and then waits at the end of the isle as the man slowly walks down the isle towards the old woman.

When he nears her the boy rushes down the isle heading straight for the old woman. He dodges around her at the last second and she exclaims in fright. In the madness she drops her basket and stumbles back trying to get away from the boy. The man quickly swaps his ne basket for hers, which contain identical items, except for one, the tampons. The man runs around the corner and towards the registers. He takes the tampons from the woman’s basket and puts into his then dumps her basket without stopping his speedy descent.

The registers are now in his eye line, victory is assured, then something catches his eye. He stops suddenly and grabs something off screen and drops it in his basket.

He arrives at the register and dumps most of his items onto it. The checkout chick checks them through one at a time and puts them into plastic bags. All goes through until we get to the final two items, the tampons which sits on top of the mystery item, a pack of strawberry frosted cupcakes. Smart man.

He pays, grabs his bags. Chest puffed out and confident he looks back over the store. The old woman charges down the center isle fuming. All confidence leaves the mans face as he turns and runs in fear towards the car park.

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