Shoppers From Outer Space

It was whilst shopping in my local supermarket that I was struck by the most magnificent of thoughts.  It was so incredibly magnificent that it made my brain say ‘Huh’.  At first I couldn’t explain what it was.  I stopped walking and just searched the area with my eyes.  And then it clicked.  People are just strange.

The catalyst if you will, was studying the bizarre behaviours which people exhibit in a supermarket.  The strangest of all is the way people pick up anything with a label, in order to read it.  It’s not necessary.  Labels still work without physical contact.  Every aisle I walked down I saw more and more examples of label studying, and for the life of me I couldn’t work out why.   The only times I have found myself doing the exact same thing is when I see something new for the first time, much like an alien collecting samples to take back to his home planet.  For a moment I wondered if I wasn’t surrounded by shoppers from outer space.  That was until reality brought me crashing back down to earth.

I witnessed a woman walk to the meat fridges and pick up a pack of chicken breasts.  The woman was holding the pack in her hand when she did the strangest thing.  She put it to her nose and sniffed it.  What made her so much more curious was that there wasn’t any hesitantancy in her actions.  It was as if it was perfectly normal for her to be standing in a supermarket sniffing chicken breasts wrapped in plastic.

These peculiar shopping habits may or may not have always been on display.  It is of course possible that people do this sort of thing everywhere every single day, and I, for some reason just hadn’t noticed it.  However, I still felt a nagging doubt.   I couldn’t help but feel that the world wasn’t always this way.  I found myself wondering why I found it so bizarre.  If I am honest,  I know that due to some unconscious scarring, I find it wrong to pick things up unless I am certain that I am going to buy them.  I don’t know why.  It’s not a legacy of childhood as I was always sneaking things into the family shopping trolley.  That’s the worst thing about getting old.  You are never sure if these things really have changed or if it’s just your imagination.

These changes didn’t come about overnight.  They took time.  They needed people to embrace them.  The trailblazers.  Yes, they may have looked ridiculous with their brick-sized mobile phones, and their pointlessly slow computers, but it was these people who are responsible for bringing about change.  You have a choice in life.  You can spend your entire life being completely miserable or you can take risks and embrace a different tomorrow.

The chicken sniffer didn’t buy the chicken.  She dropped it back into the refrigerator.  I couldn’t help myself.  What if it changed my life?  What if it made the world a better place?  I  cautiously approached the fridge and picked up the same pack of chicken.  I looked up and down the aisle to make sure that no one was looking at me.  I put the pack of chicken to my nose and sniffed it.  And do you know what it smelt of?  Cold water and plastic.

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