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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Editorial and Opinion  |  House: Booksie Classic

' Dear Aunty', is an alter ego of author, singer, public speaker and writer Kartanya Martinez. Aunty responds to fan questions for advice or opinion. Aunty is outspoken, a tad naughty and often responds to requests as opinion, satire, and humour. Aunty is always watching and listening.

Shopping is never a pleasant experience, unless you happen to discover an astoundingly handsome man to follow up and down the aisles in a non-stalker way and when he looks like he might be exhausted you are right there on hand to fluff up the frozen vegetables in the freezer section and assist him in getting off his tired sore feet to lay upon the pillow of peas and corn that you have with great concern prepared for him to rest his weary head. The fact that security may come because they mistook your attempts at mouth-to-mouth as robbing the handsome fellow, is still merely a rumour that may or may not be confirmed at a court hearing.Whilst it appears this small act of humanity has been labelled something else, what cannot be labelled as something else is the point my fan Carolyn has asked me to write about; the humanity and feeling like an appreciated customer after handing over our hard earned money at the checkout.

Why does ending a shopping trip that has included having your heels skinned by numerous shopping trolleys, waiting for a ‘lollipop’ man to turn the paddle from stop to go slow when a pondering customer has finished blocking the path deciding upon John West or Homebrand tuna always makes you feel like you are sitting in a struggling medical centre being rushed through so the doctor can make their quota for bulk bill? Come on! If Coles or Woolworths are bulk billing our groceries, I could almost forgive being at the checkout after the trauma of wandering the aisles and being treated as if I am a sheep that's just been dipped. But the fact is they are not bulk billing groceries, they are not struggling but rather their attitudes appear to have become elitist with the glory of their continual millions of profits, their empire of hardware, liquor, fuel and whatever other pie they have their fingers in they are rolling in the cash, and we the people that hand over that cash are of no matter or consequence, not even worthy of good old fashioned service.



When I was a youngster, if I had stepped up to the register before the customer before me had finished paying, put their change away, picked up their goods and stepped away from the counter, my parents would have clipped me in the ear. Yet, here we are day in day out having our groceries scanned through, paying for them and yet as we place our change in our wallets or purses, the checkout person has already begun scanning through the next customer’s goods. We get our change safely in its place, only to try and decipher which bags are yours and pick them up, or place them in the trolley because the next customer’s bags are already being placed among ours. This is particularly rude not only to us but also the next customer. It erodes the feeling of individual service and being valued as a customer. These supermarkets are not strapped for cash! They are strapped for service and employing people! Greed, distaste ultimately is the service they are pushing onto us and the whole shopping experience leaves little to be desired.



What shops need to consider in their rush through of its customers, is the feeling of safety. Children, the elderly, having people, strangers in close proximity because the store ethos is to take the money, sneer at you to hurry the fuck up and serve the next is a vile practice not only due to lack of manners but also to a customer’s safety.In this age of identity theft and increased desperation do stores have a duty of care to ensure the safety of its customers? I believe in this aspect they do. A child trying to place their money away, or an elderly person is vulnerable to a predator. Do we know whether the customer behind us is a predator or not? Picture a child or elderly person getting their money and groceries together with another person being served and pushed up next to them. Picture them feeling intimidated, with always in the back of their minds whether they are going to be prey to robbery or assault on this shopping trip; reality check, we all know this happens, yet we are contributors to it every time we go through the checkout.How do we contribute? By allowing it to continue. It is not right that a customer cannot feel safe putting their money away and collecting their goods without having someone else breathing down their necks. A person of bad intent has instant access to how much money is in a purse, wallet; they have instant visual to personal information because they are close enough to see a person’s address or details glaring at them from an open purse or wallet. Fact is children and elderly are often targeted and robbed, a harsh reality of our times and disrespectful sheep herding service at major chain supermarkets plays right into the hands of those that would prey on our children and elderly.



When Aunty goes shopping, I always wait at the furthermost end of the checkout. I keep my groceries from moving up the conveyor. When the checkout worker goes to start scanning my groceries, I stop them immediately. I tell them very politely to please wait until the customer in front of me has completely finished and moved away. Often I get a frustrated look or a hefty sigh that conveys to me that they think I am a weird dolt who goes about my day being a pain in the arse. Honestly, I do not give two flying hoots what they think of me, what I think of my fellow human is far more important to me. I have experienced some that ignore my request, I tell them “... No! Wait until this customer has finished, it’s rude to start my shopping before they are done...” they do get frustrated, but end game, they are employed to serve me, they will serve me with a smile on their face ( yes I know this is often a fantasy too), and respect my wishes to respect a fellow community member. I would like to ask all readers to start doing this when they are out shopping. It is the only way to bring this unmannerly practice to an end. Let’s show these conglomerates we are the customer, we are still always right, and we wish to not only be valued but we wish for our fellow customers to be valued, respected and feel safe.



Don’t allow yourself to be served until the previous customer has put their money away, collected their goods and stepped away from the counter

Politely insist to the cashier that you will wait and why

Reward the cashier with a thank you for your respect when they have waited

Don’t use self-serve checkouts ( They should be investing in your children's futures and their service by employing more staff, believe me, they can afford it)



I know that we are all consumed by time factors and constraints. At the end of a hard day, we want to get home and put our feet up. Little Johnny’s rugby match is over and you want to get home and Netflix and chill for the rest of your Saturday. But, we must redeem ourselves, our humanity, our manners, our care factors! Our time is not more important than the person in front of us, or the person behind us, nor the person paid to serve us. What is important, more important than time and money is each other! Making sure we are all being treated as equals, valued as customers and partaking in this minor way with manners and courtesy to make sure those that may be vulnerable are not put in at risk positions or feel intimidated and unsafe at the checkout. Together, we can do this and enforce this by amending our own behaviour.

Remember, Aunty is always here and I am always watching.

‘Dear Aunty’, is an alter ego of Kartanya Martinez - Author | Singer | Public Speaker | Writer







Dear Aunty answers fan requests for opinion or advice with fun, observation, satire and humour. Aunty is a tad outspoken and naughty. Aunty is not a professional counselor if you need professional advice please seek help through your local GP.

© Kartanya Martinez


Submitted: October 20, 2016

© Copyright 2020 Kartanya Martinez. All rights reserved.

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