Opinion: The price of store wars

A man was convicted of common assault after a row about carrots.
A man was convicted of common assault after a row about carrots.

We’ve all heard of super-market wars, but I was always under the impression this meant rival stores battling it out to compete on price with the winners being the shoppers. But now it seems store wars have been extended to fisticuffs in the aisles, with people coming to blows over the last items on the shelves.

I thought I’d heard it all when it came to rows over the most ridiculous things… until I heard the recent tale of the pensioner who assaulted another shopper in a supermarket in a brawl over CARROTS.

The cantankerous 71-year-old ended up in court after he blocked a female shopper from getting to the carrots in a Morrison’s store. When the woman asked if she could get to the carrots, he told her: “No you can’t, I’m getting carrots.” He then added: “You’re not getting in front of me. No one is getting in front of me.” The woman told the court how she then reached across and picked up carrots only for the grumpy old man to retaliate by pushing her in the chest and “boxing her ears”.

The man denied her version of events and bizarrely said he pushed her three times in the forehead as self defence as he thought she might have “some kind of missile because I realise ladies carry a lot of merchandise in their bags.” Unbelievable.

Who knew us women all carried dangerous weapons in our handbags? Then again, my own bag is crammed with junk and I often surprise myself with what I pull out.

But even more importantly, who knew going shopping for your five a day could be such a dangerous mission? It seems the sanest of people can turn into raving lunatics when going around the shops with a trolley – or when it comes to driving.

Carrotgate isn’t the only reason supermarkets have been hitting the headlines – there’s been a lot of carry on recently about old bags.

I’m not talking about the old bags who ram you in the ankles with their shopping trolleys, but the old bags we’re being encouraged to re-use to carry our shopping in – or face paying 5p for a new one.

Despite all the fuss we’ve all survived the implementation of the charge and the world hasn’t ground to a halt.

There have, however, been incidents of people either attempting or being accused of trying to steal their shopping baskets rather than forking out for a bag.

While I agree we need to cut down on carrier bag consumption for environmental reasons, I do think the 5p is a hidden tax on the disorganised and spontaneous.

I have resigned myself to the fact that every time I go into a shop, I’ll have to add an average 20p to my final total to pay for the bags. I’ve bought so many Bags For Life recently, I’ll need to live to 120 to get full use out of them. And have I remembered to take any with me when I’ve popped to the shops? Have I heck.

With Christmas shopping about to get into full swing, the carrier bag carry ons are sure to continue.

As for Old Crotchety Carrots, he was found guilty of common assault.

He was ordered to pay £150 compensation, a £60 fine and a £20 surcharge as well as £600 court costs. That could have bought him a lot of carrier bags… and carrots.