Grumpy Old Woman – and Pollyanna.

This last week or so, I’ve mainly been a Grumpy Old Woman, it seems – actually, I haven’t really, but I do seem to have been noticing things that have rankled so I’ve decided to have a moan about them all in one go 😛 However, I also read, for the first time, Pollyanna so thought I’d play the Glad Game at the same time.

Grumpy Old Woman: WHAT is the point of Tesco opening 24/7 if at times the aisles are completely blocked, preventing the customer shopping? With being away at mum’s from Wednesday night to Sunday afternoon, I’ve been doing my shopping at 7-7.30am on a Wednesday morning for the last few weeks. Since I’m an early bird anyway, I don’t mind too much and the shop is nice and quiet and relatively empty. Apart from the shelf stackers, that is. Or rather – the cages of items needing to go on the shelves, and just one or two shelf stackers! Now I realise that the shelves need to be restocked AND that for a 24/7 shop, this means doing it whilst the store is open. BUT I DON’T see why it should require multiple cages being abandoned all the way down the aisles, completely blocking them. I also don’t see how anyone can think it a good way of working to have the toiletries aisle staffed by 4 or 5 shelf stackers, sitting in the middle of the aisle with loose products on the floor in front of them, and boxes behind them. Or why, when I had the temerity to wheel my trolley down that aisle, they found it such an unexpected thing to do that they paused in their conversation to glare at me. In unison. Do Tesco WANT me to shop there? I mean, I know it’s ONLY £150 a week, peanuts to them, but surely it’s enough of a spend that I’m worth allowing access to the shelves? I’m seriously considering registering the domain www.tescowatch.info or somesuch and writing a weekly report on their shops in various locations. (After all, I DO regularly use 4 different branches at the moment, and my nearest is easily the worst of the lot.) Pollyanna: I’m glad I CAN do my shopping at this time of the morning as I’d struggle to fit it in otherwise, and I’m glad it is a Tesco in my town since that’s my usual supermarket and I am familiar with their products.

Grumpy Old Woman: If drivers can’t drive with due thought for safety and courtesy they should get the train! I am clocking up a LOT of road miles at the moment and I can’t believe how many drivers there are that are utterly oblivious to the laws of the road – or indeed, those of common sense! Thoughtless drivers fall in to three main categories I think:

1) The nervous driver (usually middle aged women and the elderly!) There are two sub-types of these: 1a)These pootle along at one speed only (usually 40mph for some reason) on 60mph roads and through 30mph zones alike! You’re desperate to get past them but in places where it is safe to do so, they suddenly speed up to 65mph so you can’t, or you’ve just left a 30mph zone and not yet caught them up again as they’d shot on ahead by breaking the speed limit! Grrr! 1b) Second lane hoggers on the motorway. You can spot these easily because as you overtake them they are gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles (in a five-past-one position) and looking straight ahead,to neither right nor left, (and I’m guessing) nor in their mirrors. The inside lane is empty (or possibly there is a lorry a mile ahead, all but out of view) and the only way to properly get round them is to move from the inside lane, behind them and to the outside lane, and then pull in again to the inside lane. Occasionally one might see what happened and realise they are in the wrong lane, but more often than not they continue blithely ignoring all the other cars that are having to do the same. I’ve even seen them force lorries to either undertake or pull out behind them and they’ve STILL not taken the hint. These same drivers seem to be the ones that IF by a miracle they ARE in the inside lane, they are similarly rooted to their route and don’t move over to allow traffic to join the motorway from a slip road. The latter then have to slow to pull out behind the offending vehicle, and straight into the second lane to get back up to speed.

2) The thoughtless driver. Usually a quietly confident man or woman who knows exactly where he or she is going – but doesn’t feel it necessary to let anyone else know where that might be! Indicators are an essential piece of safety equipment on a car! They should ALWAYS be used to tell ANY other road user (including pedestrians) where the driver INTENDS to go. Note – future tense! Indicating whilst already changing direction/lane is NOT useful at all. Neither is not even using the indicator at any point. This drives me mad on roundabouts (I really don’t see what’s so difficult about roundabouts and don’t know why there’s any problem knowing which lane to use or when to indicate) and on dual carriageways/motorways. I admit there are many occasions when I can just TELL that a car is going to pull out/in without indicating so I am not TOO often caught out entirely though it still makes me cross. However, this week there was one that gave no clues at all and tried to pull out into me. Not only had he not indicated, he apparently hadn’t looked in his mirror either as I’d been doing a constant speed and had been in that lane for a reasonable length of time. I couldn’t swerve into the outside lane as there was a car almost alongside me, and the idiot driver had to pull back in. Once I’d passed him he pulled out behind me – gesticulating wildly at me as though it had been my fault!

3) The arrogant driver (despite my rant, I’m not one of these – honest!) These are generally the young – middle aged men who may (or may not) be excellent drivers with fast responses, but fail to recognise that they need to allow for the various abilities of all the other road users, and they are always keen to show off their flashy cars and disregard for speed limits. We’ve all seen them – they overtake on bends, brows of hills, or other blind areas and far from looking clever, simply scare everyone else and force them to make room for them to pull in suddenly. One that I saw a couple of weeks ago is extremely lucky to be alive after overtaking three cars (I was car number 2) and a lorry on a hill, and then barely making an emergency return to the left of the road when the elderly driver in front of me took an age to realise what was happening and brake to allow room. I think we all thought he was a gonner when the oncoming lorry appeared – but then he went and did it again only a little further on! What annoys me most with these idiots, is not that they might kill themselves – but that they would kill or injure innocent drivers caught up in their selfishness. Better to arrive late than never! Whilst I find slow and hesitant drivers irritating, I only ever overtake where I feel I have plenty of room to do so, and a clear view of the road for a good way ahead. For the record, I do think slow drivers who have no good reason (a tractor, horsebox, learner etc has good and obvious reason so these are OK) for being so, should be held accountable when they encourage others to take risks by failing to drive at an APPROPRIATE speed for the road. Pollyanna: I’m glad I CAN drive and that I had such excellent teachers. Pierre (in Eastbourne) was the driving instructor who really taught me to DRIVE (not just pass a test) and I still remember and use many of his instructions 11 years later. (Like one of the worst things you can do in any one way system (especially a roundabout) is to decelerate. And to always get up to the right speed for the road as quickly as possible and then STAY at the right speed. )Then fellow City fan Chris showed me the ropes on motorway driving and taught me drive confidently and assertively on motorways and I’m glad he taught me so well. (I do think he’d make a great driving instructor.)

Grumpy Old Woman: Why can’t patients read notices? With the hospital office being in its new location, patients can’t access us any time like they could in the old office, so we have put up notices telling them when they can see us and there is a bell for them to ring during those times so we can come and see them at reception. It’s been really frustrating getting the hang of this and during the times we are running a clinic and on call, we can’t actually get any other work done – meaning that the all the work has to be done at non-clinic times. So when the bell rang for me one morning when I was NOT available, I went to reception somewhat grumpily and when I’d seen the patient, I moved the bell off the counter saying to the receptionist that I was not accessible until the afternoon. (I wasn’t rude to her, I hasten to add.) She said that she lost track of when we’re there and when not and I pointed out that I had printed a list for the receptionists (who are not actually receptionists but staff from another department temporarily drafted in to cover when there are lots of clinics running – the reception stays closed the rest of the time. NOT ideal at all!) Once back in the office, I felt rather bad about the incident because although I had not been rude, I realised that I probably DID appear to blaming the poor woman on reception. So I went back to her and apologised and told her that I knew it was not her fault, but the silly system that is currently in place. She did appreciate my apology and we chatted further and she suggested printing some slips which patients could take away with them, giving the information on availability and the office telephone number. It was a really good idea so I did so and I think it IS a help to staff and patients alike – and hopefully, to us, the long run. Pollyanna: I’m glad I am not too proud to apologise when I should, and that she was willing to accept my apology. And I’m very glad that we had the opportunity as a result, to find something to help prevent a repeat situation.

So – Yes, I’ve been a bit of a Grumpy Old Woman but really, I’m a Pollyanna and hopefully GOW will wait a lot more years to dominate (if she’s going to do so at all, that is.) 😉

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