As the saying goes 'had to nip out to the shops' this morning, for a couple of items. I went to put petrol in the car at the Shell petrol station in Grafton Street and then went to Asda. It was a huge mistake, as the carpark was virtually full to bursting and I had trouble finding a space. Once I'd parked I realized that the whole place was packed with shoppers, going crazy. Why do people have a sort of siege mentality in the days leading up to Christmas Day? Do they imagine that everything is going to sell out IMMEDIATELY? I think that is very unlikely, particularly on things such as mince pies, wrapping paper, tinsel, Christmas tree lights, baubels and puddings. If you are so desperate for such items, surely you would have purchased them weeks ago. Looking at some of the trolleys which were being pushed around the store, you'd think we were in for some short of invasion. I managed to grab most of the items on my list, but then I couldn't find coleslaw. I wandered up and down the aisles, but to no avail. Had I gone to Sainsbury's, Tesco, Lidl or even Aldi I might have managed to find this item straightaway. I can never work out the logic of the way they manage to put stuff on the shelves in supermarkets, so would coleslaw be in the chilled section? With salads? I gave up in the end, as the place was getting over-crowded. On arriving at the point where I needed to pay, I went round to the tills. The queues were getting longer and longer so I decided to use a self-service check-out. I had to stand in a queue behind a lady who had quite a large amount of items to check trough the till, so I put my items on the conveyer belt. She was having real problems getting the machinery to read the bar-codes on some of her items, so an assistant came to help her. You have to make sure you put scanned items onto the bagging area, as the system doesn't know it's there until it is placed in a bag or in the bagging area. You can't always manage to get the plastic bags opened so that can cause a problem and people behind you get somewhat impatient. Anyway, she managed to scan all her items and pay and I managed to put my few items through, pay and then leave. The self-service tills take ages to 'read' paper banknotes when you feed them into the slot. The lady in front of me had to feed in around £90-worth of notes into the wretched thing, which seem to take quite a while. Made me laugh at the end, though, when the machine said, in it's somewhat patronising tone of voice 'thank you for using the fast-track check-out'. Fast? I think not. It's also the fact that the machine has to tell the whole world when you've made a mistake, usually at the loudest volume possible, which doesn't make things any easier, and you just can't wait to get out of the supermarket.