Imagine if you will, the scene at your local supermarket at some point in the future, during a shopping hour reserved and exclusive to the over 60s.
Welcome to “Boomer Hour”. It is the creation of a frustrated younger generation, furious that old people take too long in the supermarkets to do their shopping. Social media has been alight with debate that too many oldies are taking up space in the aisle and spending too long at the checkout.
A social media poll suggested those of retirement age should be mindful of time-poor workers, students, and busy parents — and not shop at peak times but leave the aisles clear for busy younger shoppers. The issue made news in the national media and as expected has polarised opinion. Sometimes stressed younger people have vented about oldies cluttering up the supermarket aisles, while the Over 60s= the much-maligned boomer generation = have voiced frustration about the sense of entitlement from the kids they brought into the world.
One of the comments over 60s could make to the younger ones is this = we invented supermarkets so we know better than you how they’re supposed to work. Amid claims that restricting old people to specific shopping hours in supermarkets is ageism at its worst, let me paint a picture of what a supermarket could be like if we had ”Boomer hour” shopping….
It’s a typical morning at a major shopping centre except at the supermarket where there are large signs on the window proclaiming that only those of retirement age or older are allowed through the doors between the hours of 10 and 11 AM. This is Boomer Hour. All of the disabled car parks near the supermarket are full and the aisles are cluttered with mobility scooters, walking aids and supermarket trolleys pushed by people who can’t quite remember why they came into this building in the first place.
The in-store entertainment system plays Mantovani and his orchestra music from the 1950s while shoppers shuffle along the aisles peering at the products on the shelves and reminding themselves to wear their spectacles the next time they go shopping. The volume on the store PA system is turned up to Max to announce the Boomer hour specials which only reminds some of the shoppers to change the batteries on their hearing aids.
Some of those with hearing difficulties are engaged in rather loud conversations with supermarket staff as they make their way around the supermarket trying to find their shopping necessities…
“What aisle are suppositories in?”
“They’re down the back in aisle one”
“Speak up sonny! did you say aisle bum? “.
Mantovani’s music is drowned out by frustrated old folk navigating a maze of supermarket aisles. Check outs are a particular nightmare. Elderly shoppers cluster about the cash registers emptying handbags on the counter as they look for Eftpos cards that must be in the bag somewhere. Other shoppers queue impatiently and tempers flare.
Eventually, the elderly shopper leaves the supermarket and remembers at the door that they forgot to buy milk. So back they come to repeat the process.
The great joy in this for older shoppers is knowing that this is the fate that awaits the impatient younger ones grizzling about old people taking up space in the supermarket aisles. We are just preparing them for their future. I hope they like Mantovani music.