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Ready to Rumble?

December 13th, 2010 by admin

Sometimes, when you live in the Hutt, you have to be hard as. No nonsense. Rough as guts. This is one of those times.

The black SUV circles the parking lot, then circles again, the driver spewing profanities. Finally, it wedges into a space and disgorges its passengers.  One, two, three tough-looking blokes, in stubbies and cut-off tees, emerge. Other groups eye them up warily. The ringleader steps down and flicks sunglasses away.  “You know the plan, mates.”

One of the blokes eyes a queue on the sidewalk and asks, wistfully, “Can’t we get a free snarler first?”

“No-ooo!” Helena Hutt shrieks. “Look at that line, you’re not six years old at the kindy fair. It’s bloody Christmas Club day and the sooner we get in and get groceries, the sooner we’re out. Oooh! Grab that cart!”

Inside the grocery store, a sweaty blonde wearing angel wings and halo hands them a list of the evening’s specials, For Christmas Club Members Only.  The specials are sincerely good, and through the customers’ weekly Christmas Club payments, it feels like the groceries are “free.”  This puts the shoppers into a carnivalesque frenzy, buying as if groceries won’t exist tomorrow. Their broods are hopped up on free-sample lollies. Towering couples cram their trolleys to the brim and above with crates of wine and beer, whole hams, five-pound bags of candy, and cheesecakes on special (limit 4 per customer). It’s like shopping in the Land of the Giants.  Small, round Helena is certain that families plan it that way. “Right, we’ll send Uncle Sid, he used to play rugby back, and is your Sharon still working security at that bar? If she goes with him then we’ve got a solid offensive action and a fighting chance at a full case of the sparkling wine.”

Helena has fought fire with fire, recruiting her husband and his brothers as muscle. Once they’re through the all-important wine and beer section, she lets the blokes go free-range. One of them suddenly decides to do all his Christmas shopping. The other one is collecting every free sample going, whether he’ll use them or not –  packets of pomegranate granola, sanitary pads, and cat food find their way into his stubbie pockets. She doesn’t protest. They’ll need the rations to survive the epic check-out line.

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