MARTIN Stevenson says: In an air-conditioned Lonnie supermarket, sheltering from the certain threat of global warming- induced sunburn and madness, you know things aren't quite right when your columnist starts humming along to the store jingle.
"Down, down, prices are down."
You know the line, as also heard on the idiot box accompanied by a hectoring voice flogging meat and bananas.
Not only does the brain tune into that annoying commercial but we're suddenly moved to perform a few Michael Jackson-type dance steps in time to the catchy toon blurting from the speakers.
Right there in the "12 items or less" checkout queue, no less.
The moonwalking caper really seems to annoy fellow shoppers.
We have a sneaking suspicion that this irregular line of chronologically challenged people, worn down by life (plus plastic baskets containing frozen peas and incontinence pads), have better things to do than watch some hyperactive fool juggling 13 cans of beans while simultaneously tripping the light fantastic.
At precisely that moment the store jingle is rudely interrupted by a crackling tannoy and a monotonously toned voice much like federal Greens leader Christine Milne: "Charlene, register six, price check on condoms, er, regular size."
No, and this is totally amazing, that's followed by ear-piercing Jimi Hendrix-like feedback from the same sound system before some weird, urgent and staccato delivery so obviously a moonlighting Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz: "Screaming kid required in aisle 3."
Although we may have misheard that one.
We've heard that it's supermarket policy that somewhere down at least one aisle, or around a freezer unit, there has to be a real, live, bawling brat to annoy everyone.
Especially distracting when you're doing difficult stuff like remembering whether you've run out of bog rolls.
Here's a hint to supermarket management: Why not just record a CD of a small child being obnoxiously loud and crying and play it back over the PA?
It works fine on plane cabin intercoms, although that may be only in economy class.
Mind you, supermarkets do have the edge here with additional kiddie-type pleading of "I want THAT one, THAT one, THAT one" while gesticulating at a chocolate bikkie display.
It's around this time when you're at the checkout and thinking what you would like to do to the jingle singer with that great big red pointing finger, when you stop mid- Moonwalk and have a mind-blowing thought.
Hey, what are all these people doing here in Kings Meadows at 5pm on a Friday?
Nowadays, most supermarkets are open somewhere between 6am and midnight seven days a week so why does every man and his missis have to do their shopping and queue at the checkout on Friday afternoon?
Give me some space, people, come in and do your shopping on a Sunday around 9pm.
What's that you say? What am I doing here on Friday at fiveish?
Good point, I'll rock in at 6.05am in future.
And as a bonus, maybe supermarket managements could offer a time, say a window of opportunity early morning, or late one evening, when no announcements or music, and especially no hectoring messages from Milne or Abetz, are played for an entire hour.
No Donna Summer, Elvis Presley, Bee Gees, The Eagles' Don Henley, Leonard Cohen or a shop manager yelling "Darren go to the manager's office", and especially the up-tempo contemporary music you can't quite put your finger on and that annoys you even while you're swinging your bulging plastic bags into the boot of the vehicle.
Unlike the jingle they play between songs to soothe the savage customer.
Down, down, prices are down.
Oops, can't seem to get that out of my head.