Do you remember where you were this day in 1997?

Born Diana Spencer on July 1, 1961, Princess Diana became Lady Diana Spencer after her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer in 1975. She married heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, on July 29, 1981. They had two sons and later divorced in 1996. Diana died in a car crash after trying to escape the paparazzi in Paris ………

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I am not sure if other people remember historic moments and where they were and what they were doing.

Kennith and I were up in Bloemfontein for a dog show.  Dog shows normally start at 08h00, which means you are up before 06h00, to pack, walk the dog, and get to the ground before 07h00.

I was walking our Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Willy (Int Ch and SA Ch Timanlee Wicked Willy of Anfield) on this grass patch.  It was cold, not freezing, and Willy had just taken off to run after birds.  The fact that he is a white dog, and running through mud was not lost on me.

I was sprinting — I am sure it looked like running in slow motion, but to me it felt like I was travelling at the speed of light — I heard Kennith calling me from the guest house — I could not hear him, but based on his volume I took it the entire guest house was now awake.

He ran out to tell me that they had just reported on the news that Diana, Princess of Wales had died.  We sat and watched the footage on Sunday morning, 31 August 1997.

Our friend, who we were sharing the room with, Tim, woke up and saw the news.  Tim being Tim commented that he was deeply saddened as he always felt he had a chance with Diana.

I guess we all cope with sadness in different ways.

The day at the dog show was busy as they are — but people were still talking about Princess Diana and her death.  Initially there was not a lot of information, but tons of speculation.

We returned to Cape Town later the same day and the week that followed could only be described as the collective world crying.

I recall watching it on television and basically sitting there sobbing — not the pretty kind where a tear falls out of the edge of your eye and runs down your cheek in a designer line.  No, mine was more snot bubbles and retching with tears.  Your nose red and raw ….. your eye looking much like sheep’s vaginas.  You know that look.

Every day it got worse, as I still was not finished crying from the day before —- and it seemed everyone was crying.  Life just came to a stand still — you were either talking about her, her death, her boys and the flowers outside the palace or you were crying in unison.

There was telephonic coverage across Sky, the BBC and CNN 24 hours a day -and it just did not stop being sad.

The funeral on the 6 September 1997 was a full day of crying.   Her brother’s eulogy made everyone cry the little bit of salt and liquid they may have held in their body.  Elton John’s tribute was literally the final straw ….. if you were not already hysterical with the pain of it all, then that sent you off into the oblivion.

No matter what you may think of feel about her actions – she was a mother, and she left her two children without her love and protection.  I still find thinking about her and how she died left an almost permanent impression on me.

It is hard to grasp that was 18 years ago.

And this woman touched us all in such a profound manner.

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Woolworths stepping up to a change in the way they merchandise their store ….

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I have written about Woolworths on several occasions – in general I am quite complimentary.

They are my sole supplier of Chuckles, and then there is their rotisserie chicken which is actually finger looking good — not like the other chicken, which once eaten makes you want to deeply consider retching as an option to finish the meal.

I have as usual strayed away from my point.

I can’t recall where this original conversation started but the discussion was about the way Woolworths (and most retailers) pack the small, impulse purchases along the line of where you are waiting for a till to open up.

And the mayhem it creates with parents with young children.

I for one, have often thrown in items whilst standing in that same queue that I do not need, but I do that “eeeehhh” sound and then toss it in my trolley.

It happens.  It’s a phenomenon that has been observed among shoppers, and it’s the reason that Woolworths and other retailers do it.

Basically retailers know so much about us and our behaviour that they arrange their stores using various models to ensure they aim us to the product we probably want.

I love the idea of retail psychology and why we behave a certain way.  There are words like “bum brush” and it appears it is not only me that smells clothing as part of the retail process.

We are all animals, who behave along a fairly clear line of expected behaviour.  Sure there will be the odd person who comes along and goes left instead of right (or right before left) on entering the store.  I can’t recall which is the correct way we “naturally” go and stores design and merchandise accordingly.

The point of the matter is they (the retailers) know what we are going to do, they guide us to do it, and then place products in front of us that we cannot resist.

This long intro brings us to the of RUNNING THE GAUNTLET to the till to pay when the aisles are stacked 3 or 4 levels high with sweets.

You can hear the whining all the way down the aisle, the teeth gnashing and the eventual reverting to crying in frustration.

And that is just from the parents.

Usually the “let’s part with a lot of money after this queue” moves reasonably quickly, but no matter how quick it goes you will have a child going “Mooooooommmmmmmmmmmmiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeee …….. I waaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnttttt this, can I have thiiiiiiiiiiisssssssssssss……….. please, mommie please, mommie please… ”

Mommie is repeated to the point, where ever human being is now staring at that child, thinking ugly thoughts.

“Mommie please” is usually done in an escalating whining voice, dragging each vowel out, and only stops after sufficient people have turned around to stare at the child (not the mother, we all feel for the mother) but we stare at that child a bit like those children act in The Village of the Damned.  Group “think” and together we are hoping that that child instantly falls asleep.  Or disappears.  Which ever is easiest.

Not dead sleep, just sufficient sleep immediately so the whining can stop.

{this is without a doubt why I wear a head set permanently and listen to music at a volume which could be referred to as slightly too loud}

We feel for the moms and dads ….. because shit balls it is not an easy adventure. If you have kids and you have attempting to leave the house to exchange money for goods, then this has happened to you.

If it hasn’t, then either you are lying or you are really able to switch off to your child like no one’s business.

I have a very simple theory about whining and it is probably rooted in my theories behind dog training.

If you are seriously thinking about having a child, get a dog, say three years before.

Spend the time training your dog until you have a well behaved dog who listens to commands, goes outside when you say, does not hop onto the furniture unless invited and also does not fucking eat the couch when you are out.

Dogs are a fabulous introduction to having a child.  There are many similarities.  Seriously if you can get it right with a dog, train them, having a loving relationship with them, but they still know you are the alpha male, then you are nearly 80% there to parenting.

Children are basically designed to get what ever they want.  Do you think they are made with those super big heads, large innocent eyes and the pout so they are good at manual labour?  No.

They are designed to play on our emotions — which may also explain why Donald Trump has done so much with so little and continues to up to this point.  Potential President Elect?  I think that is the sound of the four horses of the Apocalypse right there <makes clippety clop sound with coconut shells from Monty Python skit>.

I know the right words are “guide” and “nurture” but it is almost the same thing.  You are teaching your child not to go outside when you say no, not to climb onto the table when you say no, not to lick the dog when you say no, and most importantly not to fucking eat the couch.

The trick to training a dog, and a child, is to never give in. Not once.

Once you have set a rule/a line/a this is as far as this shit is going to go vantage point.  Then stick to it, even though you want to give in.  Even if you decide “listen I am so over this shit, just let the child have 100kg of straight sugar and I will mainline it in ….” even then, stick to your guns.  Hold back.  Hold firm.

Why?

Once you give in, your child learns that the issue is not whether you will give in or not, because you are going to give it —- eventually —- you have just proven that, the question is simply “when” — and when means that the whining and crying needs to be kept up until the point is reached where you go “fuck it, have it already….”

Kids are clever little people.  Even though they have mucus on their faces and can sit in their faeces for 3 hours and have little in the way of verbal communication.  Babies are baisically lumps of lard we carry around for months before they start to exhibit some sort of a personality and are able to keep some of their body secretions inside their body.

When I look at babies I am often left wondering “how the fuck did we become the top predator in this food chain ……. I mean crikes ……….”

Back to the original point – parents trying to get through a stressful shopping experience, after work, trying to rush home before they get food going and having to keep saying NO, NO, NO, NO the entire way down the check out aisle is exhausting. Add a second or third child into that trolley and it becomes the Jim Rose Circus in no time.

For them.  For us.  For everyone except the retailer who is going to get a few “fuck, yes, take it ….. fuck it” and then this reinforces the way the aisles are designed.

In a not so suprising announcement Woolworths have opted to pull sweets out of these aisles – you can read it on their Facebook page

Parents? Good news. We’re going to remove all sweets and chocolates from the check out aisles.

We know that the ‘kids gauntlet’ is a real challenge for those of us committed to teaching our children healthy eating habits… and we want to help make that easier.  Read more about it and people’s comments on their Facebook Page.

— they have not told us what they are going to put in it’s place, so we wait with mild anticipation.

Woolworths I personally think this frees up a lot of space to keep a few bottles of wine displayed.  What would you like to see in their check out aisles?

Anyway, well done Woolworths, you have several moms smiling in joy, and several people who only remember to buy jelly beans whilst standing in the same aisle feeling really annoyed.

Now they are going to need to abandon the aisle and go and find those crazy good jelly beans.  {That crazy person running whilst abandoning her children in the queue would be me if that ever pops up on your security video feed.}

You can’t win it all.  But at least you aren’t losing …..right?