Safety | Electricity | Supermarkets | Shocking

Would You Expect a Shocking Experience at the Supermarket?

Perhaps the response from the staff member was the most shocking part

Alan (AJ) Autistic Widower
3 min readSep 7, 2022


Throughout the week, you can often find me buying a handful of items at my nearest supermarket. (I’m not quite sure if I go so often because I’m lonely, or to minimise waste and look for special offers!)

They have three types of checkout:

  • The old type, with people. Yes — actual humans
  • Self-checkouts with conveyor belts — these are my favourites
  • Self-checkouts for hand baskets

A few days ago, I was just finishing using one of my preferred self-checkouts. On that occasion, I’d used a basket instead of a trolley.

People tend to put their empty baskets at the front of the conveyor, which is what I tried to do.

The checkout had a cardboard display stand promoting batteries, in front of the place for empty baskets.

I bent down to slide my basket into the gap between the battery stand and the conveyor. And it’s a good job I didn’t just shove it in!


What I saw was quite surprising (or even shocking ⚡️😉) for a public place like that.

There was a mains socket which was damaged and hanging off!

Imagine if the socket had come off — the live wires could have touched the metal basket and given me an electric shock!

After seeing that, I found somewhere else to leave my basket.

Customer service desk

Despite wondering if they might blame me for something that was already damaged, I couldn’t just leave the shop without telling someone. So I waited near the customer service desk on my way out.

After a few minutes, I spoke to a staff member who happened to come and stand nearby. I explained what I’d found, and he said:

“I’m a trained spark. I know exactly what you mean…”

He went on to say:



Alan (AJ) Autistic Widower

Former electronics engineer & programmer in England, 50-something with a dry sense of humour. Sharing stories & opinions. Tip jar: