Angela Cuming reflects on her son’s happy place in Hamilton.
When my son Charlie, who is three, has been especially good or adorable I will treat him
by taking him anywhere in Hamilton that he wants to go. And every time he says he wants to go to the Peachgrove Road Countdown.
So we climb into the car and zip down Wairere Drive and his little face gets red in
excitement and he pulls against the car seat restraints and basically goes nuts until he sees the car park.
He has to be held back because he will try and run straight into the supermarket.
When the sliding doors open he starts to skip and sing loudly his Countdown song. ”I am
having so much fun, Charlie is having so much fun, I love the Countdown”.
I suppose it may seem odd to some that a little boy loves a supermarket so much, but for
those who know and love the Peachgrove Road Countdown this will really not be much of a surprise. It really is the best supermarket in Hamilton, probably the country.
That Charlie loves it is a no-brainer. They have a basket of free fruit on offer for kids, and
they all make a beeline for it when they walk in.
You sweep around the corner out of the fruit and veg section and find yourself close to
aisle number three – the Golden Aisle – which is labelled ”stationery and confectionery”
but really should be renamed ”Hot Wheels cars and Kinder Surprises” because that’s
basically all that kids want from there. (It’s also handily near the wine section, but be
careful because I once got distracted there comparing the cost of Aussie v Kiwi merlots
and Charlie wandered off – although to be fair I quickly found him hovering near the Hot
But it’s not the convenience of having the chocolates and wine so close to each other that
really makes this supermarket great (although it’s a big part of it for me, to be honest). What Charlie, and I, love about the place is the people that work there.
I am sure somewhere out there on some motivational Pintrest board there is a saying that goes something like ”A supermarket is only as good as its staff is great” and if it exists then surely it was created with Peachgrove Road in mind.
We love everyone that works there. We love the security guards that Charlie thinks are police officers and who go along with the ruse because a little boy is looking at them with awe and wants to touch their police badge.
We love the brave souls who are out in the freezing rain rounding up trolleys and who always stop and help customers lift heavy bags into their cars, all with a smile and a genuine warmth. We (actually just I) love the younger staff members who still ask me for ID when I buy my cheap wine and still listen to all my lame jokes about how I am only buying the wine to cook with and one day I may put some in the food (it’s all in the delivery).
There’s the lovely women who serve us on the checkouts who patiently wait for Charlie to hand over his Kinder Surprises to be scanned and then let him start eating them before they have been paid for. They are the women who ask me how my three boys are and remember I have twins at home and genuinely want to know if I am getting enough sleep / time away from them / wine and who scan the store Club card because I am always too muddled to remember to bring mine with me.
They are the staff who have not made me feel like a complete dick when I did a massive
shop and then realised I had left my wallet at home and made jokes to stop me from
bursting into tears when I dropped a cartoon of eggs on the flood out of sheer fatigue and
who tell me about their kids who are grown up and never come home from Christmas and remind me that my own kids are growing up fast and to not take anything for granted.
They laugh at all my lame jokes and don’t judge me for buying a tin of baked beans for my dinner while the cats get roast chicken and don’t judge when Charlie opens up a Hot Wheel while he’s still wandering the aisles and always seem to have cans of sugar-free V on sale.
So thank you, Peachgrove Road Countdown. You may just be a supermarket but to my
little boy you are his favourite place in Hamilton and this tired wine mum thinks you
represent everything that is good and great about this wonderful city we call home.
Angela Cuming is a Hamilton writer who has three boys aged three and under. She hasn’t slept in four years but has drunk a lot of wine and has done a lot of grocery shops. Follow her on Twitter @angelacuming.