It is a mistake going to the supermarket in the morning. It is relatively empty, this is true. It is mainly populated by the insomniac early-rising elderly who shuffle around slowly leaning on their trollies as though slightly unreliable zimmer frames. (I am indistinguishable from them in my somnambulant gait and glazed expression.) The queues at the checkouts are not very long. However the “reduced for quick sale” sections are utterly empty. Denuded by bargain hunters such as myself the previous day they have not yet been restocked with produce reaching its sell-by date in the ensuing 12 hours.
I really like these sections. Not only do you get staples at a reduced rate which you can shove in the freezer for future reference if appropriate but also there are items which it wouldn’t normally occur to me to buy. Best of all, though, is the posh stuff, the really poncey products made with organic this and hand-reared that and witty cartooned packaging on faux-recycled brown board. Price reduced to the realm of reality it is often pleasing to take such things home, prepare and discover that they don’t taste much better than the bog-standard version and sometimes, due to the eccentricity of their heterogeneous exotic ingredients, worse.
The bog-standard supermarket “own brand” version of things, usually called “value” or “basics” or something equally encouragingly frugal (certainly not “bog-standard”) is readily distinguishable by its uniform packaging. Crisps, chewing gum, tinned tomatoes, orange juice, sliced bread – all the same livery.
At my nearest supermarket each product is also emblazoned with a jaunty little slogan. The Cornish pasties, for instance, tell me “a bit more veg, just as tasty”. This is clearly code for “microscopic amounts of meat”, but that doesn’t bother me. It was the multi-pack packet of crisps which annoyed. The “how we claim to save money without making it taste too much scuzzier than the expensive stuff” part of its dyadic utterance proclaimed “no fancy packaging”. Oh come on, give me a break. Do you mean to tell me that all these carefully balanced little bons mots were dreamt up by the staff during their lunch hours? Such sloganeering doesn’t come cheap down the local PR company, I’ll be bound.
And while I’m being annoyed, why is it, I wonder, that the recently-introduced clothing range does not cater for children over the age of 10? It’s very annoying not to be able to get cheap basic trousers, t-shirts, underwear and pyjamas for firstborn at the same time as secondborn. There is nothing between age 10 (and very very few items available in that size anyway) and adult. Makes no sense.
Yes. I really have written an entire post about going to the supermarket. My life moves between the sinuous confines of the three Ss – supermarket, school and shrink. They are all within a mile of my house, albeit variously south, east and north. Thank goodness for the vast landscape of the internet. And please let my camera be mended soon.