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Thursday, 5 July 2012

Shopping Failure #2 (F*** grocery shopping)

~or~ Do not go to your secondary supermarket when you are slightly elsewhere.

YOU are going to the secondary supermarket because you want to find specific items. Specific items from a specific range of meat-in-sauce pouch products that were particularly delicious when you had them last weekend.

That is all you want, that and some rice to accompany. Your primary supermarket does not do that range, though it is cheaper and easier to find stuff there, because you know it so well.

You have been dozing after work. It’s hot – the collar is popped, the sleeves are unevenly rolled and, hell, the shirt is even un-tucked on one side, but that suits your lazy shuffling mood just fine tonight.

Your mind has been intensely pre-occupied with an irrelevant but seemingly intensely important train of thought on the way there. You are properly thinking this guff, whatever it is, properly through. As you stride loose-of-limb through the swish-glass you are having interesting revelations about something or other – hmm, never thought of it that way before, that’s good stuff, must remember that.

The first inkling that maybe you’re not in the right frame of mind for Taking Care of Grocery Business is when you realise you have walked all the way down two aisles and only just noticed what’s missing. Ah. No basket.

That’s fine. You grab one. Feeling good. Hell, yeah! Got yo basket, let’s groove.

Now it’s all very well enjoying swinging the empty basket around like a five-year-old, wondering how much of that you can get away with before people will think you’re weird. But now you are by the breads, and you didn’t come here for breads. Get a grip: focus on the task at hand.

You wander back down the aisles looking for likely pouches. Ah! Here is the rice. Good. Shopping half done. But... shouldn’t the meat-in-sauce product also be here? There’s rice. There’s sauces. No. Where would it be? With the tinned goods? Here are the tinned goods... oh, no, that’s just tinned tomatoes. Apparently an aisle of tinned tomatoes. Where are the tinned goods that are not tomatoes?

But, hmm, yeah, that really was an interesting revelation you were having before... oh hang on where are you now?

You are by the cheese. That means just round the aisle is the chilled meats on one side and ready meals on the other, maybe one of those will be where the meat-in-sauce is and... kettles?! You fool! You were getting confused with the primary supermarket. You are not there now. Your unconsciously ingrained store map will not help you here, in the exotic realm of the secondary supermarket. Here you have to look and think, use your stealth and cunning.

Another aimless amble around, seeking only to spot the familiar pouch, and nothing is doing.

Right, this is getting silly. Let’s do a systematic, aisle by aisle sweep. Chilled meats, no. Ready meals, no. Miscellaneous refrigerated items, no, but now you’re hungry and you like the look of those unhealthy cheese-based snacks. Just one, or two, and moving on. Ah here’s the tinned goods – and there they are, there’s the sneaky pouches... oh no, they’re all soup. Same brand, just soup. What gives?

“World foods”, no. Spices and sauces, no. Back to the rice and pasta, no, but now you’re damn hungry and you like the look of that penne. Just one, or two, and moving on. Sugar and coffee, no. Cakes, no... and you’re back at the f***ing breads! F*** you, breads! You didn’t come here for no muthaf***ing bread!

All that lies beyond this point is the "adult cereals", and you’re not venturing down that sleazy avenue. Far too racy, you wouldn’t know where to look.

The signs are not helping. It’s possible the fabled-in-myth pouches would be in the “meal solutions” section. They do constitute, after all, the solution to your meal problem that you were after. You’re not interested in all this damn food, you want solutions, dammit!

But the meal solutions have gone, or moved, since your last visit, there are no solutions here. Another hazard of the occasional nature of the secondary supermarket experience: things move around.

You do a second, quick but neck-snappingly efficient sweep, and then a third, back down but via a different route. Nought. It’s like you imagined the aeons-craved-after meat-in-sauce pouches in a delirious, feverish night-vision. Or they have simply all turned into soup overnight.

Enough. You have been here too long. You’re going. You rock up at the self-service check-out and plonk your extremely light basket down.

Well, what a failure. But still, what was that interesting revelation you were having earlier... ah yes, that was interesting. What a thought that was... You get your wallet out, put your card in the chip-and-pin machine and it’s two beats before you realise you haven’t scanned any items yet.

Oh, Holy Moses! What's wrong with you? You are seriously elsewhere tonight. You let out a nervous half-laugh, hoping no-one saw you do that. You casually scan the items you never came in here for, and wander out, shaking your head, sans elusive, delicious meat-in-sauce pouches and worried about your sanity. Maybe the secondary supermarket has just run out of stock.

Rice, pasta and two unhealthy cheesed-based snacks it is, then. Sounds like tea to you.


  1. Related posts: http://myfailureatmodernliving.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/shopping-failure-f-bargains.html

  2. Indeed they do!

    Glad to hear you're getting plenty of carbs and protein. Better luck next time with the pouches.

  3. I'm pretty sure they deliberately move things around to get people wandering about lost and confused, gawping at products they wouldn't normally consider.

    I also suspect Walkers crisps changed the traditional flavour/colour combination for a similar reason. Gets people to accidently try new flavours. I can think of no other plausible reason for Salt and Vinegar to be green.

  4. Couldn't you have just bought a curry? Meat in sauce, right there.

  5. Yes, I could. I could have done that. I could have bought a hundred different alternative teas, or even something very similar to go with my rice, but for some reason I decided because that one thing wasn't there I COULDN'T BE BOTHERED WITH TEA. Or shopping. And that was that. It wasn't a huff - it was just evening meal ennui.

    No, I don't understand me either, sometimes.

    (In my defence, I had stuff to eat at home, I just fancied that particular thing)