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11:53am on Saturday, 19th May, 2007:

Sainsbury's Vignette


What with today being the FA Cup final and all, Sainsbury's was busier than usual as people tried to get their shopping out of the way so they could spend the afternoon shouting at the television in the hope that this will cause all members of both teams to be sent off. Here's some of what I noticed as I wandered from aisle to aisle.

A white-haired woman dressed as if she were 24 (ie. a third of her age), which, given that this is Essex, was somewhat alarming.

I have a supernatural gift for spotting perfect bananas. I don't know where it came from, but I can look at lines of bananas and choose the one bunch that is the perfect ripeness to eat. Today, I saw that one bunch, but I couldn't get to it because the white-haired woman (see above) was dithering in front of the banana shelves blocking access with her trolley. When she couldn't seem to decide which bunch to pick up, she took one at random — my bunch.

A shelf-stacker whose name badge read "Ish". Next to him was another shelf-stacker, whose name badge read "Tash".

Why do they sell huge multi-packs of crisps that contain 26 smaller packs? Why 26? They also sell multi-packs of 30. Who eats 30 packets of crisps before they reach their expiry date? Isn' t that the kind of thing that could double your life insurance premium if people found out?

Ribena is, famously, a blackcurrant cordial. But what's this? "Berry Burst Ribena"! Apparently, they do it in a new flavour that has raspberries and brambles and stuff in it. That sounds kinda tasty. Mind you, so did the "Blueberry Ribena" they did for roughly one month before they sold out. I'm not falling for that trick again. It'll be Peppermint Ribena before long.

I picked up half a dozen eggs, opened the box to check whether they were cracked or not, and was assaulted by the overwhelming stink of (warning: incoming technical term) chicken shit. I'm fine with free range eggs, but really, how hard is it to wash them before you put them in a box?

Two old women discussing the merits of various brands of toilet paper with each other. You really don't want to know how far their conversation had advanced...

Being rammed by a trolley that came out of nowhere at speed. At the end of one aisle, narrowing the main central cross aisle, was a stack of large TV sets. Next to that was a special trolley and a Sainsbury's employee, who was in the process of loading it up with a TV for two customers (although for some reason they didn't want the top TV set, they wanted one at the back; perhaps it had a later expiry date). This left a gap wide enough for one trolley to get through. The trolley in front of me went, then one in the opposite direction went, then I went, then from the side another trolley zoomed out into what the driver thought was a gap, crunching into my trolley. They need road markings in that place, if not traffic lights.

No final reference to the white-haired woman. Although that would have tied up this set of vignettes nicely, sadly I'm only recording reality, not writing narrative fiction.

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Copyright © 2007 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).