The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
3:33pm on Saturday, 22nd January, 2005:
I have a choice of which supermarket to go to. ASDA and Sainsbury's are closest, Tesco's is about twice as far, and the Co-Op is in between. ASDA is cheapest and they do good bread, but they often don't have stuff I want and they tend to lose their bread kudos by putting it out too soon so it gets these solid mulchy bits near the crust. Sainsbury's always overcook their bread, which my wife particularly hates, and they're quite pricey. Tesco's has the best selection but their bread is like grey, inflated glue. The Co-Op's bread is always high quality, but their store is smaller and doesn't have a lot of the other stuff we need. There's also a local Co-Op that's being replaced by a larger purpose-build property next door (whereupon the original will hopefully be turned into a car park). This is convenient, but the most expensive of all.
OK, well today I went to Sainsbury's. I still haven't forgiven ASDA for trapping me in their car park for 75 minutes last month, and besides, I wanted some Parmesan cheese. All that ASDA has in that line is some "Italian grated cheese" that looks and tastes like sawdust.
Here are a few recollections of things that caught my attention as I did the weekly shop.
I had to get money out of the cashpoint for my wife. She'd asked for £40. The machine would do £30 or £50 but not £40. My wife is not an average person.
The first four trolleys I looked at had plastic bags in them, of the kind used for loose vegetables. I rejected them: those things collect water and it gets all over your purchases.
There was a woman outside the shop handing out fliers for some Rosemary Conley fitness thing. Strangely, she didn't give one to me.
The cold food section is just beyond the fresh vegetables. That means I have to get all my cold stuff near the start of the shop then push it around for the next half an hour. I always cram it together so it doesn't warm up so quickly, but it would be a lot more conventient if they put the cold stuff at the far end of the store instead. Are they trying to get us all food poisoned from prematurely defrigerated meat and pizzas?
There was no freshly-grated Parmesan cheese. I had to go with Sainsbury's own brand of sawdust-presenting substitute.
It's amazing how many times the people on the cold meats counter hear "400 grams" as "four slices".
Oh-oh, no Heinz Tomato and Chilli Sauce. My elder daughter is on a Heinz Tomato and Chilli Sauce kick at the moment. She's going to be livid. I get a squeezy bottle of Heinz Chilli sauce instead. With any luck, she can brew her own by mixing it with regular ketchup.
Don't they sell superglue in this shop? Rats.
Where are the 12-pack Cadbury's Creme Eggs? I'm going to have to buy two 6-packs. That'll cost me pence more.
I also got a 3-pack of Nestle's Double Cream Eggs, because my younger daughter doesn't like Creme Eggs. I worry that she might be some kind of freak.
I picked up a chicken curry. It was covered in ice. I managed to scrape much of it off in the nearby frozen vegetable section, but then another shopper wanted to get some frozen vegetables out so I stopped. The curry is for my younger daughter. There's got to be something wrong with her tastebuds.
No sign of the Weight Watchers Calzone that my kids like. I got myself one several months ago but didn't get to eat it because my elder daughter got it first. I was pleasantly surprised she and her sister liked it, because it was something I could actually cook for them after school. Heinz must have got wind of this, because they seem to have stopped doing them now.
A man was trying to sell Sainsbury's energy supplies to people. He accused one woman of getting her current (I don't think he recognised the pun) supplies from a German-owned company, whereas Sainsbury's was 100% British. The woman replied, "Are you saying I'll get a better service just because Sainsbury's is British?". He switched to talking about how meters were often poorly calibrated but that Sainsbury's would check every 6 months so it wouldn't be. She said hers had last been checked 3 months ago.
There were two fat kids, girls aged about 6 and 9. The older one noticed that their father was missing, whereupon the younger one began howling for her mother. This lasted for maybe 10 minutes. The only break was when the older child was getting a tub of ice cream (I've no idea why) and the younger one complained that no, she wanted the other sort. Then she remembered her non-food priority and started howling for her mother again.
No Quaker's Puffed Wheat. I had to buy Sainsbury's own brand. That means I can look forward to an inch of settled husks when I reach the bottom, which constitute a fair proportion of the product's stated weight.
Got to the bread: overcooked as usual.
Hey! Cadbury's are doing digestive biscuits! I bought a full pack of McVitie's last week so I didn't need any more, but damn! Cadbury's! I invested in a pack.
I walked past a man who looked just like Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. Assuming it wasn't the real Gerry Adams, it just goes to show how far political attitudes in this country have moved on since the Good Friday Agreement. How many more Gerry Adams clones are there now able to walk the streets once more without fear of reprisal?
At the checkout, I see that the ice from the frozen chicken curry has melted off and sogged open the packet the Nestle's Double Cream Eggs were in. Luckily, inside the pack the eggs are in their own plastic packets, inflated to make them look like they're bigger than they really are. They should be dry come eating-them time.
I saw the howling fat girl (now silent) and her older fat sister at the adjacent checkout with their (you guessed it) fat father. No sign of any mother.
Outside, a child of about 4 was running along the path with a lollipop in his mouth. If he'd tripped, the stick would have gone right out of the back of his head. You'd have heard about it on the TV News. They never do seem to fall over, though.
I saw the still silent but formerly howling fat girl and her older far sister getting into their car with their fat father, who then drove off. No-one else was in the car. Great idea, howling fat girl: if you're in a shop with your father and you lose him, shout for your mother.
I noticed the brakes on my car were making a clucking noise when I released them. Maybe there's a chicken roosting under the bonnet or something.
I visited the local Co-Op for some bread. 84p for three small rolls.
I got home and spotted that one member of a 4-pack of tinned tomatoes I'd bought has a huge dent in the side.
I remembered that I needed some money out of the cashpoint myself, too.
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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (email@example.com).