Sunday, 24 February 2013

Supermarket swept

So the supermarkets took a bit of a pasting in the press recently, they’ve only got themselves to blame though. Passing off old, haggard Romanian horses as beef is just not cricket, not even polo. I’m not here though to pull a load of horse gags for that would be far too easy, done by every sad comedian and even a few that are clearly not. Horseplay, horsing around, there’s more material there then Prince Harry. The local butchers are milking it as people are put off buying meat at the supermarket. The thing is though, it’s not the state of the meat that is the problem; it’s the deception, the lie. Makes you wonder what other product’s ingredients are being lied about. I mean take fish fingers, you can’t pull the wool over my eyes; fish don’t even have fingers.

Baked Alaska found to have no traces of any American state; Jaffa Cakes are more like biscuits than cake and gateau with no trace of forest let alone a Black one. I bought some cheese strings to discover no string was actually used. It’s a disgrace that is what it is; Pot Noodles should have a little bit of pot in surely?

Thing is I like supermarkets, from a psychological perspective, any psychologist (of which I’m not, thanks to spell-check I only just managed to spell it proper like) could get a wealth of research here at the supermarket.

I love watching the mums that take their kids to the supermarket for the sole purpose of losing their temper with them. Beating up a child anywhere else is strictly frowned upon today but when in the supermarket you know the bored kid has gone AWOL and accept that they probably deserved it. I mean it’s not like shopping is the ultimate activity to define the word “boring” for the under 10s. It’s not like a team of overpaid designers and marketing experts have carefully crafted the display and labelling of these products to catch ones eye and draw them into desiring them. For your kid to perpetually scream that they want that is a good signal to the customer that the design team have done a good job. I feel a designer and marketing expert should be present in every aisle, ready to assist a young mum whose kid falls into a temper tantrum when they get told no. Content in a job well done they should return the favour. The thing is I’m just trying to work my way through, to get past them as they hog the entire width of the aisle, kicking and screaming snotty nosed brat, it’s not his fault he’s spoiled, and his chaved up mum, ready to drag its sorry arse across the floor while shouting abuse at it. Come on designers, relieve me of this burden, and just make them sweet wrappers uninteresting.

The thing I like is the new self-service till; they are a magnet for annoyance. If the psychologist wants some material for madness here is the best place for them to stand. You stand in the queue keeping one eye on the single basket aisle, to see if it’s going quicker, you suspect that it is but consider it’s too late to make it over there now, you may as well wait. It would be quicker if people knew how to use them, they’ve been around for long enough for every man and his dog to give it a try. I done it a couple of times before I mastered it but if you really cannot manage it why keep trying, just go to the manned till you stupid cow. So the frustrated woman behind me sighs, tells her 5 year old that “these things are not any faster,” but the girl is too young to know any different or to care. Maybe the woman is addressing me I wonder, I don’t want to make eye contact. If I was with my family we would, a short conversation may well even pursue but as a bloke on my own who has no interest in her sexually whatsoever you never make eye contact in a supermarket. This is because of those stupid women’s magazines that spread a lie that your soul-mate can be found in the aisle of a supermarket, what a load of dribble, they are down the pub everyone knows that.

Perhaps she was just sighing to herself which made me laugh, I’m surrounded by them. The laughable woman who cannot get the hang of the system, insisting on muttering at the machine, “I have put the item in the fucking bagging area!” as if the machine is going to say, “oh yes, I do apologise madam.” The supervisor who is whisking around like Torvil and Dean flashing her card over the barcode scanner and zipping over to next flashing light. She’s said “there you go, ok?” so many millions of times today she just says it to herself now, just in case anyone was listening. I stand behind the young lad, he’s a whizz at these things, nipping his can of caffeine based energy drink over that barcode like a true pro. He’s off faster than 100 old people, the first person today who did not need assistance. He’s listening to something on his gadget headphones and causally singing away to himself. Then there is businessman type bloke standing by the magazine rack waiting for someone, busy chatting to himself, or least, upon a second look he’s talking to a Bluetooth headphone set, which, in my opinion is no better than the drunk outside the sliding glass door, muttering to his bottle of wine.

Oh yes, lots of people talking, but not making conversation, only to machines and gadgets. No one makes a discussion, why, where is the need? The cash machine doesn’t argue back or think you are weird for trying to start up a conversation with a total stranger, may as well just chat with that. “Yes, Mr Psychologist, you should check out this place, what a bunch of nutters,” I say to myself. Then I realise, I’m talking to myself too! Supermarkets, if you can’t beat them join them.

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