Today I'm talking supermarkets. I hate supermarkets. I hate the way they have made me feel guilty because I fell for their Buy One Get One Free blandishments and neglected my village shop, which is now closed. Now it's too late, I realise I have bought into consumerism and sacrificed the local economy to big business led by people with small brains and big off-shore bank accounts.
But no matter how much I wish supermarkets would BOGOF, I love them too. I love the convenience of them, the way you can park outside and wheel your trolley straight to the car. I'm amused by the way I can pop in for frozen peas and come out with a bumper pack of pens, a couple of pencil sharpeners and half a dozen notebooks - and forget the peas. I like their wide choice from their own supermarket brands to "designer" brands.
Even so, I feel guilty. When I first moved into my village 30 years ago it had a post office, village stores, a butcher's shop and a hairdresser’s. Now it has a Spar shop attached to the filling station. If you want to post a letter there is a gigantic red eyesore of a postbox on the edge of the pavement next to a busy road - or you can visit the "outreach" post office, open for just a few hours a week. On the plus side, there is now another hairdresser's.
So, much as I hate them I'm still shopping in supermarkets, still falling for their marketing tricks and consequently buying more than I need. But if there's a meltdown in society in the near future, I'm prepared, with a larder full of tins of BOGOF baked beans, half price spaghetti and few dozen ballpoint pens.
I tend to swap between Sainsbury's and Tesco. As I read on the internet this week: "Sainsbury's is for people now aspiring beyond Tesco but not yet quite ready for Waitrose." So I'm hovering between common and lower middle class - but I'm eyeing up the upper classes. I've pulled myself up by my bootstraps to kale standard but I'm not quite ready for heirloom potatoes. One day….
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