When Sainsbury’s Becomes the Highlight of the Day
Posted on October 25, 2013
It’s a funny old thing running your own business from home. You have times when you don’t know where to turn and busy periods that become littered with problems such as cash flow, invoicing, chasing money and satisfying the requirements of customers.
Then there are the lulls that come along every year as autumn sets in and the summer rush subsides. It is during these periods when I come intensely bored and end up looking for business ideas that can keep me busy. I update my website, speak a to a few clients and flick through LinkedIn for news, before eventually succumbing to a trip to Sainsbury’s to do the weekly shop I have yet master.
During these slack periods, Sainsbury’s takes on the unlikely role of being something of a highlight for me, as it satisfies my desire to people watch and analyse the tastes, moods and general wellbeing of others.
There is an eclectic mix of joviality and misery in supermarkets, with some people rushing to get the job done, whilst others analyse the cost of everything, making detailed assessments of potential savings of ‘Basics’ products at the potential sacrifice of quality.
I often find myself trying to judge the state of mind of the shopper and indeed, my own as well. Why do some people dress as though they are going to dinner whilst other have just slung on the nearest item in the wardrobe without a care for what others think. Personally, I follow the lead of those making an effort by, some would say pointlessly, putting on a clean shirt, jeans and shoes every time I go to the shops.
This act of ludicrous vanity stems from an irrational fear of bumping into someone who I haven’t seen for twenty years whilst wearing the sort of household slumber clothing that would make them quickly come to the conclusion that I was unemployed and single, spending my listless days masturbating in between watching repeated episodes of the Jeremy Kyle show.
The average daytime shoppers are generally a mix of pensioners and mothers who come in varying breeds. The pension couples are either blissfully happy basking in the fortune of having found unique happiness and eternal and love or, more often than not, stained and strained with bitter resentment about how their lives could have been had they mustered the balls to up sticks and clear off thirty odd years ago.
The young women are either contented and slightly conceited or apparently lost in a Valium haze of abject misery inflicted upon them by disobedient children, interfering know it all in-laws and husband’s from Hell who are too busy caught up in the stress and one upmanship of middle England corporate bullshit to offer any of their valuable time to show any of the love and affection that was once second nature.
The smart women and the Valium women look at each other with an equality of disdain, with Valium woman remembering when she was once that beautiful, whilst beautiful woman is scared witless by seeing what she may one day become. The dividing line between their happiness and misery is so thin and they both know it, even though there is not a word uttered between them.
Then there are odd blokes like me. I often wonder what fellow shoppers think of me as I stand vacantly looking at the multitude of pan scourers all claiming excellence over one another. There is half an aisle of washing up scourers and brushes in Sainsbury’s; you just wouldn’t imagine that it was such a cut throat business would you?
Where I must seem odd (probably because I am) is that when I buy anything to do with cleaning, whether it be household or personal hygiene, I can’t help but by two of the product when one would surely suffice. Two shower gels, two tubes of toothpaste, two packs of two pan scourers, two bottles of washing up liquid…I could go on and on. What on earth is wrong with me? Maybe I have deep seated fear of running out of things?
One thing I have never learnt in the five years of living on my own is the structured art of shopping. To shop with my Fiancée is an enlightening experience that features a ruthless aisle by aisle trolley dash to purchase all the necessary goods for the followings week’s meals and children’s lunch boxes, only hesitating to kick me out of my intermittent dithering that resembles a buffering computer struggling to take on too much information.
By stark contrast, my shopping is as chaotic as my paperwork. I sporadically jump from one random aisle to another racking up the miles in what, I could I suppose, class as a decent daily exercise regime. When I go shopping, I go in with intent but leave without half the things I require whilst somehow spending double the amount I was expecting. Today I spent £47.68 before getting in the car and slamming my palm into my forehead and shouting to myself…”FUCK IT…WASHING UP LIQUID!”
When I got back home and started unpacking, my eldest son arrived back from college in high spirits and youthful exuberance.
“You’re in a good mood mate.” I said.
“Yeah, I’m off to Earls Court to see the Arctic Monkeys”
“Great…Not as much fun as seeing how effective these Spongetex scourers are compared to the Sainsbury’s basics ones”
“Nothing mate, it was just a joke.”