The weekly shop – a perilous task

Supermarket shopping. EMN-150807-143547001
Supermarket shopping. EMN-150807-143547001

WARD’S WORLD: By madcap inventor John Ward

The way we shop is now a minefield in many respects – just how do you spend your hard-earned money and still get the bargain or necessity you really want?

I was pondering (I so like a good old ponder) at the price structuring recently in a well-known supermarket of a particular well-known product (I am duty bound to point out, in fairness, that other similar products are available, so there) and this moment of brain storming took place before my very eyeballs.

Do I foolishly spend £1.25 on the single item or splash out on a ‘multi-pack’ of four of the same for – wait for it – £6.25?

It’s a safe bet that at head office they were placing wagers as to whether anybody would be daft enough to fall for such a blatant insult to the average shopper’s intelligence.

I opted for four of the single size items and saved a mere £1.25 on the deal compared to the ‘multi-pack’ offer.

Admittedly, I did miss the plastic over-wrapper, bumping the price up by over a pound that told me I was getting a good deal, but still slept okay that night.

Getting served is now an art form. Part one: basket or trolley ready and approach the till. Part two: unload shopping items on to slowly-moving conveyor belt and wait behind Mrs Fosdyke nee Clutterbuck and then it’s time to be swept away into another world as the till operator knows the afore-mentioned Mrs Fosdyke nee Clutterbuck but calls her Mavis. We get the chance to hear the mind numbing saga of how ‘her Julie is getting on and will she be able to get her tattoos removed on the NHS?’

Yes, all human life is featured there at the check out; forget the writings of Catherine Cookson and company and all that bodice ripping stuff as you can’t beat a good ole tattoo removal story.

Then, after all this cultural interchange, we get to the nitty gritty – paying for the items, and I develop a fear that I might need another shave before I get the chance to be served and before any more of the family outpourings cascade forth.

This is followed by a wad of coupons coming out of Mrs Fosdyke nee Clutterbuck’s handbag, with some for money off everything from jungle bamboo shoots, fresh not frozen, piccalilli and buy two, pay for three deals.

And from a total bill of £27.36, she hands over £4.23 in cash, with the coupons nearly outweighing the actual amount spent.

Another mind-numbing experience is paying by card and the dreaded ‘put your pin number in’.

After three attempts at it, with the card taken out and put in the right way up, then starting again but with still no joy – Joy is on her tea break, of course.

Then this is followed by pulling the card out and rubbing it a few times with a duster from under the counter.

Hey presto, it’s placed in the machine – it works and we will be home before midnight, tonight’s one – hopefully.

Whoever said they were super, as in markets, had no idea about the actual process it entails.

And don’t get me started on the buy one, get one free deals ... another time, another till perhaps.