THE SUPERMARKET RUN

Supermarkets do my head in.

It’s Monday morning. I see the children off to school and then head to the supermarket. It’s a routine. It’s dull but it works for me, particularly if the kids are going to have anything for tea. After a weekend at home ( and let’s face it, what other kind of weekend is there for a family with four children?) my cupboards are bare. Of course that isn’t actually true. There’s loads of food but just not the kind of thing that any of them want to eat when they land after school and declare extreme hunger.

I generally go to Sainsbury’s in the next town. Ilkley has a Tesco and a Booth’s but I have run a one woman campaign to boycott Tesco ever since I discovered that it soaks up one pound in seven of money spent in the UK. And anyway, our Tesco is overpriced and under stocked. Booth’s is fab but isn’t much good on big boxes which is what I need. So off I trot to Otley.

I loath it. I never know what to get and so just repeat the trolley from the week before excluding what I know is unused and adding what I know we ran out of. I know this because we have a system whereby the person who finishes something writes it on the list. You can imagine how successfully it works but at least I try.

Today, Sainsbury’s had a large nut display in the fruit and veg section. Nuts can only mean one thing in England – Christmas. I looked harder and lo and behold the signage was red and green and covered in little pine trees. Surely no one buys their festive walnuts in September? I know the theory is that if we buy early we are all so innately greedy that we will eat them and have to buy them all over again but there is something distasteful about that proposition in the fattest nation in Europe.

Before I gave up work, I had hoped that I would use local shops for my day to day groceries, leaving the supermarket for the bulky stuff. I pictured myself leafing through my cookery books and then trotting up to town for fresh ingredients with a wicker basket. Unrealistic I know. I do try. But my greengrocer closed and my cheese shop closed and gradually, for convenience, I have been forced back to the big boys. I’ve tried internet shopping but I always end up forgetting something and having to make the trip anyway which sort of defeats the purpose.

The shopping is all unpacked now and nestles in the cupboards waiting for the starving hordes and their friends but the supermarket leaves a sour taste even though I try to shop in season and ethically. I wish the whole experience was less unsatisfactory but I can’t see a way round it. I just have to accept that it’s a necessity of my life and get on with it – like so many other things. But Christmas nuts? Give me a break!

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