Caught by the Mince Balls

I only need a few small things for my pizza topping: mushrooms, a green pepper, and some snacks for a movie on the settee in the evening.

I saw the documentary last week so I know all about it; how the supermarkets use psychological tricks to manipulate us into buying things we don’t need. The smell of fresh bread as we come in, the healthy fruit and veg at the front so we deserve to overload ourselves with snacks later, products at eye level. That kind of thing.

Why do we allow ourselves to be manipulated like this each time we enter a supermarket?

Not me, not this time! I know what I need. I only need a few things. I’m onto you, supermarket!

The sign hits me even before I enter the shop. “The courgettes are on offer. Buy one, get one free!” That one’s easy to avoid because I hate courgettes. I wouldn’t even take the free one.

What I need is predictably at the front of the shop, and I get my mushrooms and pepper. I got a multipack of red, yellow and green peppers. Apparently we eat with our eyes too. And red onions. Why not cry when you cook?

Now I only need a packet of crisps and some coke, then I’m done. The aisle is on the other side of the shop but I need to navigate my way through the abandoned shopping trolleys, display baskets set awkwardly in the middle of the aisle, the shelf fillers and the old ladies talking to them.

I don’t have the patience to be polite so I push some of the trolleys out of my way. A shelf filler was on his phone. I let the side of my trolley clip him as I pass him. He works for them!

I see the milk and pick up a pack. I’m running a bit low at home, so I don’t see this as manipulation. Aargh, now there are some kids in front of me. Screaming, lying on the floor, their mother is impervious to their noise because she’s talking to the father “That’s the wrong one! You know we don’t have that brand!” He nods in silence, and walks away sheepishly, presumably swapping out the tin of whatever it was for another tin of whatever it was but slightly different – but the same as the one they always have.

The kids have been scooped from the floor. I can pass. My arm’s getting tired from holding my wire shopping basket. Why are the handles so uncomfortable? It’s naughty of me, but I see an empty trolley that’s been left by a shelf filler. I ...

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Paul Sterlini
Jan 23 2021

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Comments:

This is brilliant! I'd not read it since is was posted.

Rod Webb
Nov 4 2021