Sunday, February 11, 2007

I love Lidl, it's my kind of shop. No music for a start, no way! PRS licences cost money! Lidl is the most frill free shopping I know. No pretence of corporate 'caring', no rewards schemes or loyalty points, no concern for anything other than shifting stuff. We're here to sell stuff, you're here to buy it. Pile it high sell it cheap, no nonsense, buy it or fuck off, shopping (they still have the Fat Balls on offer).

It's Male Pattern Shopping:
- go in get stuff, get out.
As opposed to Female Pattern Shopping:
- wander aimlessly, picking up everything in sight and examining it minutely before putting it back.
- endless vacillation between identical products in slightly different packagings.
Today in Tesco's for example I watched a woman pick up a packet of washed salad, stare at it for a good ninety seconds, turning it this way and that, before putting it back on the shelf and just walking off. Was there something in that packet of salad that put her off having salad today, or had she never seen bagged salad before and was just curious? I have no idea but it was an extraordinary thing to watch.

Except it isn't extraordinary; it happens all the time.

The other week I was in Morrison's meat counter just as they had reduced a whole pile of stuff. There were joints at ten pence each, well within their sell-by date, perfectly good. I thought: 'I'm having those thank you very much!' and just filled my trolley with as much as I thought I could get in the freezer at home, the woman next to me stood there and held a joint in her hand for a good minute just looking at it. I asked her: "It's ten pence, why are you hesitating?" She said "You're right." put in her basket and walked off. A couple of minutes later I saw her walk back and put it back in the chill counter. I just don't understand.

I tried doing a bit of woman shopping today in Lidl when no one was looking (actually I was half forced into it as for some unfathomable reason - probably the opening of the Aldi store just up the road - they had rearranged EVERYTHING. My usual high speed, zig-zag, cornering the trolley on two wheels, supermarket-sweep route had been done away with and I had to wander semi-aimlessly looking for the stuff I wanted), so when Merriol wasn't looking ( - at me - obviously she was looking at something, she wasn't just standing in the store with her eyes shut) I did some Female Pattern Shopping. I picked up some tortilla chips - then put them back, picked them up again, put one back, and picked up a packet of a different flavour - two cheese and one slightly salted, or one slightly salted and two cheese... hmmmmmm... I tried to get into a zen-like mystical female shopping place - and got nowhere. It did nothing for me. I got bored. I was staring at tortilla chips, and it was boring. All I felt was I was wasting my life staring at plastic bags full of food.

Further evidence of the male patterness of Lidl come in the form of a bottle of bubble-bath we bought today. (I would scan the label for you but it means turning on the other computer which is just out of arms reach unless I move my chair six inches and therefore far too much work at this time of night). It's nothing special, just your bog standard solution of Sodium Laureth Sulfate with perfume and other gunges in a plastic bottle:




Pleasant warmth
and relaxation

With Mud Extract

Mud. No bullshit hyperbole about nutrient-rich Dead Sea, anti-ageing, visibly reducing the appearance of wrinkles, "Because you're worth it" detoxing, crap. Just mud. It's got mud in. We dug some mud up and threw some mud in. In case you are not quite convinced it's got mud in it we'll make the label brown. Brown mud. It's got brown mud in it. Buy it or fuck off.

I like Lidl.

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