2006 - Where Shopping Is A Baffling Ordeal


I'm not in a good mood right now, and I'm especially cranky about supermarkets. Perhaps I'm just a little touchy, because I gave my MP3 player to my sister so she could put some new songs on it; however she can't drop it back to me and I can't go pick it up, so I was forced to do the shopping last night whilst listening to supermarket muzak. That's enough to upset anybody. However, it's not mainly what I'm complaining posting about today. There's just so many things to get angry and bewildered about in the supermarket these days.

There is too much stuff available in the shops today. You can't just buy "butter" anymore. My local supermarket seems to sell a different variety of sandwich spread for every individual who will ever shop there. There's varieties that come with or without lactose, cholesterol, animal proteins, salt, and omega threes; offerings that promise to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and still more that boast they can improve eyesight and memory, all in any array of combinations you can think of (and afford - one of the brands on the shelf costs $8 for a standard tub size. I don't live in a high income area. Who and where are the people paying $8 for a tub of butter?)

It's not just endless variety the companies are trying to sell us, it's also bewildering complication. Yesterday I was trying to buy a box of band-aids. That was worse than the butter. There were shelves and shelves of dressings, including ones with silver for advanced healing, adaptable light-reflecting skin tones, dermatollogically tested comfort...I really started to lose it when I read a packet that promised "superior wound management". "Superior wound management?" I moaned wretchedly. "I don't have a degree in that! I just want a packet of ordinary band-aids like my mother put on my boo-boos when I was a kid!"

Despite (actually, because of) all that choice, you can almost never get what you want. When I say you can't just buy butter, I mean it. From the looks of my local supermarket, no one is actually buying all the complicated stuff. The spaces on the shelves where you might hope to find the basics are always empty; earlier shoppers have snapped it up, meaning you're forced to buy $3.50 a litre organically farmed milk with added amino acids, just to put something in your coffee, because that's all that's left.

On second thoughts, it is all a huge conspiracy by the supermarkets and manufacturers. The "normal" products were never there in the first place. It was just a trick to get you in, and everyone is having to buy the $3.50 milk and resenting it.

Saving my biggest gripe for last though...every time I find a product I really like, it promptly gets discontinued. This isn't exactly a new phenomenon for me; it's been happening my whole life (it's not restricted to the supermarket either - to this day, I refuse to buy any bath bombs from Lush, as a silent protest at them discontinuing the Bonnard bomb). I'm resigned to seeing products I've loved replaced on the shelves, never to be seen again (whilst somehow, year after year, people are continuing to buy Kraft macaroni cheese). If it was just me I could handle it. But lately I've noticed whenever I find a cat food variety Xander really likes, it gets discontinued as well. So not only do manufacturers hate me, they hate my cat as well. Gah! I really need a chai tea right now. Straight after I send the company that makes my favourite blend an email, begging them not to discontinue it.

Comments

  1. Wow, I guess this must be the advantage of city living. I can buy normal butter, normal milk, normal bandaids and such things at the local supermarket. Actually, I can get all of that from the Turkish joint on the corner, albeit at a slightly higher price.

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  2. Really? I would've thought the inner city would be exactly where it was hard to find "real" food. I never have any trouble in supermarkets in small towns.

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  3. I know what you mean, I find it hard to buy normal things without being distracted by the fancier products. Normal milk is hard to find, I hate anything that's been tampered with ((like omega 3 - I don't want fish milk!)), same with breads they all have things added now :/
    Just wait til Coles is bought by Walmart, it will be worse!

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  4. My "Run for your lives! Walmart is coming" post will be done as soon as I am able to string my arguement together.

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  5. Haha, I look forward to it.
    My boyfriend is feeling the heat from the whole Walmart debate as he works at Coles. He's very serious when he says to me he wants to leave because of the take over. I don't blame him, I've been to Walmart - What a shithole!
    I know they're keeping the Coles logo and 'Australian' image but it doesn't take away the fact that there goes another Aussie Icon!

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  6. One of the (many) things that really worries me is, if Coles becomes Wal-mart or is bought by them...what are the chances of still being able to get a range of Australian made products?

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