Right, so, my most recent blog covered of my views and opinions around the contentious, dividing subject of eating out.
Given that blog and its content, which of course will divide opinion and strike a chord with some people, it was relatively easy to blog my next instalment of the Observant Alternative – SUPERMARKETS and what drives us to choose where we go.
Let’s start with some good old fashioned categorisation, but this time without a public sector table, any data, but just thought provoking views and opinions.
To be clear, just before I start and get absolutely hammered for expressing some of views on this subject, I wanted to say a few things.
This country, the United Kingdom, enjoys some really incredible fine traditions that we have all inherited, but unfortunately, we have also inherited some traditions, which for some families is, well quite frankly absurd and needs drastic action.
So here goes –
‘To those politicians currently occupying a seat in this government, supposedly leading this country, and I mean supposedly, because according to Dom you aren’t – there are roughly and I mean roughly as well, about 10 big supermarket chains that monopolise the supermarket industry in the UK, which I would say, provides good choices at reasonable costs’.
‘However, in my rough estimate above, I haven’t and as most people will agree, included foodbanks as it’s not a UK supermarket chain and never has been’.
‘Can you tell me why, that this has become an automatic choice for some families and why this is acceptable’?
‘I challenge every one of you lot that occupies a seat in this government to give up you allowances for food and simple bare necessities for one month and use the foodbank you have subjected thousands of families to use each week’.
Fortunately, we have professional footballers, our most privileged in society, to help you, the government out, because you feel that it’s not necessary.
Anyway, I will get off my soapbox now, but it had to be said because it irritates me beyond belief!
I, at some stage have used most, if not all supermarket chains in this country for one reason or another.
It’s funny how things have changed since I was a kid when it comes to grocery shopping (what a lovely word, grocery), from the humble carrier bag which tells its own story about you to the home brands that have captured us all at some point.
My own Mother, shopped in Kwik-Save and as a kid, I remember thinking this is absolutely horrific, even the carrier bag came with its own label and I don’t mean Kwik-Save.
It was that poor in quality (the bag), it even faded in the sun and went yellow – taking it too school as a teenager (which I wasn’t then) must have been a complete embarrassment.
However, the crisps were completely miserable, they didn’t have a name and they called them ‘no frills’ and they came in a white bag – let me tell you, taking these to school in your packed lunch was liked having trainers with no name. Utterly miserable!
There will be lots of you reading this and thing this is not relatable to me, that’s because you didn’t grow up in the 80’s or your parents where in category coming up soon, so all will become clear.
In the meantime, for ease of reference and just in case you are too young to remember, these miserable crisps where the equivalent to ‘blue stripe’ made by Tesco. There will be people who argue and say the ‘No Frills’ were worse.
I am now going to categorise how supermarket shopping back in my day when I was growing up.
Back then, the type of car you drove, would determine where your parents shopped or even where you shopped.
Think about it, just for a split second, because it’s true.
As an example, if you or parents drove an Orion or an equivalent size and make, the chances are, you and them shopped in Tesco.
Now for the next example; if you or parents drove an Astra or equivalent size and makes, which had a wire coat hanger as an Arial to make the radio to work, its distinctly possible they or you, shopped in Kwik-Save.
Okay, so I am starting to build a picture, so let us move on to those people who use buzz words and are clearly in that age bracket. These people would normally have a company car, either a Volvo or BM – these are the sort that shopped at Waitrose.
Admittedly this is a very satirical and broadbrush way of discussing such a matter of importance, and it leaves room for an in between category of course, but it gives you a general view of the matter.
Then we had the explosion in the mid 90’s didn’t we? This was the worst nightmare as a teenager at school, oh it was horrific and parents didn’t care about the fact their kids were being mullered at school by the kids that parents drove an Orion or Rover, or in certain circumstances that had a company car.
Yeah the explosion!!
Parents driving 30 minutes to find one to complete their weekly shop, just so they could buy a Maverick Bar or half a litre more of squash than normal.
I am of course referring to the supermarket that copies or has none of their own ideas – which incidentally now includes a share box of chicken nuggets from a famous take-away and drive thru!
They really don’t give one, do they?
Following that explosion, we had another European giant pop up.
With all of the choice available now, people’s choices have dramatically changed, even with the rip off that is home-delivery now, unless you want you weeks shop delivered in the middle of night of course!
Also and respectfully, for some people it’s a necessity to have more choice and choice that is cheaper to feed themselves and their families – fair play to them, because I would as well.
However, what I find incomprehensible is the next ‘bracket’ up.
What is the next bracket?
Middle income families, those in that age bracket and the buzz word people.
I don’t have an issue with what people buy and eat, including where from, but it does confuse me somewhat about their behaviours – here’s why.
This will be very raw for some people, not because of what I say is always the case in every sense, but because they know this is them and how they behave.
Let’s talk about, er I don’t know, maybe Philippa and Stephen, with a PH.
These pair are middle income earners, or rather he earns and she stays at home, doing school runs at nine and three for two kids. They go out regularly with Stephen’s salary and have a holiday in Spain every year for 2 weeks. Prior to the holiday, Philippa takes the kids to the cheap labour shop (not the political party), all on Stephen’s salary – you get the picture.
Anyway, all this aside, they leave the kids at home on Saturday mornings to go shopping at the supermarket with no ideas of their own, in their nineteen plate electric car.
You see what I am saying?
This isn’t right – If I were their kids and my parents had that car, but shopped there, I would go on hunger strike.
The people that shop there have ten plate registration cars and live in houses with white windows, doors, soffits and gutters, with a gravelled driveway in the cheapest stone possible – that’s how it always was!
I think this is a different story, I think they have to shop in the supermarket with none of their own ideas, due to the nineteen registration plate car.
Just saying – either way it’s an interesting thought.
You know the ones that I really love at the minute?
Those people driving the cars containing three letters and with a lengthy warranty.
These lot are the ones that use buzz words and can sit in that age bracket.
Strangely, you would normally find these lot in a Waitrose now – it’s like they brought the car with 3 letters and lengthy warranty and thought, yes I am having a bit of Waitrose now, I am in the elite – have a week off will yer, that car cost the same as my VW.
Now thinking about it, I think this is absolutely outrageous, this is the equivalent of my old dear nipping in Waitrose in her G plate Orion back in the day – it’s not acceptable.
At least I have the decency to have my Waitrose order delivered on a Monday – you know what, that’s just out of snobbery as well.
Do these people not realise what car they brought?
Anyway, back on track..
We have clearly moved on from ‘No Frills and ‘Blue Stripe’ and its gone so much further, hasn’t it?
Of course all the big chains have their own, exclusive brands or ranges as they like to be known.
It wasn’t that long ago, when you got the Waitrose treatment in Tesco if you dipped into the Finest Range – oh different story then, you were the class above, your neighbours and people at the Golf Club would be suitably impressed – not to mention on your buzz word commute down to London.
I knew a bloke that did the whole London thing and he wasn’t short of a few quid either. However, every day when the train pulled in at the station, he would embark on the train in First Class, so people thought he travelled in First Class, but he walked through to standard and sat with everyone else.
What’s that? How old?
The supermarket exclusive ranges have now dramatically lowered in price and I don’t think there is much difference in quality.
There is a big one we have missed though – St. Michael.
From having half a shop in the UK to popping up in market towns up and down the country to cater for Sue and Brian, who happen to live in a village on the edge of the town in their age bracket.
Now these lot think they are different gravy!
For these people, what was once a weekly Waitrose shop has now developed into full blown bragging at the village hall Christmas Extravaganza – they buy good old fashioned TV Dinners for goodness sake!
I am not kidding either, you know the people I mean and if you don’t already, you will find them – guaranteed.
However, normal people, not in that bracket, go in there, normally late on a Saturday, where you will find people literally scavenging around the reduced items – proper classy!
Different story then, isn’t it Sue and Brian, or mainly Sue in this instance.
‘Oh Brian, let’s leave before I catch something disastrous. I am sure that lady over there at the reduced section only had three teeth’!
I admit, the meals they have are okay and they are not the old fashioned microwave meal we saw way back when, but it strikes me, if you weren’t trying to play it large or are incredibly wealthy, why would you go in there and pay twenty-four quid for a scotch egg?!
I don’t get it!
Do what? What’s the ‘car category’ for St Michael?
Difficult one, particularly if you are in one of these perceived elite.
The Observant Alternative would advise the car should be no older than twelve months, which would either be a saloon that looks like a company car, but they have paid cash for it, or at the other end, a high end SUV.
But now of course, you can get St Michael Delivered via the only online supermarket in existence in the UK, providing you can afford the delivery fee and they deliver in your area of course.
Since COVID, supermarkets that deliver have been superb at looking after those most vulnerable, mainly because Boris and his mates were nowhere near it I would assume!
They prioritised and did the right things as far as I am concerned, so they deserve great credit for everything thing they have done and are still doing for the nation.
Given all of this, there is still one absurdity to always remember and be aware of when in a supermarket, no matter if you are kind and you help old people across the street, it still exists and they are the ones that put the X in the wrong box, that now sit moaning about that choice for the next three years, but to only put the X in the same box in 2024.
Thanks, Sue and Brian and all your mates in the same age bracket as you from the village and the golf club!