Supermarket Gripes


I haven’t had a good rant for a while, so best I put that right.

I had cause to go into a large store of a well-known supermarket a while ago.

Make that a very large store.

An extremely large store. Obscenely large.

It was like a medium sized city inside.

Or possibly a large cathedral, which would feel more appropriate, since these things are the glorification of the worship of money. How so? This store, like most others of its hateful ilk, does not simply sell food, any more.

Oh no.

It sells clothes. It sells white goods. DVDs and CDs. Computers and accessories. Mobile phones. Books, stationery, and greetings cards. Items of furniture. Garden items. DIY stuff. It has started its own bank and offers everything from insurance policies to bank accounts. The list seems endless. If I had wanted a lighthouse or a wolf they would probably have got me one from out the back.

There seems to be very little that it does not yet sell, although I have no doubt that it will only be a matter of time before those few gaps are filled.

Its business plan is simple – put every single other type of shop out of business, and corner the market in everything.

I had the strangest feeling – the feeling that I was somehow diminished, just by being in there.

And the food items? The reason I went in there in the first place?

Apparently it is essential that we are able to choose from well over a hundred types of cheese which particular one we need – strong, very strong, beat your brains in, mild, sliced, grated, chopped in cubes, turned into string, low fat, no fat, cows’ milk, sheeps’ milk, antelopes’ milk, crocodiles’ milk, virtual cheese, and all produced by four or five different companies.

And that’s just the cheddar.

Its website tells me that it sells 343 different cheese products. I’m all for choice, but, good grief!

Interestingly, looking at a website for a rival big multinational, I find they sell 344 of these products. Perhaps I should go there, instead? I wouldn’t want to miss out on a shopping opportunity. They might be able to offer me a better ‘shopping experience.’ For my ‘shopping solutions.’

Why do advertising agencies have to come up with that drivel?

And that brings me to another interesting thought.

There is the push to encourage all shoppers to use the ‘self’ check-outs, but at least they seem to have reined back a little on the verbal persuasions. I was standing in line at my ‘local’ small branch last year, when I was approached by a member of staff who suggested I use a ‘self’ check-out.

‘No thanks.’ I said.

‘It’s okay,’ he told me, ‘I’ll show you what to do.’

I can see perfectly well what to do. I don’t intend to use it.’

‘Why not, sir?’

‘Because it’s sole purpose is to take away your jobs.’

‘That’s not so…’

‘I suggest you look at their website, then. Because I have. It clearly states that is one of the advantages of buying one.’

Damn the lot of them.

68 thoughts on “Supermarket Gripes

  1. I sympthise Mick. I have a choice of Supermarkets to shop in but thanks to them, very little in the way of local corner shops now. The one I generally start at for convenience now is a Superstore and is owned by another large company from the U.S. Oddly enough they stopped selling the cheeses I like for a good while ( the crumbly ones like Cheshire) and stuck to varieties of Cheddar which I don’t enjoy.There seem to be more and more American goods on the aisles,especially sweets and the chocolate which is foul, and less and less choice in the men’s clothing than there used to be.
    While I’m griping too, I can’t help but wonder why Cadbury’s (also American now) changed the formula of the milk chocolate and completely did away with dark chocolate fingers and yet bars of Bourneville are still on sale.They don’t say they were a poor seller.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, far more American goods on the aisles, David. I’m sure the idea is to Americanise all of our tastes, so we happily live on burgers and fries and jelly sandwiches and similar crap.

      None of this is about giving the consumer what they want, it is about ‘encouraging’ the consumer to buy what the companies want them to buy.


  2. I am so with you on this Mick. More is not and does not equate to better, it just makes things more confusing. At the risk of jumping on the bandwagon, from cable TV, to email subscriptions, to robo calls I’m sick of it. And don’t even get me started on advertisements. Sorry, but wow I feel so much better. 😉 Happy Monday!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I sympathize with you Mick and hope you have a better rest of the week! I loathe those self check outs, it’s a different system everywhere and I actually miss the tiny conversation I can otherwise have with the employees as I check out:)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It must be some sort of trade pact. Here in the U.S. supermarkets, the aisles are blocked with huge pyramids of Vegemite and Weet-Bix, and freeze-dried Witchetty Grubs. And the butcher counter has no beef anymore, other than Four ‘N Twenty Pies, mostly now it’s emu, snags, kangaroo.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We do see Australian beef sold here, off & on, that’s the only imported beef I’ve ever seen, other than canned corned beef from Brazil.
        The self-checkout is gaining ground here, too. And of course, Amazon opened a prototype store in Seattle, with no checkout line at all – – hundreds of cameras watch your every move, and add up whatever you put into your cart. Not at all creepy.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I loath the self checkouts with a passion! I am the customer. I want to be served. I want our young people to be able to take weekend jobs and our old people to earn pin money and stave off boredom in retirement. I do not want to be beeped at by a thing that is incapable of knowing whether or not I have placed an item in the bagging area. Unknown item in bagging area? I just scanned the bloody thing, how can you not know what it is?! Usually I would be excited in a place full of food, but these places are soulless and plastic. The food isn’t even a consideration. Money is king. Overthrow the king! (Apologies, I got a bit excited, there)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Large and super large stores has to be an American concept. First kill the competition after which “loot” the customers because they have no option.
    I prefer the variety small store provides rather than standardised 20 mass produced items.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hate the places. I try to shop at small local stores and markets whenever possible. Apparently though, they’re on the way out, because of Amazon, and online shopping. I’d rather order some stuff online, like washing powder, and wander around looking at things in season to inspire my cooking

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I fear the end of the small shop. Even the medium sized one, eventually. I imagine there will come a time when everything is bought or ordered from just one huge, universal, mega-store, probably run by whatever group then runs the world. Or am I being unduly pessimistic?


  8. Couldn’t agree more. I’d be happy if I never walked into another one of those big sterile boxes with too many choices. Too many options = overwhelm = despair/confusion/frustration and a whole lot of wasted time reading labels, which in many cases are filled with lies, lies, lies. That’s how it seems to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I must say I had to smile when I read this, you have said what I think. Each time I go to Honolulu, I go to a certain huggggeeeee supermarket with my friends and it blows my mind. I am so overwhelmed by the size of it, the culture of it and the following it has. I could not even consider shopping at a place like this, as I cannot even get past the size of the car park, it freaks me out. There is nothing nice about it but if it helps folks save money and they are happy to do it, then go for it. We have a couple of these here in Aus but I will never be visiting them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you smiled, Lyn. Yes, I find them overwhelming. And so antiseptic and impersonal. The real trouble now is it’s often difficult to find alternative shops to use – little shops like greengrocers get driven out of business by them, leaving one with little choice.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Starts with ‘t’ and rhymes with ‘fresco’, by any chance? It is a shame these superstores are trying to take over. It’s like how Borders destroyed all those indie bookstores in the 90s and changed the way writers make a living… But that’s a whole other rant! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I agree with you, Mick! Sadly, the biggest super store of all is Amazon, which has clearly stated their goal to be the monopoly on all consumer goods. It never ceases to amaze me how many people will resist Walmart and Costco (the super stores here in the States) and yet happily order all kinds of things from Amazon. And yet they treat their employees horribly and are responsible for driving out more small stores than anyone else! Long live the mom and pop stores! I love them, I miss them, and all too soon they will be nothing but a memory.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I hate self check-outs too. Part of the pricing structure of every item is made up of staff costs so by self checking out I’m actually giving the mighty machine money for free. No thanks. Pretty soon we won’t need to go anywhere else ever apart from the megamarkets for anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Other half does all the supermarket shopping and seems to have it down to a fine art – me, I loathe the places for the same reasons you do, and more. Oh and your rant looks like it might be about one beginning with a T end ending with an O…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Just when I was getting used to the idea of self-checkout in the grocery store…

    Today we went to a vehicle emissions inspection station. Use to be, there’d be a couple employees, they’d stick wands up your car’s wazoo to take readings, rev things up, etc. Then, they decided newer cars didn’t need all those inspections as they didn’t pollute as bad and all they’d do is plug in some electronic gizmo and write a few things down, then process the paperwork. Today, all they did was plug in a gizmo, point us towards a kiosk and gave 15 seconds of instruction, and left us to enter all the data, unplug the gizmo, and confirm that yes indeed we would be paying those vehicle renewal fees that are triple what they use to be.

    In short, even emissions testing is damn near self-checkout now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seems the thing every company wants to cut down on is employees. Check-out, check-in, check-ups…I wonder if there’ll actually be any jobs for my grandchildren to do when they grow up.

      Given the car emissions scandals of the last twelve months or so, I can’t resist wondering about the software involved in your car check. But that’s a post for another time, perhaps.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I agree with you. These huge corporate are taking over absolutely everything and taking everything that is nice out of the shopping experience. I like the UK where there are still lots of little shops in the streets with nice owners who talk to you rather than horrible, impersonal malls.

    Liked by 1 person

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