How many great blog posts have been written about Tesco?
I’m betting not many and after this post that answer won’t have changed but I need to get this off my chest before I burst (as Christina Ricci once said to her breast reduction consultant).
Now I’ll admit that I don’t very often “reality-shop” “in-store”. After all, I prefer to spend my leisure hours doing other, more pleasurable, things... like de-clogging the toilet, giving myself a DIY root canal or burying hastily dismembered bodies beneath my patio. 9 times out of 10 though, when I do shop at Tesco I shop online. Virtually. It saves both my sanity as well as the lives of all the other shoppers.
Because whenever I do venture “in-store” (every once in a while you forget something or something drops off the virtual shopping list – I’m guessing it’s the cookies) I inevitably want to kill somebody.
Not just anybody. I’m not arbitrary about it. I don’t sing eeny-meeny-miny-mo and pick someone out at random. There will be a reason behind it.
A good, solid, cast iron reason.
Basically it’s anyone who gets in my way.
Anyone who’s too slow. Or stops dead in front of me so I have to do the hippy-hippy-shake to avoid making genital crushing contact with their bottom. Or people who hover in front of a particular food section – a food section that I need immediate access to – but don’t actually buy anything; they just stand there, hand to mouth, calculating, weighing up, umming and ahing. Like they’re about to make an amazing chess move with a tin of spam. And then they shuffle a half-step away only to snap back again like they’re on a piece of elastic the moment I reach out tentatively for the tin I want.
And sliders. Sliders get me. Teens and twenty-somethings who use the trolley like a makeshift toboggan to drag their sorry po-cracker arses around the store whilst leaving stupid looking Nike rubber marks on the polished floor. Twats.
But what annoys me most about shopping “in-store” at Tesco – and I realize this is probably just local to the Leamington Spa town centre branch – is the aisles. The aisles of Wrath. The aisles of Hatred. I don’t know why the store managers just don’t punch a few murder holes in the ceiling and have done with it.
In the olden days (i.e. when I was a kid) the aisles were made up of individual islands. Segmented with freezers and individual displays. Punctuated every 4 metres of so with crossroads which gave the shopper ample opportunity to wander off at will through the produce as if through a giant consumerist maze.
A few years ago it was obviously decided that this wasn’t good enough. That people needed to be funnelled. Controlled. Driven.
The islands disappeared. The crossroads were closed up.
Now we have the dragster strips. Long unending wind tunnels of product. Once you head down the neck of one of these aisles you have no option but to continue all the way down to the bottom. Fighting your way through the cholesterol of lost shoppers, those coming up the other way and the inevitable obstacle snarl of tangled trolleys. And you can’t turn back. You can’t turn around. Because behind you is another phalanx of weary shoppers chasing your tail, sighing as loudly as you are ‘cos they’ve just sussed out that, like you, they’re in the wrong aisle, they need to be in the next one along but now they can’t get out of this one except by following it on, on, on to its utter and completely tedious termination.
It’s like a version of hell. Hades with strip lighting and a self service counter. An extreme assault course to test your resistance to the psychological effects of attrition. To test how badly you want to get your shopping done in the face and teeth of man-made adversity.
Well, nobody wants a tin of spam that badly, Tesco. The guy who designed your floor layout needs to be shot: his gizzards removed and strung out over the frozen meat counter like little red party streamers.
Or failing that can you please just sack him?
‘Cos as your adverts so smarmily point out: every little helps.