Category Archives: The Joys of Shopping

letters to the editor – food labelling standards


You will be aware from previous correspondence, sadly largely unpublished, of my opposition to the EU food labelling standards.

However, there is one area in which food labelling standards are sadly lacking. Each week when I visit my butcher or supermarket I find meats labelled as cured; but of what and when?

I think that we should be told.

Yours faithfully

R. Suppards (Mrs)



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more joys of shopping + London2012

Reading of the desecration of some of my old haunts that is going on in order for the 2012 Olympics to take place (I sold commercial vehicles spares and other things all around that patch back in the 1970s) I was prompted to thoughts of how we could scoop some extra medals from the home event.

Competitive shopping! Once again this weekend the Berkshire Belle and I have been out there scrounging for some nosh in both Cheltenham and Swindon and, as ever, we have had to pick our way through the ranks of those who see the weekly shop as some sort of assault course.

This is not a phenomenon we come across in other countries, so Team GB could be in for some world domination here; we could have different classes for different age groups perhaps. The OAPs hunt in packs, younger folks that can’t shop without the mobile phone clamped to the ear whilst savaging the opposition with their trolleys and so on. And then the men’s class would be for the “I’ll show the other half how it’s done” dash round in record time with points scored for casualties on the way, whilst the lady’s class would be more along the lines of ” can I take so long getting my purse out to pay that everything the next person in line has bought goes past its sell by date”. And there could be a family class for the greatest number of aisles blocked  to other shoppers while we all stand and debate.

If nothing else we should be able to win on sheer naked aggression. Every weekend I go into therapy for ankles clipped by countless shopping carts and friction burns from arms that have been shoved across my face to grab something.

And we certainly play it as a body contact sport. The Berkshire Belle and I  have mutual grounds for divorce after every trip to the shops on the basis that we’ve had far more physical contact with total strangers that we’ve managed with each other.

If Team GB want a good medal haul at London2012 next year then Competitive Shopping is clearly the way to go.

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the joys of shopping #11 – or am I being heightist?

There I am, down on all fours, rooting through the garments on the bottom shelf hunting for a colour and size that will work for me.

“May I help you sir?” chimes a voice from above. I look up to find an assistant (associate for my US friends) looming over me.

I rise to my feet as gracefully as I can (for those who haven’t met me I am 6 foot 3 and weigh around 300lbs). “Yes” I tell her, “you can tell me why you put the sizes for big guys like me on the floor and the stuff for dwarves and midgets (OK, I didn’t use those terms) on the top shelf here at eye level for me?”.

Telling me that all their stores are laid out like this is no excuse. I know that they are, and so are all of their competitors, but why? Just because one store does soemthing dumb doesn’t make it right.

I’ve seen the same thing with double height racks for sports jackets: They start top left with the short stuff, move through standard lengths to the end and back down onto the lower rail, then the long fittings are at the bottom on the right. Maybe I should sue one of these stores for the strain on my body? That might get things changed.

Seriously retailers; get some sense into this. If you must use shelves and double height rails, put the stuff for big blokes like me up top and that for the vertically challenged down low where they can get at it with ease.

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new amazon eStore open today

One of my business connections, Transport Books & Models, has opened its eStore on Amazon today. Check the Transport Books & Models link on the right of this page.

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letters to the editor #23 more joys of shopping


Whilst in our local Sainsbury’s this morning there was an announcment on the public address regarding their range of East Regs. On enquiring whether they also had West Regs I received a blank stare and felt that security may have been about to be called, so refrained from also enquiring after North and South Regs.

I can’t have been mistaken as the annoucement was made, at a far to strident a volume, several times.

Yours faithfully

Surprised of Swindon

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The Joys of Shopping #2 – fun with phrases

So we’re out there amongst the shelves in our favourite supermarket. Maybe some cooked meat? Ah. Cured ham. But cured of what? I mean what did this pig have to be cured of and, having cured it, why then let it die for us to eat? We need answers!

Then there cultured yogurt. Well, you wouldn’t want the uncouth one would you? Just think what that could get up to behind the closed door of your fridge. Coarse sugar in the cupboard is enough hooligan food for any home.

Come on food legislators. These are the issues that are important in food labelling, not messing about over what is or isn’t a sausage.

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the joys of shopping #1

A new theme of blogs, this time on the joys of shopping. Now please treat these rants with an element of tongue in cheek but, as a grumpy old man, these are all things that annoy me to some degree. I’ve blogged elsewhere about standards (“Why bother? No-one else does.” on another of my blogs), and whether I’m right or wrong, this is how I feel.

To set the scene, I’m in a store on a retail park on the edge of town. As I wander around the aisles Elvis begins to croon “Love me tender, love me tr” bing bong “ Will Alan Smith please come to the back door, Alan Smith to the back door”, “’reams come true” etc. You get the picture? Now Love Me Tender is not, by a long chalk, my favourite Elvis song, but this is close to sacrilege and I start getting these urges to campaign for reinstatement of capital punishment. It’s the same with those idiot DJs who talk over the music; if you’re going to play a song wait until it’s finished before inflicting your banal chatter on your audience.

This especially true when I’m out food shopping with the Wonder of Wokingham and we are deep in meaningful conversation about what we’re going to eat when some oik with no idea of manners will interrupt us with some meaningless, to us, announcement or other. If they want Mary Smith to report to the checkout captain, or some such instruction, and are prepared to interrupt the customers with this request, the surely we should be told why? “Will Mary Smith please report to the checkout captain to be shot for interrupting Elvis” does at least give us some explanation as to why we have been so rudely interrupted even if it does not excuse them having done so.

More joys of shopping another time perhaps.

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