I made what I planned would be a quick stop at the supermarket this morning to pick up two items, Ribena and some ham. As the automatic doors of my local Tesco Extra swung open ushering me into the world of retail excess, I remembered that we are on our last tube of toothpaste. Since I had not written a list, I chanted the three items in my head over and over again so I would not forget any.
Three small items do not require a trolley but I was feeling lazy and could not be bothered to carry a basket. So I grabbed a trolley and went into the store. I usually have a knack for picking out trolleys with wobbly wheels which make me look like I am trying to steer a 10-tonne articulated lorry. But this trolley worked like a charm, it actually went in the direction I pushed it.
Heading to the oral hygiene aisle, I spotted the greeting card aisle. The following occurred to me in this order;
- today, the 20th of November is exactly a month to Christmas day.
- the boys will want to give their teachers Christmas cards.
- there is usually a shortage of teacher Christmas cards in the run-up to the end of term.
- now would be a good time to grab them and avoid the disappointment of not finding any later.
So I made a quick detour and searched for the cards. I saw cards for mums, dads, grandparents, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, boyfriends, girlfriends and several others but none for teachers. I walked up and down the aisle but still could not find them. I asked a member of staff who was stacking the shelves with birthday cards if they had any Christmas greeting cards for teachers. She took me to where she remembered seeing some but could not find any. She apologised for their absence. I told her not to worry I would come back another time. So much for beating the rush to the teacher greeting cards.
I carried on to get some toothpaste. On the oral hygiene aisle, I went to get our usual brand of toothpaste, Aquafresh, plain and simple Aquafresh, the original fresh and minty flavour but I could not find any. There were various other flavours promising heaven and earth but none of the one I wanted including;
- Aquafresh Extreme for pure breath
- Aquafresh Active for fresh breath
- Aquafresh High Definition White (High Definition? Is it a television?)
- Aquafresh Triple Protection for cavity protection. Cleans with calcium*
- Aquafresh Multi Active, Antibacterial Action
How very exhausting and frustrating! In the end I gave up and left for the cooked meats aisle. I found the ham without much ado and moved on to get some Ribena. This is where things went downhill. My quick stop turned into a major shop and my steely resolve against retail advertising strategy crumbled into helpless capitulation. You see, between the cooked meats and squash aisles are many other aisles lined with shelves laden with items I somehow managed to convince myself that I absolutely needed.
Shower gel, chicken legs, frozen spinach, frozen mixed veg, chips, chicken stock cubes, milk, spaghetti, rice, mushrooms, bell peppers, apples. Slowly but surely, the trolley filled up. By the time I picked up the Ribena and paid, the trolley looked like this.
I left the store with a full trolley, a dent in my wallet, a determination to do better next time and a lesson learned.
Though I learned this lesson at a great cost, I will share it with you, free of charge because I am generous, because I care deeply and because I do not wish to help enrich Tesco and similar retailers any more than absolutely necessary. So here are a few tips to save you from making the same mistake;
- Always make a list.
- Stick to it.
- Do not be taken by the tempting offers if you do not need the items on offer e.g buy one, get one free, buy two, get one free etc.
- Take a basket not a trolley, if you are planning to buy only a few items. If you take a trolley, chances are you will fill it. It is a law of nature to want to fill up a vacuum. If you do not believe me, see this – The Law of The Vacuum states that all material forces of the universe abhor the vacuum and rush to fill each hole, opening, void, blank page, field of clarity or empty moment with image, garbage, sound and fury, often signifying nothing so precious as the original voidness. Tesco and all big retail corporations knows this law too well.
- If you must take a trolley, choose one with wobbly wheels. The frustration of trying to steer it aright but knocking down displays and getting glares from the shoppers you bump into will make you curb any temptation to do any unnecessary shopping.
- Finally and most importantly, avoid eye contact with any items not on your list. Eye contact equals emotional connection. You are less likely to pick them up if you do not feel an emotional connection to them.
I hope this helps. Happy savvy shopping