Boycott Kraft? boycott shopping

There are lots of things that we put off doing.  Work (unless our bosses are watching) and paying bills will be the two that will immediately spring to mind, but there is a whole list of things where given the chance, you would prefer to clean the cat’s litter tray before even contemplating of having to do ‘X’.  And ‘X’ isn’t on its own: most of us have a mental list of chores to avoid, in my case starting at ‘A’ and going all the way to ‘ZZ’.  Whilst this list will vary between individuals, I am positive that ‘grocery shopping’ will be in the top ten, just below cleaning the bathroom and slightly above washing the car after its been parked underneath a flock of seagulls all day.  Grocery shopping is not fun anymore and whether you are reading this in Beverly Hills, Beverley in Yorkshire or Bellary in Karnataka, you cannot truthfully deny this.

The first thing you do is have to work out what you want.  In past times this would have been easy, because consumer choice was limited.  When you walked in to the hardware store, you just said “6 candles please,” and the storekeeper would give you half a dozen of whatever he had in the box under the counter.  Today, however, this isn’t that simple, you now have to choose between alter, pillar, scented, un-scented, decorative, dinner….. the list is endless and can someone tell me how on earth Amazon can list 5,310 results for candles alone?  One candle shop boasts over 700 product lines and I suppose answering “Do you want scented or unscented, we have a nice aromatherapy range here…” with “no, I just want some light because my power has been cut off” wouldn’t really be appropriate.  No matter what you buy, you have to spend a lot of time working out what you exactly want.  You can’t just send your kid down the local supermarket to get some milk:  you have to specify which type: “full fat, low fat, reduced fat, fat free, organic, non-organic, lactose free, fortified, calcium enriched or even non dairy.”  By the time you wrote a simple shopping list, you pen has run out of ink, you’ve de-forested half of the States and you could have gone yourself and just about got back in time to go to bed.

That leads into my second point.  After working out what you want to buy, the second question is “where from?”  36 supermarkets in Beverly Hills, 9 in Beverley, 6 in Bellary. (That’s in India, by the way).  You have to answer all sorts of questions in your mind: ‘is my 2 rupees off at Y worth driving there for, or shall I pay three cents more at X so I can get W off on Z’ followed by ‘will I be able to park’, and ‘oh no, it’s 3:30 The place is going to be full of screaming kids in strollers’.  You could still ask your kids to go, but that assumes you could get them out of their rooms and promised enough cash to make them go for you.  Then you know that their choice of where to shop will be based either in the hopes of seeing that good-looking cashier is on duty, you know, the one who asked smiled at you and maybe just be available for a date, or, to avoid that good-looking cashier because they working today and certainly do want to go out on a date.  So, after you have argued with your partner over what to buy, decided where to buy it from and ruled out sending the kids on the grounds of cost, efficiency and the fact that you got tired of asking them, you realize that it’s no good, you have to go yourself.

And this is my third point.  You have to get ready to go and after the mental exercise in drawing up a shopping list and working out where to shop, you now have to decide on what to wear. Your choice of clothing will be based on where you shop, where you live and more importantly, who is likely to see you.  In Benghazi or Baghdad this could just be as simple as putting on a bullet proof vest under your veil, but in most towns and cities, be honest – you dress appropriately.  You can be too overdressed for Wal-Mart (seriously) or too underdressed for Safeway or Waitrose.  You can’t just walk out unshaved or in a pair of flip-flops because you can bet your bottom dollar you are going to bump into your friends from Church or your big boss from work.  And if you are famous or even infamous, you know that lurking outside every supermarket will be someone with a camera just waiting to take your picture and sell it to the Enquirer or the People.  The same applies in Wal-Mart, but the photographs of their customers end up on unless of course it’s John Travolta.  Nowadays you can’t go shopping for clothes because you have no good clothes to wear.

Which leads straight on to the fourth point, the hazards of shopping.  Assuming you have successfully established a list, worked out where to go and are appropriately dressed, now comes the real danger.  Forget the occasional mis-guided NATO air-strike, because that is rare.  The real dangers are at the supermarket itself, and I don’t mean the risk of photographs.  No, when you get inside, you are faced with the fresh fruit (salmonellae and e-coli), fresh eggs (salmonellae again) and the risk of obesity, heart attacks and diabetes from the abundance of high calorie food on display.  This does not include the caustic acids in the cleaning agents.  Then there is the risk of strains and injury from lifting the gallons of milk or the damage to your ankles from being rear-ended by the person talking on their cell phone whilst pushing a shopping cart.  Isn’t there a law against using a phone whilst driving?  This of course does not include the child in the cart next to you throwing cans on your toes whilst screaming in your ears, making you deaf.

After surviving all that, you carry your plastic bags back to the car, breaking your fingers in the process as the handles cut into your skin.  You then arrive home, only to find that you have been overcharged and you forgot the one thing you really went to get in the first place.  I’m sure that is why Amazon and online grocery shops are so successful: not because of the price, but its really is too much like hard work to go out:  you don’t have to get dressed to sit in front of a computer and you don’t risk being photographed, bombed or running into your boss when you have no makeup on and you are wearing last year’s fashions.

So after you ladled the melted ice-cream back into the container, got shouted at by your partner for forgetting things and put all the goods away, you realize that there is still nothing eat and you are destined to go back out to a drive-through for some burgers.  But that is after you finish cutting up the newspaper to hang behind the door because of course the one thing you intended to buy was a role of bathroom tissue.


About cryptothinker

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