Sometimes I Like to Buy Things

Supermarket shopping lends itself to the imaginative. Those of us who escape the more tedious hours of our lives by retreating largely inside our own heads will appreciate this. An average trip to whichever institution is closest - let's face it, even if there were qualitative differences, they'd have to be pretty damn big before they could tempt one past a more convenient inferior outlet - is a cornucopia of minor fantasies ranging from bizarre to more so.

Take shoppers. Give an imaginative type an idle moment and suddenly everyone's some strange offshoot of the human race. The man in the mac? Clearly the offspring of a Dutch paedophile and an underaged ape. His hobby is icefighting and his bedsit is smeared in lard. The woman with the walking stick lost her leg to a gang of delinquents in Harlem only to gain another, albeit ill-fitting, off a kindly stranger who happened to have been born with a spare. The old couple have lampshades of human skin. The screaming brats in the trolley were stolen by bears. All old ladies eat only ketchup.

As the sheer volume of mindlessly cheerful adverts ("PRICES SMASHED! 1p OFF PER 20kg!" "NEED A HAND? WE'D BE ORGASMIC TO HELP YOU!") jams the brain solid and amounts to exactly no appreciable stimulation whatsoever, the mind freewheels unchecked. The aisles weren't this way last time you came. In fact, the biscuits and cakes aisle was at least two rows down last time you passed this point, only five minutes before. They move, you know. One shakes one's head, forcing a brief return to reality. It does not last long. If one were only to buy all the yoghurt, a concealed gateway to heaven would be uncovered...

At this point one's girlfriend, if any, returns, just in time to stop any preliminary moves towards setting fire to the deli counter.

And thus shopping resumes. A specialised mania sets in. Prices take on Ultimate Meaning. Blocks of cheese, despite being sold by weight, constitute a better deal if bought in a thousand batches of a gram each. Every one of the fourteen hundred identical tins of baked beans must be scrupulously examined for that elusive "reduced" sticker, cutting back on the vast outlay of seventeen pence. Unlike everywhere else in the world, win does not vary in quality, necessitating eight hours cross-examining the entire department to save anywhere up to a pound, enjoyable at one's leisure later over a glass of something equidistant between vinegar and weasel juicings.

Perhaps this process improves shopping. Perhaps. It certainly spices up a phone call to one's parents that evening, as they scrabble around looking for topics to keep you talking while dad fires up the mobile and contacts Social Services. And perhaps this approach should be more widely adopted. In the future we may be able to share our extra-chromosome-special interpretations of our common experience with each other, exchanging tales of frozen food bears while leaning nonchalantly on a bottle of needlessly expensive olive oil which is destined to tip over the moment we shift our elbows to replenish the blood supply to our hands. Finally the glorious day will come and we will find someone with the same fantasy, over which we shall bond, knowing that the ordeal of shopping will never have quite the same bite again.

Then we sue for copyright.

What do you think, did we get it right? Comment here...