Posted by keith on January 11th, 2010
Unless you are, by some remarkable turn of events, completely self-sufficient in food — which, believe me, I would dearly love to be, except that I live in a society that doesn’t want me to be — then you will have to go out and buy stuff from time to time. Today was one such time; so after walking my younger daughter to school (or, to be accurate, walking about 30 metres in front of her while she chatted to a friend) I continued slipsliding on the surface of pavements covered with just-melting ice, and eventually reached the small National Trust property where I do some wardening two or three times a week. The gate was locked due to the snow and ice being quite treacherous, so I let myself in and spent a happy 30 minutes walking around picking up the odd piece of litter, and generally enjoying the bewhitened landscape, replete with squirrels, crows, chaffinches and a slightly confused mistle thrush.
I left through the top gate, then continued my slidey walk through the town in search of a charity shop woolly hat (£1 from Cancer Research), a mug of coffee (to accompany the planning of The Unsuitablog’s next major campaign), some potatoes and onions from the corner veg shop, and various food items from the Co-op (formerly Somerfield). It was while putting the porridge oats, vinegar, butter, bread flour etc. on the conveyor belt at the till that I noticed the woman in front, dutifully packing all of her items into a range of “bags for life”, that had been bought at Tesco, Sainsburys and Marks & Spencer.
After you’ve clicked on the links in the last sentence, see if you have the same thoughts about bags as me…
See what I mean, especially that last one?
I can’t remember exactly what she was putting in the bags, but it was an awful lot, and most of it didn’t look like staple foods; more the kinds of things bought to satisfy the endless cravings brought on by a life spent in front of advert-strewn television sets. Now, I don’t want to bash this particular person: look at any supermarket queue and you will see the same thing, and far worse in the form of two-litre bottles of Coke and spring water, multi-packs of crisps, loaves and loaves of sliced bread (especially when the weather’s cold, for some reason), ready meals and prepacked meats and pre-washed vegetables and pre-peeled potatoes and pre-grated cheese, bars of chocolate, boxes of cakes…piles and piles of food in shopping carts, of which about 30% will be thrown away, and the rest gorged upon in an orgy of consumer loyalty. This is normal; perfectly normal.
And it’s fine, because it’s all neatly packed in eco-friendly reusable bags.