I find myself in a peak activity period of my life. We’ve just bought our first house, relocated to a new city and are about to welcome into the world our second youngster. This is a time of rapid, confusing and sometimes awkward change; a life-puberty almost. With such a load on my mind, you would think I would be having sleepless nights as I wrestle with these new changes. That I would be struggling to adapt before ‘the second one’ (that’s what we are calling the baby...’runner-up’ seems a bit disparaging) arrives. That these big concepts would be consuming my thoughts as I try to focus at work.
But that isn’t the case.
Almost in rebellion to the scope of what is before us, my mind seems captured by only one subject- Supermarkets.
I am obsessed by them!
In our new area, we are spoilt for choice. I can triangulate my house using the three local Aldis and we sit just outside of another Bermuda triangle of Coles, where independent grocers and competitive pricing have been known to disappear. Woolworths have a smaller presence in the area, but I have never been swayed by their wares. I find there rotisserie chickens more akin to moist rubber ducks. I also like how they insist on ensuring Robbie Williams receive increasing royalties for ‘Angels’ by playing it instore constantly.
Aldi is exotic to me. I read their catalogues like a Spanish nobleman perusing a list of Columbus’ finds from the new world. “What is this Cat Cave you speak of? Bring me one of those!” I once ventured into one, but was overwhelmed and taken advantage of by locals. Friends suggested going on a group tour, so I am planning on booking something with Trafalgar in the spring.
Coles is a place I am much more familiar with. Sure it doesn’t have Jamie Oliver fronting their ads like Woolworths, but they’ve got RSPCA approved chickens and eggs, a status Mr Oliver himself is yet to attain! I was deeply sad to say goodbye to our inner-city Coles. It was the showpiece in the Coles supermarket stable, so advanced and modern it was featured in their ads. Do you know how validating it is to pick up your weekly cucumber from the same pallet Curtis Stone leant against in the Hormone-free Beef ad? Of course you don’t! You probably shop at an IGA.
I was looking for something more. Something to fill the supermarket sized-hole in my heart that Pascal blamed on God. That’s why nothing could have excited me more, not the arrival of my forthcoming offspring, a Lonely Planet guide to Aldi or the destruction of the Angels recordings master tapes in a house fire that also claims the life of Robbie Williams, than the news of a brand new Coles.
Down the road from our new house sits the latest offering from the Coles people, an experiment in Human behaviour as much as it is a supermarket. This store is big enough to park a 747 in, with unique sections for the non-edibles (in most people’s diets) such as socks, baby goods, cosmetics, crockery and party supplies. The aisles are the length of a bowling alley and the width of Kim Kardashian’s front door. Stocked on its shelves are foods from exotic places such as India, the unknown country of Asia and someplace called Britain?
I had been there for just over an hour when I thought I should text my wife to explain why the short trip for a few essentials had turned out to be much more. She probably thought I had tried my luck again at Aldi and got lost.
I texted her “This place is insane!”
Her response came quick. “You’re talking about a supermarket!”
Hopefully you’ll notice that we both adhere to the rules of grammar when texting. Sure we are wasting valuable micro-seconds of our life each text, but YOLO right?!
But I knew she was wrong. That place isn’t just a supermarket. It is an escape. A state of mind. A mind that is too occupied with local supermarkets than the big issues of life currently facing it. A mind that may, just after all, be a little insane.
Now excuse me while I go read the weekly specials catalogue.