5 things about food shopping that really grind my gears...
Or is it just me?
Buying food is a task we all have to do. It seems simple and linear but the reality is different. Once you walk past the supermarket's door you find yourself in a twisted and confused habitat where all your certitudes and good intentions quickly disappear.
First of all, it doesn't matter if you went there just to buy two beers and tomato sauce, you will come out with two big bags, comfort food, weird ingredients you've never heard of before, and something that was on a special offer.
Without further ado, here are my top 5 worst things about shopping for food.
Special offers are vicious and subtle. You know you don't need another stock of toilet paper, but it's there, and there's a big discount so... It ends up in the cart. Even more dangerous are the three for 0.99 offers. My cupboard is full of pasta thanks to that kind of stuff – I have like nine packs stocked, and I live alone... Big prices and exclamation points draw you to grab items you don't even need but that seem a good deal. Basically, marketing is a marvellous and scary thing...
The Masterchef effect
Then there's the "Masterchef" effect, which is even more dangerous. You might usually live off simple food, but wandering between the aisles your brain starts to process intricate recipes. You spy the Himalayan pink salt and think, 'ooh, I could cook a gourmet steak with that salt, garnished with a complex sauce full of spices. And it'll need a side dish: roasted sweet potatoes cooked over artisan coal that smells of sandalwood and pine? Perfect.' The result? Due to a lack of time, you grill the steak, throw some fries in the fryer and the rest? Well, it stays in the cupboard forever.
The comfort food trap
Never doing a grocery shop when you are hungry is one of the first pieces of advice you find literally everywhere. However, even if you've stuffed yourself silly, it wouldn't stop most of us from buying crisps, cookies, or that nice, big inviting jar of Nutella gazing at you from the shelf...
Even if you always do your food shopping in the same place, the moment when you don't find something will arrive. You'll find yourself helplessly walking around in circles trying to find that ONE thing, that only two days before was in the usual place and now it is gone only God knows where. After passing by the same shelf ten times or so, and wandering around with no results to find a shop worker, if you are lucky you'll eventually find a merciful soul willing to give you some indications.
"Oh cock!" Whether you had a list or not, the typical James May catchphrase will escape your mouth the exact moment you walk away from the shop. It doesn't matter if you checked everything on the list, or if you mentally summed up everything you needed to buy, you will certainly have forgot something...