Sunday, 17 May 2009

supermarket short-circuit

I'd been putting it off for a while, but last week bravely took the decision to venture (with the boys) into a supermarket. Not just any supermarket, but a Tesco Extra supermarket*. Tesco Extra is a new feature to my life. I hadn't appreciated quite just how large they are. Nor how many things that you haven't come to buy you have to pass until you get to what you want to buy.

Aisles and aisles of children's toys later (and having frisked the children to make sure they had put everything that they had picked off the shelves back onto the shelves) we were hunting down some cheese. We had found the appropriate aisle easily enough and everyone was looking for the cheese. We had even found the cheddar cheese fairly easily, although I was getting a bit dazed by the vastness of the cheese section. The problems started as I tried to find some plain old medium cheddar cheese in a normal sized packet. Super healthy living never seen an ounce of fat cheese, no problem. Vegan cheese, check. Organic cheese, check. Vegan organic cheese no problem. Super matured cheese, yup. Cheese with bits of fruit in, I could have bought you that. In fact, I was more likely to be able to buy oak casket matured, cranberry infused, maple syrup drizzled cheese that could dance a waltz and remember your mother in laws birthday than I was to find a normal size block of medium cheddar cheese.

I couldn't take it. The longer it took to find the cheese the more stressed I got and I could feel the circuits in my brain fusing. I simply couldn't cope with the array of choice available to me. Rather than being liberating, the ability to choose exactly what I wanted, I found it stressful. If there is an ability to choose exactly what you want then you need to work out what exactly that is. And then you have to find it. I think I'll be sticking to the smaller supermarkets for a bit.

*the urge to write 'not just any supermarket but an M&S supermarket' was almost uncontrollable. I'm still humming the jingle.


Totally forgot to mention earlier because I have the brain the size of a pea with holes in - the latest Best of British Mummy Bloggers Carnival is ready to go and has been for a while now... Those fancying more tales of nappies, poo and feeding times at the zoo with children should head on over to Being a Mummy for entertainment.


Mummy said...

When I was back last year I went to the huge Tesco near my sister to buy food for a picnic and had a similar, stressful, experience. I got stuck at the tomatoes and nearly ran away screaming. In HK you get, maybe, big ones and little ones in various aenemic shades of pink (unless you go somewhere really expensive). In Tescos there were hundreds of different varieties. I felt quite daunted.

siobhan said...

Mmmm, cheddar cheese, you're making me drool. I know what you mean about too much choice though. It'S one extreme to the other. In Turkey there only ever seems to be what's called white cheese (similar to feta) and what they translate as cheddar, which is rubbery and tasteless. There are probably similar options in Bosnia. I'm always looking forward to some flavoursome cheese when I go home.

Wife in Hong Kong said...

It's funny how when you're away from home you learn to do without and wonder who on earth needs 250 million different sorts of cheese or 390 varieties of cook-in sauce when you survive on basic mousetrap and make your own sauces. Having said that, I am quite excited about being able to pick up a recipe safe in the knowledge I'll be able to get all the ingredients without having to improvise.

Kathryn said...

I've just started reading your blog - it's fascinating!!

Millennium Housewife said...

Never trust a shop that sells lawnmowers and cheese, that's all I'm saying. MH

Maternal Tales said...

Oh too much choice is so annoying - especially when you are the world's worst at making decisions. Instead, I try to do shopping online and end up buying the same things each week. Can't work out which is more frustrating!

Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Mummy - glad it isn't just me!

Siobhan - we get some form of gouda, that is the closest we have found. Nothing like cheddar though - I miss it!

wife in HK - too true about the recipes! Ah well, can't have it all ways. Shame though!

Kathryn - hello, welcome and so pleased you like the blog. I'm keen to find out more about Italy so will check out yours when I am back in Bosnia and have some more online time.

MH - not only lawnmowers but sell insurance too. So wrong, surely?

MT - we dream of internet shopping. They have it in Sarajevo but not in Tuzla. Anything to not have to run the gaunlet of chocolate bars at the checkout with the boys!

Paradise Lost In Translation said...

it's called 'choice anxiety', a known syndrome afflicitng ex-pats living overseas & then returning to the dizzying array in supermarkets back home. It completely paralyses me. I am about to post about a Tesco expereince actually. Ah cheddar, little did I realise how much I'd miss cheddar, and a ploughman's lunch (which I never even ATE when living in the UK...??)