Do you remember in days of yore when people would go to supermarkets, in person? Seems hard to believe now but these poor folk would pay £1 for a trolley, push it round by hand, physically put their own groceries in it and then go pay. They then faced the indignity of taking it all out of the trolley, only to have to put it all back in again and then take it out again to transport it home. The whole process would take around 7 hours and leave the poor ‘shopper’ (as they were then known) quite exhausted from the effort of it all.
Such drudgery has of course now been practically eradicated thanks to the phenomenon of ‘online shopping’ – hurrah! Now we have no need to go near these places and our shopping turns up on our doorstep as if by magic. I love online shopping; it has rescued me from the trauma of the Weekly Big Shop, the frustration of having to manoeuvre around people who push their trolleys by lying slumped over the bars as if dead (men), families who think it’s a good idea for both parents and 3 kids to go together to share the pain and the shame of buying Tena Ladies for ‘a friend’. Not that I ever did that *crosses legs* *coughs*.
I am an online shopping whore; happy to place my order with whichever shop offers me the biggest vouchers or free delivery. I particularly like the flash sales you get with Morrison’s: extra bargains offered to you at the last minute, just before checking out. This is my opportunity to panic buy stuff I would never normally buy or want because it’s telling me it’s only available in that millisecond. It’s the online equivalent to an impulse purchase. I’m so glad that this new form of shopping has not taken away my opportunity to buy crap I don’t need.
As much as I do love it, it’s not without its issues. For me, part of the enjoyment is the frisson of excitement wondering which of the items I’ve ordered will actually turn up and the creativity of the substitutions. I have either experienced or known of the following: cauliflower cheese instead of cottage cheese, a colander instead of bag clips and, my personal favourite, black pudding instead of black cherries (delivered, poetically, to a vegetarian).
There are also the items for which there are just no substitutes: rare, elusive products that simply can’t be replaced with anything at all. Like apples. And baked beans.
Quantities can be tricky to get right. I have ordered everything from an entire carrier bag full of broccoli to a single banana. A friend of mine ended up with 7 packs of minced beef. It’s all part of the adventure.
Of course there is no such thing as anonymous shopping any longer. Every guilty pleasure indulged is recorded forever more on your account and even stored in your Favourites to taunt you. With a Nectar card, even the naughty cream bun or huge chocolate bar you ran into Sainsbury’s to buy will be added to your items of shame on your account forever. So what if I like the odd bag of pork scratchings – don’t judge me!
I’m hoping that the next development of online shopping will be that they come in and put it all away for me while popping the kettle on and opening up my bumper bag of pork scratchings. One day…