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Down the Aisle … Your shopping Correspondent

With Ambrose Quint.

Series 4


Happy specials, shoppers!

Was greeted as I came through the shopping mall doors by a shopping trolley with comparable prices sign advertising that the same trolley-full of products at this centre would cost the shopper approx. $40.00 less! … ”Check this out shoppers!” … There was a lady at the information desk nearby where the security chain from the trolley ended and I asked if the cost difference included the shoplifting fine? … she laughed and laughed …

But it’s true … shoplifting is a grave concern … and so many funny things get stolen, I was told … but the lady wouldn’t go into details … I remarked that I suppose the usual slithy toves and wippowills are the things most baffling … she said that she was not familiar with those products …

One thing that I did discuss with the woman at the desk that was of concern to me, and ought to be to the management was: “The Displacer” … you know … that mysterious person or persons who take … oh, say … a snack-bar from that section and will slip in with the plastic containers in another section … displacing it.

I have my suspicions about these people … and I shared them with the wide eyed information officer … woke her up to a conspiracy, I shouldn’t wonder … We can expect to hear more on this subject from the management.

What happens with these displacers, in my opinion, is that it is not a haphazard operation by either older forgetful shoppers or harassed parents snatching unwanted items from light-fingered kids and replacing them back on any shelf … No … this is an organised affair by a sophisticated group of people … a club … if you like.

Here’s how it works:

A member is selected to “compete” in a weekly or monthly event, where they are judged on the number, quality and deviousness of their displacement … They wander innocently up and down the aisles while they “do their business” … an “approved” judge follows unobtrusively behind, marking points for or against the displacer according to the aforementioned criteria … for instance … 10 points (the max’) could be awarded for displacing a tub of yoghurt amongst the frozen fish products … (a daring performance!) whereas only 3 points for the muesli bar being dumped among the bread-rack … (a limp-wristed attempt!) … some points, I suspect, would be deducted if a “competitor” fumbles, is noticed or drops the displacing article in the course of the action … And the person with the most points at the end of the test period gets to wear the official fluro-vest and is saluted with free libations at the clubroom happy-hour drinks night … I should imagine.

Having told this theory in great detail to the lady at the information desk, I was assured that there could soon be someone wishing to speak to me about my “interesting theories” … So I am now awaiting for a couple of tallish blokes in white coats that should be here any minute … ah! There they are!

“Yoo hoo! … chaps over here! … I’m the bloke you’ll be wanting to talk to … I say .. this’ll be jolly! … have I got something of interest to tell you!”

So having to now go … till next time shoppers …


Down the Aisle …

Your shopping correspondent.

Happy specials, shoppers!

I see how they do it now … those cunning shelf planners in the supermarkets … How they do product placement in such a way, with the colour-coordination of similar shaped products with their labels all lined up at eye-level and the shiny, bright, flickering labels catching your eye like it does … combined with a cunning and devious use of the fluro lighting from above … A walk down the aisle of the supermarket can be as mesmerising as a hypnotist’s swinging fob-watch!

You become mesmerised by the shiny packaging and the glinting light of the fluros off them so that you cannot even see the product you first set out to buy even when you are standing right in front of the bloody things!! … I mean … there they are! … staring you in the face but you can’t see them because you have just been hypnotised by the continuing stream of another product mesmerising your mind and now instead of purchasing those cotton-wool buds you came down the chemist products aisle to get, you find you have an almost insatiable urge to buy and instantly consume two dozen economy sized boxes of “choco flavoured laxettes”!

Another trick they get you on is the smell-factor: You’ve been at the shopping for nearly an hour now and the old tummy suddenly starts churning and pushing the “hungreeee” button, just as you reach the cheese counter then on your way past the cooked chicken display … and you can just bet they have some sort of tricky fan there stoked with an msg enhancing chicken scent wafting out over the aisle and creating a olfactory riot amongst the dieting young first-time mothers who have just had babies and are trying to get the bod’ back into shape so they can squeeze back into that size 12 swimsuit they used to fit … it’s cruel …

But if you reckon the health/medical supplies aisle is bad, you wait till you hit the lollies and chocolate dept’! … It’s no accident they have that glinty cellophane wrapper on the lollies .. all tumbling out of those little “self-help” boxes like pixies and elves just wanting to frolic about on your taste-buds and help pile on those pounds! … and the chocolate blocks with that golden sheen wrapper stroking your vision like a demented Barbara Eden in I dream of Jeannie … and don’t tell me it’s just an electrical fault that the fluros flicker in just that aisle .. so that the hypnotic “voices” calling you from the bars of “Old Gold”(70 % cocoa), or the crispy wrapped “Mega Mix” of the Ferrero Rocher shelf is a relentless cooee to the ancient animal carnivore in us all crying; “EAT THE FLESH! … EAT THE FLESH!” sending the more weak-willed chocoholics into a weeping frenzy … (I’ve see it, I tell you!!), tearing wildly at the wrapper and sinking their teeth deliciously and ravenously drooling into the “flesh” of thick hazelnut milk chocolate!! … Can we criticise them? … can we condemn them (I’m asking for a friend) … and, btw … the security personnel ought to show a degree more consideration as well and not just roughly throw them out on their ear!

Till next time … signing off … ouch! ; your shopping correspondent.


Down the Aisles.

Your shopping correspondent.

Happy specials, shoppers!

“Work 8, * cast off 2 sts., work 8 (7) Sts.; rep. from * 3 times more (4 in all), cast off 2 sts., work to end.”

Now some of you may recognise the above quoted code, and no; it is not derived from the German “Enigma” coding machine, but just a common knitting pattern from an old magazine … what they used to call; “A woman’s magazine” back in the old days … There used to be similar magazines for men, I believe … but with different subject matter … but they must have also contained many tricky patterns as my big brother wouldn’t let me see his as he said I was too young to “comprehend” … yes, that’s the word he used … I remember he stalled on that word … nodded and said; “comprehend” … I used to see my mother index-finger under similar codes in her old Woman’s Day mag’s when I was a child … and to this day I still cannot work the damn things out!

But you would see many mothers carry those decorated, hollowed tubes made of cellophane and cross-stitched wool around the top and bottom with a circular lid and they contained an endless supply of the latest knitting project that could be taken into the picture theatre or where-ever and set to work … One can remember that tense moment in The Gunfight at the OK Corral where Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas fight it out together … the clicking of the size 12 needles poised in mid-flight at the zenith of the action … then to continue in softer more emotional, gentle strokes for the love scenes with Rhonda Fleming … like the most sensitive touch of Buddy Rich caressing a kettle-drum with a “brush” … a sort of suburban domestic accompaniment along with the highs and lows of the musical score of the film.

And it is much the same for those coded ingredients that one sees highlighted as a “SUPER ADDITIVE” on some products … like: “Now containing OMEGA 3! … FOR EXTRA VITALITY!!” … that sort of thing … and then you have something called the “Glycemic index” followed by a number that could or could not be “GREAT!!” … and there is the ‘Glycemic Load” as well .. there are others .. One need not look far down the aisles to find them … secret ingredients or new “super-foods” just overflowing with coded letters and numbers that just ooze health and vitality … where once, the only coded label was the “V8 Tomato Juice” amongst the other juice bottles … The same sort of things can be found in “off-the-shelf” medicines in any chemist shop … it creates an air of cynical shopping experience I can tell you!

Talk about another sight that one is seeing much more of these days down the aisles … and that is the altering dress-code for the young, sartorial conscious men …

Have you, like myself, noticed the shocking new fashion for the post hipster era of young males in the socks department? … ghastly, multi-coloured things displayed by “flagging” trousers above the ankles! … or else those ankle-socks (I refuse to use the American spelling of : sox )that female tennis players use … or even worse … now brace yourselves fellow shoppers: NO SOCKS!! … Can there be a more indecent sight than a male wearing patent-leather shoes and NO SOCKS?? … it grates on the psyche almost as much as the finger-nail down the blackboard! … one feels violated!

But one has to admit that the idea of one set fashion, be it cultural or couture, is not applicable these days of stretch lycra and trakky-daxs put the two together and you got a Kardashian arse on a twiggy frame … not a pleasant sight for any male that still harbours any vestige of youthful memories of Annette Funicello or Gidget goes West! … how’s the song go?; something about; “… that which is lost upon the way … ” … or something like that … and then there’s those loud, super bright glasses that hipsters and even some “just past middle-age” people like to wear .. perhaps to draw attention to themselves … I know you can’t see anything else but those things when they are talking to you … some couples have matching pairs … sort of a “Kath and Kel” thing I suppose … is it a “metro-man” thing or just “unisex” … dunno …

Oh well … until next time, this is your shopping correspondent signing off …

(Ps; don’t forget to grab those saucepan coupons!) …


Down the Aisles

Your shopping correspondent.

Country Swap-meet special edition …

Happy specials, shoppers!

There are two noticeable things you can definitely claim about the boomer generation … They have singularly cemented the denim jean into its permanent place in history and they are positively the last generation that will, regardless of the weather, fearlessly (hu)man the stalls at these swap-meets.

The denim jean on the aged body of the … particularly … male baby boomer serves as both a object of decorum and ridicule … decorum as it thankfully is the final, secure fragment of cloth between the public and the even more gross private and it is hoped that never the twain shall meet … at least not eye to eye … and we’ll leave it at that … ridicule, because by the time the boomer generation has reached a certain age, that slim, trim body that once could support a pair of hipsters denims with elan and style, along with the stud-belt, has lost much of its hips and the now gross distortions of a body wasted on bad diet and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, cannot support much style and those marvellous denims have slipped to a depth of depravity that exposes those more fleshy portions of the body to too much cold air … particularly at this time of the year … the hipster jeans has descended to the crackster baggies!

And the second thing is; being about the last generation that actually has the know-how to fix things, those aged mechanics and handypersons hold on their stalls all the accoutrements of DiY dreamers … spanners, screwdrivers, electrical clips and callipers … but their clientele is fading … as the older patrons drop off to aged care home or Harley-Davidson Valhalla, there is none of the next generation to replace them … relying, as the gen X and Y tend to do on an App on their mobile phone to solve any number of problems … except … how to tune the Holly-4 bbl-carburettor or adjust the “dizzy” … let alone re- install an “Edelbrock” hi-rise manifold … so if I were you, I’d get myself down to the next swap-meet near you and have a good look around at history in the breaking, because they have to be a dying species.

It became noticeable whilst one perused the different eras of the stall offerings, that music complimentary to the goods on sale was belted out from the intestines of Nissan van or trailer … For instance, where the items on the tables were deliberately of the “sixties”, you could tap your fingers to, say, the throaty voices of Dusty Springfield or Helen Shapiro … and if from the “eighties/nineties”, some sort of wailing ‘death-metal’ guitar and incomprehensible growling voice wafted from the van … and one had to wonder on there being so many old blokes with showing scalp through long, wispy grey hair and long wispy beards to match … like a live view of the blokes in ZZ Top … and the tatts’ … why does everybody think they can improve on the human body with tatts’!!?? … if the bod’ is gross, no amount of “inking” to the point of a full “body suit” is going to improve it … and what’s all this Lemmy Kilmister impersonation with the bent hat, hanging fag and cadaverous hairy face? … it didn’t look good on him and I cannot see any improvement with a “tribute band” impersonation … Adonis is the male measure of handsome … not Lemmy!

And the stuff on the stalls!!?? … I thought – I – had a shed or two full of the most strangest, valueless odds and sods … but man!! …

The truth being, I suspect, is that many of the stall-holders, with just a scattering of things for sale, do it just to get out of the house .. to get some company … to meet people … and good luck to them … it’s gotta be better than Tinder!

Until next time, this is your shopping correspondent signing off.


Down the aisle …

Your shopping correspondent.

Happy specials, shoppers!

They’re taking the mickey out on us, of course … by “us”, I mean us baby-boomers … The good lady has the March edition of a cooking magazine open to the page showing a vegan pizza! … a vegan pizza do you mind …

“Oh well,” I reflect as I stir the proffered cup of “ginger zinger” tea … (I almost added milk!) “I suppose you could use the recipe there and just throw the salami on top as well to cheer it up” …

“It says to use ‘cauliflower mince’ as the topping … ” she read out.

“Cauliflower mince!!??” I exclaim … ” WTF is cauliflower mince??” But of course it is a wasted protest .. you see, we are both getting to that age where the medicinal diet is an imperative if you want to make 100 years with still a bit of lead in the pencil … and now it is only in sentimental daydreams of a wasted youth in Darwin that I can “taste” that “super-size” take-away meal of “Porky’s spare ribs” with side bag of chips and sauce, washed down with many cans of that gentle beer and a television replay of the “laugh a minute” Father Knows Best! … Ahh! … they knew how to make sit-coms in those days.

I remember a past marriage when we were mixed up with an “alternative education group” and my then partner adopted what could best be called “alternative protein” foods with fanatical zeal, and tofu and tabouli was a fixed item on our weekly menu … Tabouli goes well with a nice cut of lamb … a nice juicy cut of lamb … not tofu … tofu goes well sitting in its plastic packaged wrap in the rack of the fridge door … and staying there until it goes green and you then chuck it out!

It got to the stage where I would cunningly seek forewarning of such meals and stop off at a known small-town bakery on my way home from a hard day’s work and fill up on their renowned protein enriched pies and perhaps a macaroon or two … they had wonderful macaroons.

Needless to say, that marriage failed on the grounds of gastronomical cruelty.

But then when I was last at the mega shopping emporium, I had to park up the trolley while the good lady perused the selections of flours … besan, lupin, f#ckin’ spelt, buckwheat … is there a hemp flour? … because there oughta be! … there’s hemp everythin’ else!: Hemp seeds, hemp oil, hemp protein … and I believe you can even get … wait for it!: hemp beer! … It’s cruel, isn’t it!? … and of course there nothing you can do with the hemp except, I’ll bet, plonk it on some vegan pizzas or something … Though you can’t tell me some wide-eyed hop-head hasn’t bought a pack of seeds and tried to grow his own, just on the off chance …

Ah … I’ve just about had enough of it … all this growing old and healthy is about as bad as growing old and sober … there’s little to recommend it, it’s like that episode of “The Hollow Men” where the garrulous old politician flings the capers out of his sandwich …

“Why do they want to continually try to re-invent the f#ckin’ sandwich!!?”

I’d say the same with pizza: “If it aint broke, don’t f#ckin’ vegan it!!”

Until next “Super Wednesday” shopping experience … this is your correspondent signing off.

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  1. Joseph Carli

    With the onslaught of outraged sexuality, I thought you all could do with a bit of cheering up!…Good on old Ambrose Quint and his shopping experiences…Happy shopping indeed!

  2. Michael Taylor

    Joe, it’s not necessary to trivialise women’s experiences.

  3. Joseph Carli


  4. Bronte D G ALLAN

    Another great collection of of shopping tales, well done Joseph! i always push the bloody trolley around the supermarket, but my wife continually tries to hang on to the trolley or grasp it, as if I can no longer steer the bloody thing. And I am amazed at the number of blokes I see not pushing their trolleys but allowing their wives/partners to push them, while they stroll around the supermarket, twiddling their thumbs or daydreaming! Always enjoy your witty banter about adventures whilst shopping, keep it up!

  5. Joseph Carli

    Thanks, Bronte…but alas…this will be the last post that I will place here…that stupid comment from Michael put the kybosh on my patience with the low wit and intolerance that I have experienced from so many cruds on this site..and now, what with the clamoring for blood from the ball-cutters here, I can only shivver in dread of exposure of my sexual fumblings as a seventeen year old trying to …like Peter Sarsted [ ]…discover what it was that those women were hiding under their clothes!….and now, with what I can only believe that any young male would approach with fear and trepidation the hidden delights of female erotica..there will be more than enough women reaching their mid-twenties with their hymen still intact to be able to claim the next virgin-birth and we can ALL await with breathless anticipation the second coming of Christ to once again lift us males AND females to some sort of abstintential Valhalla!…

    Me…FUCK!…I miss the seventies!..

    Here…for you, Bronte and others who have over the years enjoyed my stories…

  6. Kronomex

    Goodbye and good riddance!

    “…this will be the last post that I will place here…that stupid comment from Michael put the kybosh on my patience with the low wit and intolerance that I have experienced from so many cruds on this site..and now, what with the clamoring for blood from the ball-cutters here…”

    The above just shows what a vile low person you are just because the adulation you so desperately desire was not forthcoming every time you posted something. The rest of it was just plain creepy and thoroughly unpleasant.

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