27 Jan 2007

feeling 'russian'

Shortly before Christmas, a new Tesco's opened in Carmarthen. It is allegedly the largest Tesco in West Wales... I hate it. I used to hate the huge one in Swansea, but this one really bites. What I hate about it most is the inhuman scale of the place, the only way I can describe it is to borrow a word from Watership Down - Tharn.

The first time I remember going tharn in a supermarket is the first time I visited the Safeway near B's old place in Portland. I stood in front of a dizzying array of 'hamburger helper' which seemed to stretch off as far as my eyes could see. What the hell was 'hamburger helper' and why did it need a whole aisle?

Anyway, this picture took me right back to that day in Portland.

If you are wondering why we shopping has become such an ordeal of endless choices, Malcolm Gadwell's Ted Talk might give you some insight as to why there are so many spaghetti sauces in the next aisle to all the hamburger helpers.

1 comment:

Rebekkah said...

I sometimes find that I need to just stop and close my eyes in stores like that, because I get so overwhelmed by the visual information. It's just *too much*. (The worst was when I first got my glasses, and everything was in sharper focus, but also distorted by my newly-corrected astigmatism. I actually felt nauseated, and almost had to sit on the floor to gather myself.)

Having grown up with all of those tomato sauce options Gladwell talks about, I know I'm spoiled. I know I'd feel disappointed if what *I* wanted wasn't on the shelf. But then I get to the toilet paper and paper towel aisle, and realize how absurd it all is. I can be convinced by the right person that, yes, maybe 50 flavors of sauces might in some universe make sense. But when it comes to wiping your ass or cleaning up kitchen spills, do we really need to be that picky. I can usually only edge the cart a couple of feet into that aisle, to grab what's closest, and then turn around and escape the paper products insanity.