Shopping as a source of discord by Angela Caldin

There’s tension and discord in our house again. This time it’s a dispute over shopping practices in general and where to shop in particular.

Vouchers as focus of irritation

My husband favours Sainsbury’s because he says there is a wide variety of products of good quality – he finds their muesli is second to none and values the generous amount of fruit it contains. I don’t argue with this at all. He also thinks their check-outs are efficient with their combination of self service and cashier tills. I grind my teeth in annoyance when he says this because he fails to mention all those terminally irritating vouchers that are spewed out at the till and which people then fumble around with when they are paying, uncrumpling them from the bottom of their bag or pocket and getting irate when told they are out of date.

Don’t put it in the diary

For my part, I find our Sainsbury’s is just too big and too orange – it sets my teeth on edge. I prefer a combination of Waitrose and the fruit and veg barrow next to Caffe Nero where I can nip in for a rewarding latte when my bags are full. But what has put the cap on it for me this week is my husband’s new organisational decision to keep his Sainsbury’s vouchers in our communal diary according to the date on the voucher. The result of this is that they flap about as you turn the diary’s pages to make an entry, rendering it difficult to see what’s occurring from day to day. If I inadvertently move the voucher onto the wrong week, he starts tut-tutting under his breath. I confess that I have an aversion to little bits of paper around the place at the best of times and little bits of paper in the diary seem to me to be the ultimate in undesirable clutter.

Expensive nectar

Last Sunday he hurried down the road to Sainsbury’s to use a voucher which promised that if he bought the Observer newspaper, he would gain 300 nectar points. As far as I can work out, a nectar point is worth half a pence (I stand to be corrected on this), so he spent £2 to buy a paper he wouldn’t otherwise buy and gained £1.50 in nectar points, a net loss of 50p. To make matters worse, as he read through the paper, it appeared to him that it was pro-Brexit, a major irritation for someone who is hopeful that Brexit won’t happen and that Vince Cable will become prime minister. Other vouchers promise bonus nectar points if you buy items that they know you’ve bought before and extra points if you spend a larger amount than usual. In short, the whole nectar edifice is a marketing ploy to make you spend more.

I’d really love it if they did away with all these bits of paper in favour of sparing forests of trees and lowering prices so my husband didn’t have to waste his time checking the dates on his vouchers, then cluttering up our diary with the orange bordered intruders.

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