Saturday, 20 December 2014

supermarket sweep

"lets go wild in the aisles" - Dale Winton

"In one of Alan Bennett's Talking Heads dramas, someone exposes themselves in a branch of Sainsbury's. "Tesco's you could understand," says an elderly woman tartly. It's a remark that neatly sums up both the British obsession with class and our almost tribal attachment to specific supermarket brands. Tesco, the implication goes, is for commoner people who are slightly more likely to drop their trousers in public than Sainsbury's shoppers. By extension, Waitrose is for those more likely to have second homes in Chiantishire than the first two; Asda for people who aspire to have a second home anywhere but probably never will; Lidl for people who have never heard of Chiantishire; Marks and Spencer for those who affect to have never heard of Lidl. That kind of thing"  *source - The Guardian

chatting with friends about the dating industry this week 
I was astounded to discover what a colossal money spinner it was, over 16 million Americans admit to having tried a dating service of some kind. And alone has 15 million worldwide members.

Now compare that with India, which has a very low percentage of dating agencies to a very high percentage of 'Matrimonial agencies' as quite incredulously ninety five percent of all Indian marriages are still arranged. And even then no more than 12 million people use a matrimonial agency, which in a country with well over one billion adults, is a much smaller percentile ratio than it's Western counterparts. In the West we don't have arranged marriages, but it got me thinking

How different are dating agencies to Matrimonial sites?

I suppose the most obvious of differences lies in 'family involvement' I can't see any American I know asking his Mom to pay for his fees and arranged marriages, even in this day and age still keep within caste and religious confines. The deal breaker in the UK would be more likely based on which football team you supported.
However there are basic similarities, as in  you fill in some details of the criteria you are seeking (couple of differences here, requesting fair skin wouldn't be allowed on Western sites as caste or class or veg on non veg probably wouldn't factor either) then you ask someone else to get involved and find you someone, next money  changes hands (dowry or fees) and

The third way of meeting someone is a phenomena I first became aware of some years ago, when I lived in San Francisco. The Marina branch of the supermarket chain Safeway was famed to have special nights  where singles could mingle and select more than a nice French Stick (it was even gay night on Thursday) apparently whilst people were shopping they were being eyed up and judged on their availability and social status (and on Thursdays their personal sexual status) by the contents of their baskets:-
Value anything = welfare
Diapers & family box of fish sticks = a no goer 
Strawberry's and champagne = a goer, albeit an expensive one
I even heard of men putting very expensive items into their baskets they had no intention of purchasing  to entice women into thinking they were wealthier than they actually were. 

In these recession doldrums, more and more people, especially in the US and UK are turning to this 'free' way to meet a potential life partner and there are actually online sites giving tips on this and the supermarkets are clearly encouraging it and it's hardly surprising as although the UK is a tiny country, it's population spends a staggering £75 BILLION (that's $130 BILLION or a thousand SQUILLION  rs) in their collective stores.

I mean if I were on the market to be looking, I would head straight to the aisles, as food is almost the total basis of my existence I would be keeping a keen eye on what purchases were going down, no not for me worries of fair skin or caste or creed or horoscope it's all about the produce baby

So to keep you up to speed (dating) I have compiled a quick ideal match supermarket guide so let's get down with Dale and go  'wild in the aisles'

Rather like the Caste system in India, the UK also hasn't an ancient class system, which is the Supermarket Class system and people will judge your social demographic from the supermarket you ideally like to shop at, as Indians class people by their surnames. 
So from the bottom of the food chain to the top (note I have only included high street retailers as lets face it even if you do bump into Prince William in the Harrods food Hall, you've got no chance, he's taken)

Good For: Pikeys (if you aren't English, google 'Pikey' and if you are a Pikey apologies for the derogatory term but you are one so you don't count)

Expect to find:  Pikeys (and possibly, occasionally starving students when their parents forgot to top up their pocket money) Girls, your first date will undoubtedly be at MacDonald's - no salad bar

Sightly higher up the food chain than LIDL because there are less Pikeys
Good For: no frills, budget conscious folk

Expect to Find: Cheapskates but not Pikeys, (as in they will be paying for their purchases not stealing them) and as a bonus your first date will at least be at the MacDonalds of your choice - no salad bar

Good For: Working class heroes, Asda isn't well stocked on fancy pants produce but apparently they have been voted the UK's best Supermarket Pizza for about a million years

Expect to find: Tradesmen who can't be doing with fancy pants food & divorced men who's ex wives have taken them to the cleaners so they have had to become semi budget conscious & not eat fancy pant stylee - rubbish salad bar

One up on Asda for it's 'quaint' Fresh Market aisle, a nice but failed attempted to make you feel like you're shopping in a Parisian Market, however the colour scheme is even more visually disturbing than Asda's.
Good For:: The same people as Asda & blind people

Expect to find: The same people as Asda & blind people
fair to middling salad bar

Now, the billy big boys of supermarket shopping, the largest retailer in the country and the third largest retailer in the world (and the second largest global profit producing company) oh yes it's good old TESCO
Good For: People who don't have a specific demographic in their head, as with those kind of figures the demographic of Tesco is surely an all class, creed & culture mix

Expect to Find: The whole country, apparently -
salad bar good but only available in superstores


Good For : Introverted food snobs, wannabe intellectuals & people who are looking to climb the social ladder whilst buying Cambodian hand pressed sardines, also people hoping to possibly bump into Jamie Oliver

Expect to find:  (me when I'm in the UK) & professional busy folk who like to cook but clearly don't like to 'chop' and if you want a specific central African Salad Dressing (as I once purchased mainly based on the cute zebra print stopper wrapping) then this is the store for you - amazing salad bar

*Now sorry I mentioned the fact that its my favourite supermarket, except for the Jamie Oliver bit, I always kept a keen eye out, as we used to live quite near him but to no avail

The most superior of all supermarket retailers, very snobby & as a result not doing too well in the recession
Good For:  Meeting upper middle class lawyers, Kate Middleton wannabes & C list celebrities, also has an expansive fancy pants section 

Expect to find:  A mixture of high flying professionals, of all ages, aspirational models & C list celebrities - ridiculously over the top, even for me salad bar

Now there are two more major food retailers in the UK and shall we just say they generally are for the more 'mature' dater so we have them once again in lower & upper middle arrangement.


Good For: The stamps and old men in flat caps with ever so more than slightly socialistic principles (hence the working class aspect)

Expect to find: Working class widows (some maybe heroes, some may just be sporting a shampoo & set) 

*Age discrimination disclaimer, I defy anyone to go to any CO OP at anytime and not find a gaggle of pensioners sporting the standard pastel or beige 'lightweight mackintosh' (almost certainly purchased at Edinburgh Woollen Mill) 

Good For:  Men who are older & don't mind a woman who cant cook or younger women who also can't cook and want a sugar daddy with a Mercedes who again, in turn, can't cook, because their ex/deceased wives did it previously & their lady who does is too busy shopping at Aldi

Expect to find:  Middle aged women who never learned to cook & divorced/widowed upper middle class men, who never learned to cook as their ex/deceased wives did it for them (be wary of these men as allegedly they are in the most likely demographic of having a 'lady who does')
Also all the fresh produce in M&S is perfect & unblemished 

*Age discrimination disclaimer, Marks & Spencer have tried for years to get hold of the younger retail market with their sexy borderline food porn ads, but the younger folk still go to TESCO because they have really cool flat screen TV's and what not and a cafe that sells a really good fry up 24/7 so that's that

I also omitted to include Iceland because lets face it any store that has Kerry Katona advertising for them is far too below the food chain and closer to the single cell chain, I also omitted Sommerfields, because let's face it, what use is Sommerfields, it's probably just full of ugly people who you wouldn't want to date any which way.

So there we have it folks, select your store wisely and pick your produce well and if you play your cards right after you've gone 'Wild In The Aisles' a couple of DO'S & DON'Ts...

DO  make them this quick and sexy spiced up omelet 

DON'T   ask how they like their eggs in the morning 

parsi prawn omelet 

per person
3 eggs - beaten 
handful of cooked & peeled prawns
1 ripe tomato - finely diced
1 small red onion - finely diced
handful of grated cheese
1/4 tsp each of cumin - jeera - garam marsala - chilli powder
s&p to taste
handful of coriander leaves - half finely chopped
fresh lime wedges
sprinkle of dried chilli flakes
knob of butter

add spices & salt & pepper to egg mixture
heat butter in non stick pan & swirl in egg 
line the pan with egg mixture till it begins to slightly set
throw in tomatoes, onion & prawns
half fold over, reduce heat until set
toss on shredded coriander leaves & chilli flakes
serve with lime wedges

throw it all together in a casual manner and make 'Bedhead on a plate'

1 comment:

  1. Mouthwatering here,