Tag Archives: shopping

Basket Test Case

Now and again, I pop into the Tesco store in Ringsend. Tesco in general can be pretty crap since they scaled down their ‘fancy’ product offerings two years ago. Tesco in Ringsend is extra crap. I recall a hissy fit when I realised they sold four different types of grated cheddar cheese and there was not a triangle of Parmesan (nor the grated variety) to be had. Parmesan is pretty basic, no? Last month, I again left the store, mumbling furiously to myself, when apples were the only fruit on sale. I have braces; I can’t bite into apples. I wanted a banana. Do you think there was a banana to be had? No! I flipped my imaginary hair furiously, turned on my heels and vowed never to set foot in the nutritionally void store again. The only item guaranteed in stock in Tesco Ringsend is scurvy.

Last week, out of pure necessity, I returned to same Tesco in Ringsend. I set my expectations low. Expect nothing ‘fancy’, fresh or organic, I reminded myself. Jubilations, there were bananas. I threw some into my basket. Since I prepared for an evening of study, I wanted Crunchy Nut Cornflakes to snack on. En route to the cereal aisle, which as you can guess is quite prominent – and barren of porridge and granola, I encountered a sight to behold. There, beside the small offering of vegetables stood a beautiful man. His hair was dark, almost black, was cut shortly and stylishly. His sharp cheek bones angled towards a dimpled chin. From his complexion – and lack of proximity – I guessed his eyes were blue. When dealing with a specimen of this calibre, it is essential to weigh up the whole package; I checked out his clothes. He wore a tweed jacket, most definitely from Zara, dark slim fit jeans and white Adidas Tiger runners. This boy ticked all the right boxes. It was imperative I travel to the cereal aisle via the vegetables and fruit. I slipped by, apologising as I did. He didn’t even notice.

Ten minutes later, my shopping basket brimmed with junk food. It was time to queue for a cashier. There were only four people in the queue. I noted the absence of Beautiful Man. The store is quite small. I hadn’t bumped into him on any other of the aisles. Where could he be? I asked. Did he leave? This required an investigation … or a stalk. He wasn’t on the alcohol aisle. Neither was he in the convenience food section. He was nowhere near the baked goods. He must have managed to sneak by me, I realised. Perhaps, he is still in the fruit and veg section? I pondered. Carrying my heavy basket, I wobbled in that direction. There he stood tall, looking as beautiful as ever, examining the label of some pre-packed corn-on-the cob. This man clearly makes an effort to eat healthily. I would never buy corn-on-the-cob, never mind examine the label. My presence had still not come on his radar. I took an opportunity to check out the contents of his shopping basket. In his basket was:

  • Strawberries
  • Glenisk yoghurt
  • Celery
  • Grapes
  • Onions

While his shopping list was clearly not representational of his final purchase, it gave an accurate assessment of how important his diet was, given his lean, healthy appearance and the considerable amount of time he spent choosing his fruit and veg. I was disappointed with his purchases. I too like to eat healthily, but there was no fun in his diet. It’s clear I am placing waaaaaaay too much emphasis on Beautiful Man’s purchases to soften the insult of his failure to acknowledge me as I purposely collided into him with my shopping basket. I dismissed him and his dull basket. The man I want will be as good looking as Beautiful Man, cook with fresh ingredients just as I am sure Beautiful man does, but my man will have a streak of fun in him. He’ll have a Box of Frosties, Oreos or a pack of Wagon Wheels in his shopping basket.


Lanvin for H&M

Emer reckons I shouldn’t buy any more jackets. “You could sell jackets at this stage,” she repeatedly says. So I shall heed her words and not buy a jacket. Instead, I shall buy a coat. Let it never be said I don’t take advice.

Last month, I was all set to splurge on my lovely All Saints coat until I missed my flight from London to Dublin. The cost of a replacement flight and booking a suitcase could have bought two thirds of my coat. As a punishment for my insane stupidity – at confusing departure time from London with arrival time in Dublin – I decided not to buy the lovely coat. You can wait for it you fool, I angrily told myself.

In the mean time, I learned Lanvin collaborated with H&M on a range of clothing, which is due to arrive in store 23rd November. I browsed the range and was rather smitten with a trench-coat (as modelled below). This style is very much all the rage at the moment, but it is certain the trench-coat will be in and out of fashion for coming decades. A good investment if you ask me.

Black Jeans

For the last few months I’ve admired many pairs of black jeans. I’m cautious. I’ve not worn black jeans since I was fourteen. Considering, it took me two or three years to overcome my issues with – and fit into – skinny jeans, it’s no surprise I am slow on the uptake. While browsing in BTs last weekend I stumbled across black Nudie slim-fit jeans. I tried them on. I and the shop assistant liked. They shall be my next wardrobe-investment.

Something Tastes Better than Skinny!

I have an obsession with skinny jeans; I want what I can’t wear. Skinny jeans are funky; instant style for people with an ass in proportion with the rest of their body. I am by no means fat, but I have fairly bulky thighs. Skinny jeans cling to my thighs and then plummet baggily from my knees. The resultant look is a leotard.

I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight since January. My wardrobe has halved in size. My once fitted jeans are now loose. I am at that irritating between-sizes-phase; clothes are either too tight or too loose. I ventured into Brown Thomas last night to check out the sales. Jeans were reduced by 50%.

Brown Thomas conveniently divide up their jeans by styles; “boot cut”, “baggy”, “straight leg”, “skinny” and “slim”. I had never seen “slim” before. In the slim category were two brands, Acne and Diesel. I picked up four pairs in varying colours. To the changing room I went.

Of all four pairs, the Acne grey jeans looked best; neither too tight nor too loose. They looked so good I almost thanked Holy God there and then. The jeans were originally priced at €170. I secured them for €52.

They look like skinny jeans, but do not look like they were applied with spray paint. These shall be my “slimmy jeans”. I’m chuffed with my purchase.

Zara, a Step Above Penneys

Popular high-street clothes shop, Zara, are the equivalent of Vincent de Paul to the fashion industry. Zara bring trends, tailoring and boutique-style shopping to the masses for high-street prices. I know little about Zara only for  a case study I did during my morkeshing degree. Zara’s business model involves stocking their stores with short runs of clothes to create a relatively “exclusive” line range of clothing.

Last week, I eagle-eyed a jacket in the store on Henry Street. I must have been ill since I didn’t purchase it. Since then, I have been in three Zara stores in different locations in the country. The same jacket was not there. I spotted other items that I’d never seen in others. I don’t understand how this can be. Maybe stock sells quicker in different stores. Perhaps they rotate stock.

Regardless of how Zara operate, I want that bloody jacket!

Going Straight

I was the eternal fan of the flare and boot cut, but even I can be turned by the strongest tides of fashion. Actually, a mere splash would redirect my opinion. I have for the second time in five years bought straight leg jeans. Is the age of the flare officially over?

Last weekend, I purchased narrow fitting, dark, navy Diesel jeans. Slim fitting just makes me feel slimmer. On this basis, would skinny make me feel skinny? Probably not, seeing as they are likely to come no higher than my knees and narrow calves.

A is for …

I’ve decided I am no longer going to torture myself with the pig swill served in the office canteen. I have decided to make my own lunch. Tonight, I went to Tesco to buy ingredients. I was a little out of my comfort zone. For the last year, Boyfriend has taken full responsibility for cooking and food shopping. I am spoilt rotten.

I could not find anything in the supermarket. It took fifteen minutes to locate yoghurt, which for some special reason has its own aisle nowhere near milk or cheese. The store’s layout makes no sense to a sane, logical person. I finished off my expedition with my favourite supermarket activity – the self-service checkout.

I find the self-service checkout a little pressurising. Items regularly fail to scan; the machine jams, repeating “unidentified item placed in bagging area” in an irritating, English woman’s voice. This was the perfect moment for me to get a mental block, when I needed to identify a vegetable whose name often eludes me. It was necessary to ‘phone a friend’.

Much to the amusement of the queue behind me, I took out my mobile and rang Best Friend. The phone rang a couple of times before he answered.

“Hi. How are you?” asked Best Friend.

“Hi there,” I said sharply. “I am in the super market at the self-service checkout.  I am scanning vegetables. I can’t remember the name of a vegetable. What’s the vegetable I always get mixed up?  It’s green.”

“Is it a cucumber?” enquired Best Friend inquisitively.

“No, I don’t like cucumbers and it’s not a cucumber. You know the ones I always get mixed up? I know it’s not an egg plant.”

“Is it an aubergine?” he guessed.

“Nope. It’s the other one. The one you make that stuff with? Fuck … what’s that stuff called … guacamole! What do you make guacamole with?”


“Yes, that’s the one. Thanks for the help.”

Best Friend laughed.

“OK, bye. Thanks for that,” I said quickly before hanging up.

Like Mother Like Son

It’s been a little while since I posted a funny, nostalgic blog. I hope readers enjoy these as much as I love writing them. I love telling stories. I love nostalgia; I frequently reminisce on times passed with Boyfriend and friends. Most times I do not intend for a story to be funny. I might happen to share a tale and am surprised when a certain story evokes a guttural laugh. This type of reaction prompts me to consider posting it right here on my own corner of the interweb. On Tuesday, I told one such story to Boyfriend. This particular story involves the incredible woman who is my mother. 

My mother celebrated her sixtieth last week. To look at her you would estimate she was fifty. She possesses a young spirit and amazing sense of humour. She and I are very close, but often clash due to uncanny similarities in our personality. Like me, Mum can be incredibly scattered in her thoughts. I rarely see this trait in myself, but Boyfriend frequently identifies it for me. I tend to re-enact incidents from my mother’s past. Like mother like son, hey? This story involves one such occasion when Mum’s scatty nature questioned my level of patience.

The story is set on one dull, typically overcast, wet Saturday in the Midlands of Ireland. Heavy sheets of rain fell from the heavens intermittently. Mum and I quickly returned to the car following an hour of shopping in Tesco. We also spent an hour browsing the limited range of clothing stores in the shopping centre. At this stage, I couldn’t wait to get home. I was damp and my bones were cold. We scrambled to climb into the red, beat-up Nissan Micra. Mum momentarily fumbled with the keys before she got into the driver’s side. Once seated, she reached across to unlock the passenger door. I jumped in, quickly shut the door, fastened my seat belt and longed for a hot cup of tea on my arrival home.

Mum secured her seat belt with a click and placed the key in the ignition. The key turned and the car let out an awful, slurred moan. I know nothing about cars, but instantly knew the battery was dead. Mum tried again only to be answered by the same noise. She turned to me with shock smeared all over her face.

“I wonder what happened?” She was clearly shocked by the situation.

I thought this a stupid question since it was bloody obvious the battery was dead. I sharply informed her of this.

“How did that happen?” she pondered aloud, still unable to fathom why the battery might be dead.

“Something must have been left on in the car before we got out. The radio shouldn’t drain a battery of its juice, but this is an old car.” I checked the radio and it was off. “Check if you left the lights on.”

Mum looked around the steering wheel. “Oh,” I heard her mumble. “I left the lights on. What will we do?”

“Are you still covered by the same insurance company that provides break down assistance?”

“Yes,” she responded as if awaiting an insightful solution.

“Give break down assist a call. We’ll have to wait for them.”

In that shopping centre car park, on a dreary, wet day, Mum and I sat in the little red Nissan Micra barely talking to one another The windows were fogged with condensation from our breaths. We kept watch for someone who might resemble a mechanic. I was agitated. I did my best to not blame her for leaving the lights on, but I knew this wasn’t the first time she had done this in the last few months.

“Mum, do you mind me asking when you last left the car lights on?” I asked in a curious tone. “I think I recall something similar happening quite recently.” I examined Mum’s face for a reaction. She appeared too innocent for my liking.

“I did this about a year ago. I think it’s OK to make the same mistake once in a year, no?”

I still wasn’t convinced. I had a vague recollection of my brother telling me Mum was late to collect him one day because the car would not start. While laughing, he told me she had left the lights on. I couldn’t remember the exact time and place of this incident.

I put this recollection to Mum. “I think you’ve left your lights on a number of times in the last few months? If it has happened so many times, maybe you should make a strong effort to ensure the lights are off when you get out of the car.”

“Stephen,” she said sternly, while looking me in the eye. “This hasn’t happened for a year”.

We sat in silence for around twenty minutes or so before a tow-truck pulled up alongside the car.

“Your knight in shining armour has arrived,” I said mid sigh.

Mum waved to the man in the tow truck. She rolled down the window as he approached her side of the vehicle. The man was in his forties. He wore blue, oil stained overalls. He stood beside the Micra, clearly not bothered by the rain. He ducked slightly and aligned his line of vision with the window. A flash of recognition came across his face.

“Hi, Mary. How are you?” he asked. “When I heard it was a red Nissan Micra, I thought ‘it can’t possibly be Mary again’”.

Mum laughed sheepishly and glanced over at me. The gentleman turned for the tow-truck and removed jump leads, which he had left on the passenger side of his truck.

“Looks like you two are well acquainted,” I said.

Mum didn’t respond.

Daylight Robbery

After a long week of exams, I looked forward to last weekend. I planned to have a party to celebrate end of exams and my birthday. It was the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends, most of whom I had avoided to ensure time to study. Boyfriend intended treating me to the leather jacket I pined after. Was it any wonder I was excited? My weekend was going to be the perfect finalé to a long, arduous few months. Like all good things, they usually don’t happen as planned.

On Saturday morning, Boyfriend and I set off for Dundrum to buy the jacket. Despite suffering tiredness from a Friday night of drinking and dancing, I was excited. I skipped to the Massimo Dutti store with glee. My heart dropped when the store assistance told me the jacket was out of stock. I had fixated on that jacket since my encounter with it in London. It was to be my reward for my laborious few months. Needless to say I returned home from Dundrum disappointed. I consoled myself with the party that evening. I climbed out of the car and opened the hall door. The door swung open. I spotted a small blue card on the small table.

“Look at that!” I said. “There’s an Oyster Card on the sideboard. That will come in handy for the tube this weekend when we are in London.” I walked ahead of Boyfriend into the kitchen. The light was on. I thought nothing of it.

“Eh, Stephen …” Boyfriend called. “Did you mess around with the contents of the sideboard in the hall?”

“Of course not,” I exclaimed. “Why would I do that?”

I walked into the kitchen. The kitchen cupboard doors were open. It looked strange. A cold chill ran down my spine. Ohhhh, it looks like we had a poltergeist, I thought.  I continued to assess the situation. My housemate had recently moved out. She was due to come back and collect some personal effects. Wow, she did a really thorough search of the place. The cogs in my head whirred. When I think back, everything seems to have happened in slow motion. I surveyed the kitchen; the window was open. Boyfriend was still in the hall cursing profusely and rummaging through the white, wooden unit.

“What the fuck happened here?” I heard him yell from the hall.

“You might want to come in here,” I called from the kitchen. He arrived by my side and looked around. “I think someone broke into the house while we were out.”

He stared in disbelief. “No way! No fucking way.”

He left my side and ran to the bedroom. I remained in the kitchen with a rock in the pit of my stomach. He roared and shouted. I looked in the kitchen cupboards. Things were moved. An impostor had rummaged through our things. I scanned the dining area. Many items were disturbed; a cupboard that stores alcohol was open; a bottle of aftershave was in a new place; letters were open; and CDs were knocked from the rack. An eerie, cold feeling swept over me. Boyfriend returned to my side evidently stressed. He rubbed his forehead.

“You should see the bedroom. They’ve gone through everything. The laptop is still here and your camera is on the table. They don’t appear to have taken much. How did they get in? Was the kitchen window open when we left?”

“I don’t think so,” I replied, straining my memory. Had it been open? Was I to blame for this oversight? I asked myself. Guilt accompanied the rock in my stomach.

“How the fuck did they get in?” he asked in a bemused manner.

I went upstairs. I tiptoed and checked nobody was still in the house. I peeped into our bedroom. It was by far the worst of all rooms. Every wardrobe, box and personal item had been ransacked. My passport lay on the floor. My tax credit certificate and payslips were strewn around the room. It made for an upsetting sight. The mental image of some dirty knacker going through my underwear drawer and personal documentation made me sick. I couldn’t bear to remain there. I went down stairs and took a cross legged position in the living room. I remained there for almost an hour. The reality of the situation gradually sunk in. I felt light-headed and nauseous. I called friends to cancel the birthday/end of exam celebrations scheduled for that night. I recall having a few conversations.

Boyfriend called the Gardaí. Together we waited for their arrival. Now and again, Boyfriend returned to the bedroom to perform a stock take of missing items. We also played Nancy Drew by attempting to figure out how they gained entry. I walked about the house in a state of numbness. It were as if floated on a cloud of total disbelief. The Gardaí eventually arrived. They were dressed as by-standards. In reality, they were dressed like individuals from a lower socio-economic background. Their appearance leant towards characters that were more likely to rob a store than uphold justice in a community. Boyfriend walked them around the house, directing them to the various injustices. They looked at the kitchen and asked if any food was missing. Apparently, it was not uncommon for intruders to steal food. They knew of one case where an intruder had even cooked a meal in a house. Boyfriend led the Gardaí to the bedroom. From downstairs I could hear them talking. I still hovered on my cloud, which by now had taken me into the kitchen. I re-examined the evidence again. I checked the open window and contents of the food cupboards. I looked into one of the cupboards and noticed something was missing. I became panicked. I ran to the hall.

Boyfriend, Boyfriend” I shouted.

The Gardaí were at the bottom of the stairs beside the hall door. They looked at me a little wide eyed.

“Eh, I think your friend wants you” said one of the men.

I beckoned Boyfriend to the kitchen. One of the Gardaí followed him.

“What is it?” Boyfriend asked in a surprisingly calm manner.

I pointed to the shelf of the cupboard. “Look! The flour is gone. They took the baking flour.”

Boyfriend laughed. “It’s OK. I moved that last week.”

“Oh!” I answered a little stupidly.

The Garda remained in the kitchen. He neutralised the awkwardness; “We can remove any bakers from the list of possible culprits”.

“I suppose,” I said, while looking down at the floor. I felt a bit stupid.

The Gardaí departed and told us a forensics team would call in a couple of hours. Before leaving, they figured the intruder(s) had jammed the hall door open with a screw driver. The intruder opened the window in the kitchen as an escape route. Boyfriend and I spent the rest of the evening waiting for the forensic team, or forensic man as it turned out. He dusted down many surfaces with a black powder in search of finger prints. He spilt some on the wooden flooring of our bedroom. The black powder stain is very difficult to remove. The worst thing about the experience is that nothing appears to have been taken. The only item that was stolen is our feeling of security in our home. Since Saturday, Boyfriend and I have spent a few sleepless nights in the house. I realise it will get easier with time. It truly is a horrifying experience.