The Saturday Morning Shop

by Steve

View of an old supermarket

I love Saturday mornings. I’m sure I’m not alone in that, but I really love Saturday mornings. I also like routines. So for a while as a kid it was watching cartoons. Then it was going to a local museum’s kids club, where every week I seemed to concentrate on the fine art of brass rubbing. When I was a little older I went to football practice, although there wasn’t an actual football team, which was odd. Then I was a little older still and going out to look around the local record shops, none of which exist now. By adulthood I just aimed to be out the house before the end of Sounds of the Sixties on Radio 2. When I achieved that I felt I hadn’t completely wasted my morning.

These days we have what might seem a rather prosaic, boring routine. We do the weekly shop. Yet I love it, it is probably my favourite few hours of the week.

Part of having a routine, is having a plan of action. We try to make our way to the supermarket early. It is not too busy then, but even when it is busy it is generally populated with focused early morning shoppers rather than people milling around the aisles blocking everything off.

We’ve also got a fairly standard list of things to buy, which makes for a smoother shop. But what I really love is looking at all the unusual vegetables, or cuts of meats, or spending inordinate amounts of time in the beer aisle, or in front of the condiments. I’ve grown to really love food and love cooking, so it is fun spending time with a huge space full of potential ingredients. I also like that as an adult there is nobody to tell you that you can’t have that bar of chocolate, or piece of cake, or big bag of crisps. Although I have to rein that in a little bit, or one day I might grow so huge I won’t fit down the aisles. I might get barred from the pie counter.

I know I should really be patronising small, independent shops, but sometimes it is just not practical, or there just aren’t enough of those stores about, or my wallet won’t stretch to their prices. And while I know big supermarkets are evil corporate beasts sucking the life out of the high street, the convenience and choice and semblance of bland, anonymous warmth are actually appealing. Plus, in our supermarket’s case it has genuinely rejuvenated a dead town centre, bringing jobs to the area and shoppers like us.

But what I really love about our Saturday mornings is after a week of work and commuting and general drudgery I can spend a little time with my wife. We sometimes grab some breakfast in the supermarket café before we shop, and just chat and catch up after a busy week. We even have fun while we shop, although I’m not sure my wife is convinced it is a good idea when I try riding the shopping trolley down an empty aisle. Even if it is just through shopping it is great to have some time together, just us. Just us and those early shoppers and the friendly checkout staff and a trolley full of great food.

Image from OSU Special Collections, via Flickr