Wednesday, 6 February 2013

A few days ago I ventured into a new experience.  
I bought meat!  

Rising from my pauperism to a level known as 'poverty' I had the good fortune to receive one of those gift voucher cards for Christmas.  So clutching my card tightly in my grasping mitts I ventured up the road to the shop early in the morning.  The rain did not deter me, although I thought it unusual to rain on the first day of February - it’s usually snow!  Sloshing through the smaller puddles to avoid the rain getting in the holes in my boots I soon reached the destination, eager to buy.

It was at the store when I realised  I had a problem.

I hailed a passing assistant, “Meat,” I said, my eyes pleading.
“Over there,” said the lass, her eyes bright and glinting full of light and happiness.
“Thanks,”said I, “But, er, em, this meat, er,... what exactly is it? I haven’t bought any for a very long time”
Her eyes dimmed somewhat and she muttered something under her breath.  
Taking my hand, in the manner of a nurse in a care home, then letting it go suddenly and wiping hers on her uniform, she led me to the counter and explained the red things found therein.
“Some comes from cattle, that’s called beef, some from pigs, that’s called pork, and some from lamb and that’s called expensive.” She spoke as to a six year old.  
"And that?" I questioned, pointing to packets of blackish stuff.
"That's offal."
"If it's awful why is it on sale?"
She gave me a look that would send a shiver through Maggie Thatcher.
"I mean, that this is liver or kidneys."
"Oh, sorry," I muttered. 
What's that over there?" Muttered I, my eyes blinded by the price tags.
"That's all Fowl that side."  
"CHICKEN!" she said rather too loudly, her eyes becoming white balls with a black dot in the middle. Some people turned round and gave us that embarrassed smile, others moved away silently. I glanced at the prices, searching for those yellow price reduction ones.
"Chicken, goose and," she looked meaningfully at me as she added, "Turkey are all found over there.  Sausages and bacon over there!" She indicated this with an abrupt wave of her hand." 
" Hmmm what.....?" I began, but hesitated as I saw her eyes were now small slits, rather resembling those seen on pill boxes with machine guns peering out. "I, er, em......"
She wandered off clenching her paws and kicking the stick from under an old fellow who just happened to look towards her as she passed.  

I wandered back and forth, annoyed I had not asked her how to cook these strange red shapes, being a woman that sort of thing would come naturally.  I am more used to mince myself, however I was wary about asking another assistant.  There were several to be seen, including the two now picking up the old guy from the floor and returning his stick.  Selecting several items according to price, yellow label, and colour (I mean should meat be a dark greenish shade?) I hovered around until the security man returned once too often and moved further into the store.  

Glancing around I detected a lack of the 'Wal-Mart' types often seen on the web, most people appeared to be normal humans here.  I remembered the Tesco store in Portobello Road in London, now that would be a haunt of such types today I imagine.  Residents here indicate how boring this town is.

Checking the prices of my more usual stock I was impressed how the increase was constantly higher than the rate of inflation, however you calculate this. Supermarkets having killed of all opposition bar other major supermarkets are having a field day in times of austerity.  Beans that were selling at 9p a tin rose to 29p when the economy collapsed.  The store knew people would turn to 'own brand' goods and increased prices accordingly.  They could build a new store on the profit made of one weeks national sales of tins of beans I suspect.

Having carried my basket full of meat (meat!!) round the shop (I always use a basket as it is easier to get past the women with trolleys blocking the path) I selected several smaller items from the wines and spirits biscuit row and proffered my card at the smiling checkout assistant. This one smiles at everyone and her smile reminds me of the ‘Joker’ from the ‘Batman’ series.  I did not mention this.  I offered first the voucher card, then a small dollop of money to complete the purchase, gathered my several thin plastic bags, and struggled manfully homewards.

Passing my friendly helpful assistant as she stood near the entrance I offered a happy greeting and she spat out a retort I did not catch, however the 'Big Issue' seller opposite beat a hasty retreat.    

Now the freezer has sufficient for a month.  The cupboards are bulging, and when I eat I am almost satisfied with life.  I noticed today also that the helpful assistant now works for Morrison's up the road, you know, the store I never go into........


Helen Devries said...

Meat's still recognisable here.
You ask for something and the butcher drags half a carcass out of his cold room and cuts it for you.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Now, if only you had some teeth left...

Mike Smith said...

I had a burger at a Tesco cafe the other day. The girl asked if I wanted anything on it - so I stuck a fiver each way...

Lee said...

Such a meaty subject!

After the four day power outage I (and thousands of others)endured last week due to the horrendous weather conditions we experienced due to ex-Cyclone Oswald's hectic visit I had to toss out the contents of my fridge and freezer...and that included much meat.

And now, I'm in the process of replenishing stocks.

There's something special about purchasing meat from a genuine butcher where, as the poster above said...the carcass is sectioned, cut and trimmed on the premises, and one is greeted by a cheerful butcher. Butchers are always cheerful and ready for a give and receive. They are a breed of their own and I'm sure they go to a Butcher School to learn how to deal with - cope with - not only customers, but the daily handling of sharp knives, whirring saws, blood, guts. Butchers and butcher shops are great places to frequent.

I hope we never lose them to the sterile, plastic-wrapped atmosphere of supermarket meat sections.

Boy! I certainly got on a roll...can you please put some meat on that roll?

Adullamite said...

Helen, They do that at the local stables.....

Jerry, I have my mothers spare set.

Mike, I believe you.

Lee, Your rich!

soubriquet said...

It was Richard the third, who, according to Shakespeare, cried: "A horse, a horse!, My kingdom for a horse!

That was before you could get one at Tesco.
Mind you, it would be in thirty thousand pieces. And if you did manage to reassemble it, it would probably neigh in Polish.
More of an Ikea job, really.

Adullamite said...

Soub, Tesco have been foaling folks for years. It's a night mare.

Lee said...

Nope...not rich...champagne taste with a beer pocket! ;)

Jenny Woolf said...

I see you left out "horse" from your description.

Adullamite said...

Jenny, But I found plenty in the fridge!