Down at my local Tesco this evening, i grow increasingly impatient with two “old dears” who lurk in the shadows, waiting to pounce, the moment an assistant starts to mark down prices.
It started innocently enough. At about 6.30pm, each evening, unsold produce goes under the stickergun….most items that have reached the end of their saleable life now available for about 10% of what they were first offered.
About 10%. For some reason, items priced at around £1 are reduced to 9p, while £2 items come down to 19p. A clever wheeze, perhaps by the IT analytical bods.
And to begin with this was a relatively gentle, friendly process. The prices tumbled: shoppers wandered up, decided whether they actually wanted this or that item, took it away. Sometimes i’d end up with half a dozen items, sometimes one.If there were two items and it was clear that the shopper behind me wanted one of them, i handed it over: turn and turn about.
Until, that is, the advent of the dynamic duo. To begin with, they lurked near the reduced bin, piling every item going into their gaping baskets. Either they are incredibly catholic in their tastes: or exceedingly inventive in a Ready, Steady Cook sort of way.
Then, since this ran the risk of others getting in first, they upped their game. Now they follow the stickergun around the store, grabbing items off the trolley as soon as the price has been reduced.
Unsurprisingly, this is causing resentment. The store staff know them all too well: rumours abound as to what they do with all that food. As best is known they do not have children or other family to feed, which hints at hoarding rather than need.
One evening, another shopper, in exasperation, arrived a few minutes before they did, and promptly bought all the reduced items, just to spite them.
It is all very sad.
And sad in a bigger picture way: an object lesson in how disruptive behaviour by a minority can undermine what is otherwise a potential benefit to the whole community.