The supermarket never sleeps. It’s open all hours to cater for the late-night munchers, bargain hunters, hungry workers, employment shirkers, insomniacs, coeliacs and downright greedy bastards.
Oh, the freedom to roam the aisles, scraping the ankles of the unsuspecting with a ragged-edged trolley wheel. Stopping without reason by the pitted olives with no apparent motive other than to stare at the ingredients list – Water, Green Olives, Salt, Acidity Regulator (Lactic Acid).
In Aisle Three: Cold Meats, Pies and Pasties, Betty is mulling over buying some Bavarian ham. Against her better judgement she puts it in her trolley, but by Aisle Six: World Foods, she’s realised the error of her ways and it’s cast aside next to a watery-looking own brand bhuna sauce. All the way from Germany to be treated like this...
In the fruit and veg section, Tyler’s mum is squeezing the cucumbers to check for firmness, without a hint of innuendo. Tyler is bored, even though he’s only been in the store for about five minutes. He’s already spat out a chunk of Granny Smith and put the apple back, and wiped one of his many bogeys on a loose sprout.
Meanwhile at the checkouts, Sandra’s close to losing her rag. An unusually tall, skinny man is trying to buy a bottle of whisky, but it’s Scotland and you’re not allowed to purchase booze before 10am. It’s 9.58 and Sandra’s run out of small talk. He’s just staring at her now, pausing only to glance at his wrist, which is bare. She wishes she could just serve him and suffer the consequences, but the tills are pre-programmed you see?
Out the back, Malcolm is close to finishing his first graveyard shift – starting on a Friday night, the obligatory ‘Welcome to the company’ for every 18 year old employee. Working 10 till 10, what a way to make a living. He’s throwing out a crate of bread, unaware it’s still three days before its sell by date.
In the CCTV control room, footage of the electrical section shows a news item on a 4k telly about the UK throwing away £13bn worth of food each year.
He's seen enough of this! Same shit, different day.
An announcement goes out over the tannoy: “DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND MY, ERM, OUR CONTROL, THIS STORE IS NOW CLOSING. PLEASE LEAVE YOUR SHOPPING AND EXIT THE BUILDING IN A CALM AND ORDERLY FASHION.”
It takes a few repeats before it sinks in. Then as the customers shuffle out effing and blinding under their collective breath, a new broadcast is made.
“WOULD ALL STAFF PLEASE LEAVE THE BUILDING IMMEDIATELY.”
Everyone assumes the worst and they beat a hasty retreat, looking forward to an impromptu fag break. The automatic doors lock behind them. The bar snaps shut on the emergency exit. Everyone is frozen out, like a stray fish finger in Aisle Twenty One: Confectionery.
To read the full piece by Jamie Graham buy a copy of issue #1 - available in the shop now.