How to cope with supermarket withdrawal
Avoiding grocery multiples could help curb tendency to impulse buy
Ruth O’Connor buying from Gary Adams at his fruit and veg stall on Moore Street, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill
I’m already worried about the week ahead, unable to enter a supermarket when I rely heavily on Tesco Express, Spar, Centra, Lidl and sometimes, when I’m feeling flush, Marks and Spencer. What about dinner and the packed lunches? Falling asleep I fret about yogurts and muesli bars, sliced ham and eggs.
Next morning there’s a solitary €2 coin in my purse – enough for milk in E. Lawless’s shop in Irishtown – a place I have never entered, despite passing it daily for a year. The milk costs €1.50.
“Do you want a receipt with that?” “Erm, yes please,” I squirm. “Well you can’t have one!” the shopkeeper cackles gleefully before handing it over. A sign behind him says something akin to “Use us or lose us” so I feel like I’m doing my bit.
I am forced into Tesco as there is no other bank machine within a 15-minute radius and I figure that many of the shops I need to go to won’t take a cash card payment for small amounts. I leave Tesco where the same brand of milk costs €1.05 and Tesco’s own brand milk costs a mere 85 cents litre.
I head to Clyne’s butcher shop for eggs and into a bizarre café/charity shop where I buy a (not second-hand) bag of six pears and a box of cereal for €2 each and tear myself away from a pair of too-big vintage brogues that also, curiously, cost €2.
Later that evening, I panic because I have run low on baby wipes and have no bread for the lunches. I run to Il Valentino, my local bakery, but the tills are closed. My local chemist is also shut, so I guiltily turn to Fresh. It says “The Good Food Market” over the door, not “The Good Food Supermarket”.
It is Irish-owned, with only three stores in the chain, but still I feel like I’m cheating. I endeavour not to return for the rest of the week. Perhaps I’ve become too used to supermarket prices but frankly I’d rather wipe my baby’s derriere with sandpaper than pay €3.99 for baby wipes. I leave Fresh, go home and use cotton wool.
Next morning the baby wipes cost between €2.99 and €4.03 in the pharmacy.
I often go to Insomnia in Spar for my coffee. It’s close to my house, I like chatting to the Hungarian girl who makes a decent coffee and, if I’m making other purchases, it’s convenient.