This week I learned that Sainsbury’s was the first self-service supermarket and it opened its doors in the 1950s.
Before this, people ordered their groceries over the counter – like we still can in some independent retailers.
Bread shops, fruiterers and butchers spring to mind, trades which supermarket chains have sought to devour over the past few decades.
What a 64 years it’s been for self-service – and isn’t that an ironic age? As The Beatles asked: ‘Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?’
And it looks, with all the news over the past couple of weeks, like the answer from our all-singing all-dancing supermarkets is a big fat ‘no’.
We’re falling out of love with convenience shopping and instead returning to the more traditional trekking around the bazaars – albeit sometimes via our computers – and giving up on piling everything in one trolley.
I’m really glad about this as for a long time I’ve been irked at sales policies and pseudo-accurate offers – and, well, everything about supermarkets (except for the nice checkout people who always greet me and chat away).
For me, buying bits and pieces is the way forward. It saves wilted carrots in the bottom of my fridge and festering lumps of cheese.
I’m tired of buying massive quantities – and then eating them – and am actively trying to cut down on wasting more money because something I don’t need, don’t want but can’t resist is on offer.
I’m keenly trying not to go to a supermarket for the bits and pieces to get me through the week.
Although I know I’ll spend more in my local corner shop, it’s actually a saving because if I go to a supermarket I end up buying all those extras that are arranged so temptingly to make me part with my hard-earned cash.
There’s been a return to more traditional values in recent years, with farmers’ markets becoming chic and baking and cooking programmes concentrating on simple quality.
We’re being encouraged from all directions to nest. Is that because of money restrictions or because we’re all tired of consumerism? I hope it’s the latter,