As I stood in the check out queue of my favourite German discount store, I wondered to myself, should anything in a bottle cost more than a few quid?
I was paying my weekly visit to a popular German discount grocery store today. As usual, I was planning to stack up on fruit and vegetables and relishes with strange sounding names for the weeks ahead.
If you will allow me to slip into anorak mode for a moment, German discount grocery shopping is one of my weekly highlights. It introduces you to a world of new opportunity and adventure.
I still recall that eureka moment.
Have you ever heard the line::
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”?
I do believe that is a line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (thanks Google!). And the line basically means:
What matters is what something is, not what it is called.
Not a bad motto for life I suppose, however I am not getting all philosophical on you here. Nor indeed am I talking about roses either.
I am talking about mayonnaise.
I love the stuff, and for as long as I can remember I have been symbiotically attached to one specific brand. However in a moment of complete and utter retail turbulence, I ‘took a notion’ and selected a German brand of mayonnaise that I can neither spell nor pronounce.
60% cheaper, I performed dutifully the taste test.
No difference. Eureka!
And it’s not just the mayonnaise.
Have a go yourself. The cheese. The pasta. The sauces. The ice-cream. The frozen food. The vegetables. The fruit. Why don’t you go and splurge in one of these stores, then bring it all home. Stick on the blind fold and play ‘taste the difference’. A sort of Pepsi/Coke challenge for groceries.
And it’s only going to cost you about 14 quid. The savings are really remarkable.
A month of that and you can genuinely put aside enough cash for a cheap holiday to the Canary Islands.
I remember back in the bad old days when a pineapple could cost a tenner. OK I don’t know what made me think of a pineapple, but back in my early days of independent grocery shopping in the 90s when I first landed in ‘That London’, I would be stumbling back out of what you might call a ‘conventional’ grocer with bags bursting with groceries and a 100 quid hole in my wallet. After the first few days of bolognaise, orange juice, pizza after pizza, crisps and a bit of chocolate, I’d be wondering where on earth did that one hundred quid go?
So there we have at least one change for the better. Even though the governmental Dick Turpins are heroically nailing us all with austerity measures, at least our groceries are a bit cheaper.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that some of the more, shall we say, well to do characters, are slowly shaking off the stigma of shopping on the ‘cheap’.
It’s never been a problem for me. The more supposedly embarrassing a venture, the more likely I’d be to give it a lash. So I am definitely a committed German Discount store anorak.
But how about the lady who stood in front of me at the checkout today?
I knew she was different. None of us others in the queue recognised her. We all gawped at her as if she was a performing animal in the zoo. Dressed to the nines in top of the range gear. I knew she belonged to a different social class to myself or possibly everyone else who stood listening to her barking conversation on her blue tooth. (Did I neglect to mention that she was bladdering away happily and noisily on a hands free kit).
Why? Because we all heard her say the words ‘scallops’, ‘dinner party’ and ‘chateau briande’.
So folks it’s official:
Posh people are shopping in discount stores. We have almost reached the bottom.
We all craned our necks as she exited the store and loaded her weekly grocery shop into the boot of her 4 x 4 run-around. Oh how the other half live. Although are they still the other half?
And speaking of the other half, I read with great perplexity, anger, frustration and a little envy a contribution to the news wires by Mr Chris de Burgh himself. Famous for an irritating song (Lady in Red) and for being father of a former Miss World. And not at all famous for one of my favourite songs (Spanish Train).
Maybe he’s on his uppers, maybe he’s not inclined to stare at dusty crates anymore, or maybe he’s an extraordinarily wealthy man who wants to become even wealthier by taking some profit off the table:
He’s auctioning his wine collection.
Mother of divine infestation give me strength. Bottles of wine, selling for the price of a helicopter. Not even a bottle of liquid gold should cost more than a few hundred quid.
You don’t have to tell me that the world has gone mad. But do you realize the world has gone mad?
Experts (now that’s a laugh) reckon the collection should fetch around £300,000. Oh is that what the experts think? Would these be the same experts that might be getting a 5% commission on the auction proceeds?
What really made my skin crawl though was when Mr de Burgh explained about how a particular case of Chateau Lafite Rothschild held a particularly romantic attachment for him (£1,000 a pop by the way). And remember he hadn’t even tasted the blasted stuff still stuck in a dust covered case in the dank and chilly bowels of his residential abode.
And why the romance?
Because, he said, of the history of the case. Yes the case. Note even the bottle, or the wine. No, the case. He went on...the original straw protecting the bottles since the end of the second world war was still in the case. The original straw. For me this straw was the last straw.
Great so now there’s money in old straw. Farmers of the world, unite!
And what grates even more is that some numchuck or other, possibly a bond villain with a big swivelly leather chair, a white fluffy cat and a ring on his little finger, will purchase this collection.
Then he will ask one of his servants, probably Odd Job, to put the collection into the cellar in the dank and chilly bowels of his humble residence.
He won’t taste any of the blasted stuff. And then he will sell it all for £500,000 in around 5 years.
As long as he doesn’t replace the original straw.
Beam me up Scottie!
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