Carol Midgley: Actually going to the supermarket is so Nineties — like postcards

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Recently there was a piece of news about a Tesco delivery guy who knocked on the door of a house in West Sussex and didn’t get an answer. The matter was that he became angry because of that and wrote an unpleasant note starting with “Dear Mr and Mrs Can’t Be Arsed Going to the Shop…”

When I’ve first read the story, I thought “Oops, that’s totally like me. I’m the one that can’t be arsed going to the shop.

But is it all so bad? Do delivery guys really hate their clients? I have always thought new working places are created by lazy people who can’t get up and go to a shop. Besides, those drivers get tips on holidays from me, and I don’t usually get angry when they deliver something different from what I’ve ordered.

(As it turned out, the householder was a chronically ill disabled woman who hadn’t heard the doorbell, was livid at being insulted and Tesco launched an investigation. I have no such excellent reason for being a home-delivery sloth.)

Who would opt for queues, parking, stress, other shoppers?

I can’t quite believe people still do the weekly shop in person. Going to the supermarket feels like using Yellow Pages or sending postcards from holiday — strictly a 1990s activity. Who would opt for queues, parking, stress, other shoppers, smashed ankles, pushing a laden trolley plus bored child and the wearying choice of 87 different types of yoghurt over sitting at home watching TV while a kind man brings it all to your door, sometimes while patting your dog? Who would endure two miserable hours rather than 15 easy minutes? It’s like picking unnecessary rectal surgery over a nice cup of tea.

But, alas, such choices come with consequences and one is that people like me have delivered another crushing blow to all-night shopping. By the end of the summer Tesco will have again cut the number of its stores staying open all night, taking the total this year to almost 100.

I feel a bit guilty about this. I live near a 24-hour Tesco and I think I’ve used it after midnight about three times in 12 years. It’s easy to argue against all-night supermarkets and I’ve done so: all that extra lighting and heating required, all those workers being made to do unsociable hours away from their families. But as I’ve been told since, those shelf-stacking and till jobs might fit perfectly around people’s childcare. Plus fewer late shift-workers will not be able to buy fresh bread and veg on their way home, and instead have to get a lank sausage roll from a petrol station. By exercising my first-world choices I’ve narrowed someone else’s.

Once, when I was in a nearly empty superstore at 1.30am, I tried to bond supportively with the middle-aged woman on the till. “Much longer to go?” I asked, chattily. “Just till 5am,” she replied. I pulled a sympathetic face but she was having none of it. “I love working through the night,” she said. “The worst thing about supermarket work is the customers, and doing these hours you hardly see any.” She’s right, of course. I never thought I’d say this but the people who’ll mourn the end of all-night supermarkets the most are probably the staff.

My two — very clean — bras
Millions of women own drawers full of bras, says a survey, yet only ever wear two of them. Yuk, how skanky. And so, so true.

I plead guilty and, after a swift poll, it turns out so do most of my female friends. A count reveals I own 23 bras of varying colours and styles yet, aside from sports bras, only ever seem to wear the M&S black one and the M&S white one, both past their best.

Why? Well, obviously bras are punishing contraptions so when you find one that doesn’t dig in or make you look hunchbacked you ride it like a Greyhound bus. Even when it’s bobbled and perished you might still cling on as to a balding childhood teddy.

But surely the real issue here is how often you wash the bra. I’m near obsessive about doing this every couple of days, mainly thanks to a TV documentary years ago about the boarding-school educated granddaughter of a lord who wore the same bra for two years without washing it. She explained it was black so “never looked dirty”. Tests showed it was harbouring 80 million types of bacteria. Let this be our take-home message, eh? The “Hello Boys” pose isn’t nearly so sexy when it comes with a smearing of yeast and fungi.

This new taboo is the pits
While we’re on the subject, how foxy are your armpits? Because, FYI, the underarm aesthetic bar has been raised. Not only is pit hair taboo but so, it seems, is the merest crease in underarm skin. A photo of Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra on the cover of Maxim magazine has prompted ridicule and accusations that the armpit has been photoshopped.

I don’t know but it does seem to have the same freakishly smooth texture as a baby’s plastic beaker. Previous photos of the actress’s armpit reveal it to be hair-free and perfectly nice but, tsk, there is the odd line in the skin which just won’t do.

If it’s true, good on Maxim for reminding us that there is no part of a stunningly beautiful woman’s body that cannot be improved and for keeping us on our (no doubt disgusting) toes. Thank you.

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