A guide to shopping (and shoplifting) from Dronfield Sainsbury’s


Dronfield Sainsbury’s is a bit shit, isn’t it? It’s up there with one of my least favourite places on Earth (and I’ve been to Doncaster). Running out of fresh bread or hummus is a sobering, painful reminder that a trip to Sainsbury’s is inevitable – nobody buys hummus from Co-op. Ever. 

How you get to Sainsbury’s is a very important consideration. If you’re walking, you’re probably not sober, or too young to drive. If you’re driving: park in the disabled bays. Look, there’s like 15 of them out front. I’m not being funny but they don’t need them all. Some people are a little squeamish about parking in spaces reserved for those with disabilities, others aren’t. And perhaps that is a disability in itself? It’s worth a shot.

I’m firmly in the latter camp, sometimes I’ll park across two bays because I like to open my door fully when I exit a car. Normal parking does not facilitate this. Most drivers secretly envy double-parkers because they wish they had the bollocks to not get their doors scraped by idiots opening doors too far. But they are scared of being judged. Well I have this to say: being judged is much cheaper than an insurance claim.

As you’re walking in, if you’re already pushing a trolley you’ve made a massive mistake. To properly shop at Sainsbury’s you need a basket. I’m not sure why, but you do. Baskets force you to make better decisions. I think it’s the limited space and unwillingness to carry heavy things that make baskets ideal for pragmatic shopping.

So, why not a trolley? If you’ve got a trolley you’re either that guy who’s pushing around a pack of bacon and some cans (classic alcho), or you’re doing a big shop. Don’t do your big shop at Sainsbury’s! I’m not even sure why I have to explain this, and if you’re disagreeing with this, you’re part of the problem. You’ve clearly got too much time on your hands, go further afield. Go to a bigger supermarket. Big Tesco is only 10 minutes away and you obviously have a car because you’re not walking home with 10 bags of shopping. It’s people like you clunking up the aisles that we don’t need. Piss off and go buy your multi-packs of Walkers and large bags of rice elsewhere, wanker.

After you’ve sorted the basket situation out, you step in the door to be greeted by the accusatory security guy who assumes you’re a shoplifter. Now, perhaps that’s my guilty conscience but I can’t see that being the case. After all, everyone has a guilty conscience. Somehow this man will manage to follow you – and everyone else in the store simultaneously – round Sainsbury’s. He’s convinced you’re going to pick up a Peperarmi, eat it whilst browsing then stuff the wrapper behind some tins. What he doesn’t know is that you’re a little more cunning than that. You crafty, crafty bastard!

You will see someone you know. They will want to speak to you. They will want to ask you how you’re doing. You’ll have to ask how they are doing. You don’t care. They don’t care. They see that you’ve got a bottle of gin, sticks of celery and some porridge oats in your basket and they say something smug like: “Busy weekend is it? Hahaha! HA!” You LOL and shrug it off but you really want to say something needlessly horrible back. You notice they have natural yoghurt in their basket and you have to stop yourself from making a joke about thrush. You could make a joke about their – or their partner’s – yeast infection, but you decide to be a bigger man. Instead just hoping to God that someone is opening a car door irresponsibly against their car dark.

After you’ve finished eyeing up which herbal tea you want to buy, knowing full well that you’re going to buy peppermint anyway because you’re scared that green tea might actually be nice and then you’ll have to talk about it to people. You dart for the tills, basket in your right hand. Left hand clutching a carton of orange juice which you don’t want to squash your bread.

At this point I should probably point out I’m not big on shoplifting. I’m not big on theft. Actually, I think it’s abhorrent. It’s up there with knock-a-door-run, name-calling and arson. But, I also think self-service machines are that bad it has become a moral duty to shaft them as much – and as brazenly – as possible, whenever possible. My personal favourite is buying mushrooms. (Not the groovy types you might associate with unemployed, unshaven people who wear beanie hats). Weigh anything that you believe to be over-priced as mushrooms. Cheese? Mushrooms. Crunchy Nut? Mushrooms. Expensive mushrooms? Mushrooms.

Mushrooms are relatively cheap for their weight. Much cheaper per kilo than West Country Cave Aged Mature Cheddar from the deli counter. Much cheaper than queen olives stuffed with garlic and chilli. And much, much cheaper than L’oreal Men Expert “Hydra-energetic” moisturising shower gel. But what if you get caught? “Honest to God, I have no idea what I’m doing with this bloody machine. It keeps thinking everything is mushrooms. I don’t even like mushrooms!”

Boom, suddenly you’re not a shoplifter anymore. You’re just some poor bastard who can’t do the machine technical stuff, with all the computer wizardry. The kind of person who lives knowing that the clock on their microwave is wrong without the know-how to resolve it. The aging sod who gets a 14 year-old child, neighbour’s son or family friend’s son to help them set up their email for a tenner, then forgets the password and has to ring them up every time they want to read their email. (You know who you are!)


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