Wednesday, August 31, 2005

191 - Joanne & Mum Sandwich

3 members of this shopper's family appear on this list: "Joanne", "mum" and "gran". Are they having a tea party - and that's why they only want a "light lunch"? After all, Joanne & mum want a sandwich (although whether it's one each or one between them is unclear) while gran wants "TETLEY TEA". The list sees the same spelling of "FRIUT" as noted throughout the collection, while I am intrigued by the pluralisation of "RICE PUDDINGS". Does this mean the shopper wants more than one can of rice pudding?

This list is written on the same branded notepad as list #035 - "For all your shopping needs". Two things are interesting about this. Firstly, and I've studied the lists side by side for a long time so you can believe me on this one, the writing on the two lists is COMPLETELY different. The two shoppers are not connected (more's the pity). Thsi may be because the office addresses are different, but I still think it's quite amazing that two people in New Malden have the same letting agency's notepad, but from different offices. Secondly, this more recent pad doesn't feature the message "For all your shopping needs" that I criticised so heavily in list #035. This can only be a good thing. As I said before, what's the point of being "for all your shopping needs" if someone's just going to use your paper to write a list for Tesco?

190 - Healthy Eating

I admit that I give junk food lists a hard time, but in reality there's very few of them in the collection. Similarly, though, there are very few outstandingly healthy lists - but this is one of them. The item specific "Healthy Eating" is put at the side of "Mince x 2" and "Cottage Cheese"...and is half written by "Apple + Blackcurrent Squash". Indeed, the shopper was so sure that they wanted a healthy squash, that they initially wrote "Healthy..." but realised their mistake and switched to "No added suagar". There's also a good number of brand names on this list which, along with the "Healthy Eating" specifications, suggests it was written by an organised woman for a somewhat less-organised (or less-trusted) man to actually go shopping with.

189 - Shampoo + Molly

Presumably "Molly" isn't a product in the shop (or at least one I've not heard of), so "Molly" must be something else. With "nappies" and "wet wipes" on the list, I've started to think that "Molly" is the name of the baby for whom the nappies are being bought. Indeed, this may explain why the list read "Shampoo + Molly" - with a more tender scalp, baby Molly would need a less agressive shampoo than the shopper's usual brand. I'm also guessing that "RASP'S JELLY" signifies raspberry jelly, rather than jelly belonging to someone called Rasp.

188 - The Gourmet Alternative

Grapeseed oil is a very fancy alternative to olive oil. However, while it costs a fortune, it's also quite economical as you only need about 1/3 amount compared to other cooking oils to achieve the same results. But you probably didn't want to know that. Perhaps you're more interested in the mystery surrounding "Andrews pres & card" at the top of the list. It is, after all, crossed off (the usual sign of a bought item) but I've started thinking that maybe it was crossed off because it wasn't needed. After all, why make a list with the other items but NOT cross them out if you've already been to Tesco?

187 - Simple Pasta

Warm some oil in a pan, while chopping the onion and red pepper. Fry onion and pepper while bringing a pan of water to the boil. Put pasta into the boiling water. Grill the asparagus. Cook pasta until al dente, drain and mix with onion and pepper. Garnish with asparagus. Have a yoghurt for dessert.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

186 - 203 Walnuts

Yes, I know it says "2oz Walnuts" but I get annoyed when people make a Z look like a 3. Some interesting categorisation has been done on this list - lines surrounding similar items help to differentiate them, but it all goes to pot with the appearance of "Frozen", which is presumably a category title rather than an item. No other category titles have been used up to this point, so what's so special about "Frozen"? Perhaps it's the specific request for "Carte-D'or Tub" that makes this so important, or maybe the shopper is experimenting with theories on an underlying gender issue in terms of the frozen nature of man's relationship with ice cream...?

I admit that this comment about gender issues surrounding ice cream is perhaps a little contrived, but just look at the book list printed on the reverse - the shopper of "203 Walnuts" is a keen gender sociologist. The question is whether or not this second side is a reading list or ANOTHER shopping list. Either way, I'd suggest getting "Realizing Rights: Transforming Approaches to Sexual Reproduction" as a first read. I'd be interested to knwo what new approaches it suggests - asexual reproduction?

185 - MEAT

I can feel the passion of this carnivore. "MEAT". No other item is written in capital letters, for a start. And presumably "Ham" and "Bacon Bits/Rashers" simply aren't meaty enough for this shopper. Perhaps a pig just isn't big enough.

184 - Limescale

It's fair enough to abbreviate items on a list - there's no rule to say you can't. But simply missing off words when they add specific detail is just plain ridiculous. I don't know anyone who would want to buy "limescale". Limescale cleaner, yes, but actually buy limescale?

'Hey darling, our kettle works a bit too well for my liking. Please can you buy some limescale next time you go shopping, just to clog things up a bit?'

I don't think so.

183 - A Scrap of a List

To be honest, I can't really go into much more detail than is in the title. This is a scrap of a list. By a shopper who appears to be Yoda. "Tins Tom you must buy, young Skywalker". What?

182 - Start As You Mean To Go On!

I like a shopper who doesn't beat around the bush. "White wine", "Sherry" and "Dessert wine" kick off this list...and just to keep the magic, it ends with "champagne". Brilliant.

181 - Waitrose 12.30

There's something scary about the "12.30" in this list's title. Yes, it was found at Waitrose, and scarily it was found shortly after 12.30pm on Sunday. Did the shopper written this title to taunt me? I doubt it - I found it in Brighton and it's the first time I've ever been there. Or was it some kind of disturbingly organised shopper who not only listed their shopping items, but also the place and time they would buy them?

It seems more voyeuristic than normal to discover that the shopper who writes the time of their shopping trip is also asthmatic. While I doubt this helps to solve the problem of quite why they wrote "Waitrose 12.30" at the top of their list, it at least helps us to get to know more about the shopper themself. And from looking at the totalled amounts of money (£24200) I wouldn't mind knowing them...

180 - Full English (but without the sauce)

It's all here - bacon, eggs, baked beans, sausages, juice, cereal, white bread (to make both toast and fried bread), jam, marmite (eurgh), tea and coffee...but neither "brown sauce" nor "tom sauce" appear to have been bought to complete the British institution that is a fry-up. ARGH!

179 - Contextual Mandarins

"2 Mandarines" at the bottom of this list makes me giggle because, in context with the rest of the listed items, it could be construed that the shopper is buying a full chiense meal and also wanting to locate 2 people of mandarin origin to prepare or share the meal. Even though the shopper presumably means to buy two mandarin oranges, it still strikes me as curious to have a chinese meal followed by oranges and a Vienetta. It seems very eighties.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

178 - Overdrive and Landscaped

I've used the word "overdrive" because it seems the writer(s) of this list had everything covered, and didn't leave a stone unturned! Not only is this list produced in landscape format (and is therefore only the second list in the whole Compendium to be aligned in such a way) it also begins with clear instructions: "Tesco brand unless specified". Some items are specified in great detail (i.e. "FRISKIES CAT FOOD BROWN/PINK/GREEN/PURPLE PKT"). All are arranged into categories, with quantities or extra 'emergency' items added by one of two additional sets of handwriting around the edge. It's sad that, despite such immense effort having gone into writing this list, not all the items were bought: a lone "COD PREMIUM B/CRUMBS" is left without the tell-tale crossing out of a purchased item.

Perhaps the greatest treat of this list is saved for the very bottom line - we are given the shopper's name (or at least I assume that's what it is) and also the date on which the list was written. It's curious, though, that 8 days had passed between the completion of this list and me finding it, but I guess that's half the fun of the chase...?!

Friday, August 26, 2005

177 - A Cat Called Arnie

This list offers such an insight into part of this shopper's life that it should be used a blueprint by other list writers. Most interestingly, we learn that the shopper has a cat called Arnie, as evidenced by "Arnie food + litter". Admittedly, this item could be construed as being that someone called Arnie needs some food and needs to take the litter out...but I doubt it. The reason I know that Arnie is a cat is that the shopper also bought "Waltham sensitivty control". Google leapt to my rescue to reveal that this is "a highly digestible, hypoallergenic diet for kittens and cats". So, Arnie is quite a poorly cat: Get well son, Arnie!

176 - Quick Categories

This list seems to be a quick note, but amazingly it's very well organised. It begins with bread, then fruit and veg, frozen, dairy, drinks...and finally confectionary. It's a true map of my local Tesco...amazing! I'd love to be able to write such an excellently categorised list with such perfection and speed, but sadly my hopelessly disorganised nature denies it.

175 - Lined Categories

It seems that this shopper has attempted to group their items into categories, but the theory behind it is flawed. "Cornflakes": cereals. "Jotters 2": stationary. "Rice" and "Pasta": dried goods. But then the wildcard - a barely legible "Salads" - is in the dried goods section. Is this list, therefore, divided into categories or is some darker and more mysterious force at work here?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

174 - No Crackers and Cheese

Most of this list is barely legible due to a combination of poor handwriting and the crossing out of bought items. Now, perhaps it's coincidence, perhaps it is evidence of a shopper's ability to undermine the gospel of lists, or perhaps it's fate, but whichever it is it strikes me as amazing that the only two items not crossed out (and therefore not bought) are "Crackers" and "cheese". I love crackers and cheese: the two complement each other perfectly. So why was this combination not deemed buyable by someone who was quite happy to purchase a whole range of illegible items?

173 - Milk to the Power of Three

I find it interesting that the "x 3" that follows "Milk" is done in some kind of superscript. My assumption is that the quantity was added as an afterthought. Unfortunately they think afterthink enough: "x 3" of what size bottle?

Monday, August 22, 2005

172 - i.e. Graham Norton

Graham Norton doesn't appear on shopping lists very often (or at least not on the ones I find at Tesco), but here he is in all his glory: "Washing up-liquid (small fairy) i.e. Graham Norton". I laughed out loud when I saw him at the bottom of this list, as there is something beautifully artistic about the rest of this list screaming "I AM CHEAP AND FRUGAL!" while Graham himself is generally known for his fashion and dapper appearance. I'd love to find one of his lists, though, and see that he too wants "Anything with a a blue & white stripe less than £1". I wonder what the left hand side has been saved for?

Friday, August 19, 2005

171 - Both, Or Either

There is something very curious about this list. No, it's not the vagueness of "Sandwich Fillers", nor the differing between lower and upper case writing. It's the "Bananas/Apples" that is curious. Why? Simple. Every other item on the list has its own line, but these two fruits not only _share_ a line BUT they are split by the magic slash "/". Does this mean they're to buy BOTH of these items (in which case why were they not given the benfit of a line each), or is there a choice of one or the other? Such vagueness vexes me.

170 - 20, (drawer), Fine, Keys.jpg

I'll be honest and admit that it's the strange writings to right of the listed items that catches my eye on this list. It seems to be some kind of code. Either that, or reminders. But what might "20" mean as either code or a reminder? It's curious that "(drawer)" is in brackets, too. Intriguing...

169 - The Definition of Illegibility

What?! WHAT?! With a bit of imagination I can work out what's on this list with some degree of accuracy, but I'd hate to be in a supermarket trying to decipher it without access to at least the Enigma machine. I think I've worked out the following: "2 Fairy Liquid", "2 Coke", "2 D Coke", "2 Lemonade", "1 Limes Juice"...and at that point I lose it. So too, by the looks of it, did the shopper...

168 - Pitza the Goats Milk

Like a cross between pizza and pitta bread, "PITZA's" stands out like a sore thumb. As I have no idea what pitza is, the use of the apostrophe may suggest that Pitza is a person and needs something. "Goats milk" makes its first appearance in the Compendium on this list, although the shopper does also want "Skimed milk". It strikes me as just mildly pretentious to buy "Goats milk" when "Skimed milk" will do just as well, but maybe this person has some kind of lactose problem. You never can tell...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Interviewed by the BBC!

Woohoo! Today I was invited to Broadcasting House to be interviewed for Home Truths on BBC Radio 4. I met with a fellow list collector, Lisa, who in addition to lists also collects photos of dog poo in funny places and jewellery that has been crushed outside nightclubs. Who said I have a strange hobby?

We had an excellent time chatting with the presenter, David Stafford, and expect the show to be broadcast on this Saturday's show. I'm not sure how much of the conversation they'll include, though, as we went on for about half an hour!

167 - Frantic TEA BAGS and Indulgences

Just a scrap of a list, but still with some space at the bottom for any extra items. This space, of course, being particularly confusing when we notice "TEA BAGS" squeezed between "Crabsticks", "Salad" and "Paper/Magazine". Nothing else is written with the same sense of urgency as the tea bags scrawled into this space, nor are any others in capital letters. I can only assume that someone needed their daily tea-fix. And I'm convinced it says "Prayers" at the end of line 4. I'm pretty sure that the Catholic Church stopped selling indulgences in the 15th Century when Martin Luther kicked up his how this shopper hopes to buy "prayers" now is beyond me.

UPDATE: Numerous people have emailed me (or posted on the forum) to point out that "prayers" actually says "razors". Pam even goes into such detail as to point out that the middle section of the list is for toiletries. They're all probably right, of course, but I'm not aware of the church ever having been criticised by a German monk for selling personal hygiene equipment...

166 - Cat Food and Colours

How curious! This shopper ends their list by specifying that the "cat food" must be "(kitten food)". Now, as readers of the Compendium will know, I am a fan of shoppers who add specific details to general items. This specific detail, though, doesn't strike me as being particularly specific but rather a bit of a waste of time writing. They could simply have said "kitten food" as this is as general as the item on their list, or "cat food (Felix kitten)" if they wanted to be a bit more specific. This list isn't going to help anyone.

The second item is also intriguing. "Magenta red BA238" draws a blank when I put it into Google, but "BA238" Googles as both a red coloured fishing fly, a red Bandit motorbike...and part of the hexidecimal identification number for magenta colours on computers. What is it doing on this list?

165 - A Hiker's Dinner

This list is special. It was found, about 5 miles from the nearest town, on a bridge over the Shifford Lock Cut when Alice and I walked the Thames Path at the start of August 2005. Presumably lost by a fellow hiker, it shows that hiker-appetites remain consistently simple: a tin of "condense chicken soup" with a bit of "curry powder" to pep things up a bit. How frugal!

164 - Poundland on a Toilet Roll

The versatility of a toilet roll tube - write your shopping list on it! Evidently a student from the proliferation of quick (and above all, simple) snacks, the student shopper adds "and Poundland washing powder". There's nothing like some itchy detergents to make your day!

Monday, August 15, 2005

163 - A Big Question Hangs Over Cereal

Maybe pomposity has got the better of me: it's not exactly a 'big' question that hangs over cereal, it's just that "Cereal?" is questioned. Why, though? Perhaps this shopper believes that "Yakult" is enough for breakfast. Or maybe they want to wait until the next set of Rice Krispies is out with a different 'Horrible Histories' audio CD free on the cover. Brilliant!

162 - Naught But Cleaning Wares

Not only does this list feature anything other than cleaning products, it was even found abandoned in the cleaning goods aisle of the supermarket. This raises a couple of questions: firstly, why were they in such a rush to buy the items and get home; secondly, how hypocritical are they that they are quite prepared to keep their own house clean but litter a supermarket? Tsk. And tsk again.

161 - Choc Croissant

The lowly single croissant on this list is dwarfed by the enormity of "dettox x 2" and "Vaporese". It looks like the person buying these items is expecting a long cleaning experience and wants a nice snack to see them through. I love the flourish at the end of "Tins -" as if to say 'There! I've done it!' Well done, shopper, you've made a list that's featured on the Compendium: huzzah!

160 - Kitchen Towel Rolls

Well, really, how else are kitchen towels going to come if not on a roll? I doubt they make them in tins. Note the relatively healthy items on this list...until we get to "chips". My, how British!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

159 - Sandwich Gear For Andy

So much of this list has the tag "hols" that one can only assume that this is a shopper stocking up to go away somewhere...somewhere with a washing machine, presumably.

I'm drawn to "Sandwich gear for Andy" for one main reason though: this apparently ISN'T for holiday. I'd be interested to know why Andy isn't going away with them. Or possibly he is, but the shopper has failed to acknowledge the fact by adding "hols" to the item. But is Andy's sandwich gear different to the items already listed as "sandwich stuff"? Surely out of the choices there Andy would be able to find something for his sandwiches, plus the shopper is buying in both "bread & rolls" to provide yet more options for sandwichery magic.

158 - Spam, Ace!

Ace! It features again on this list, over 150 lists after Ace first featured in the Compendium. I don't know what it is, but in the context of it sharing a line with "Spam" I can only think that it's an expression of delight at this processed pork delight. One of the coolest things about this list is that the shopper successfully bought "Spam" (as indicated by it being crossed out), but sadly didn't succeed in buying a "Broom handle". Maybe it's just as well.

157 - Wine, Water and Red Wine

I'm curious about how "Wine" is different to "Red Wine". Surely such definition requires more specific detail: what kind of wine is meant by the first mention of it? There's a choice between white and rose, as red is used later on the list. The other items on the list don't give us any clues, though. I've not known anyone to drink any kind of wine - white OR rose - with breakfast cereal.

156 - Yoonah is Stupid

Who is Yoonah? And why is Yoonah stupid? And why was this left abandoned in a shopping trolley?

155 - Broad and Specific

I like the way that this shopper organises their items by listing the general product name first, and then adding extra specific information. I have the urge to put brackets around most of these so it reads something like the following: "Cheese (Edam)", "Milkshake (strawberry)", "Milk (full 3, semi 2)". And so on. Hmmmm...quite a dairy-based list. Evidently not lactose intolerant.

154 - Euro Lott

The Euro Lottery AND "Wine/Lotto"? Evidently a gambling alcoholic...if we overlook practically every other item on the list.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

153 - Tube Not Triangle

Those triangles are the work of the devil, I tell you. Well _I_ don't (I quite like Dairylea Triangles), but this shopper is adament they want a tube instead. But quite why they want both "Dairylea Light" AND "cheese x 2 low fat" is beyond me. A mix of soft and firm? The former just for the kids? A whole host of possibilities come forth.

152 - Rudimentary Ranking

This is the first time I've ever seen somebody number their items. It's not, however, the first time I've seen someone spell "bannanas" incorrectly. This list delights me as it's a curious mix of the vague ("8. -> something for dinner") and the specific ("9. small tins of Baked Beans". Plus they've put the "12. Lost Boys DVD" on there, a curious addition to a seemingly normal shopping lists. Seemingly normal apart from the desire for "Rhaubarb yoghurts", that is. I don't even fancy trying rhubarb yoghurts, let alone with an errant "a" thrown in for good measure. Still, at least they gave the list a title so they wouldn't get confused. Aaah, bless.

151 - Tin, Tin, Tin

Sprouts?! By the legend of Zelda, why would anyone in their right mind buy sprouts in August? What's even more confusing is that they are prepared to buy fresh sprouts, but only tinned potatoes, carrots and sweet corn. I'm also intrigued by the asterisk "*" at the side of "BACON". Does this signify speciality bacon? I doubt it, since this person eats vegetables out of tins. Does it mean optional? Or possibly there may be a secret part to this list yet to decipher...

150 - Cheesy Pasta

Cheese and pasta sauce. Short and sweet. But where's the pasta? One can only assume they have some at home - possibly kept in a storage jar. This last part is mere conjecture, of course.

149 - Large Food

"3 large lemons" and "4 large chicken breasts"? Large food all round, by the look of things. But why write "3 large lemons" when you've already listed "lemon"? Perhaps the single lemon is to be smaller...or perhaps it's yet another example of a shopper failing to remember what they wrote just a couple of lines previously. Tsk.

148 - K Bars Choc

There's a couple of items on this list I could pick up on. For some reason, however, I've come over all coy about commenting on "Pads (liners)" because it's an intimate womanly thing. Therefore, I'll make do with "K bars-choc", which I presume are a hearty supply of KitKat bars. If this assumption is correct, I particularly like the way that the shopper has clarified that they want chocolate KitKat bars, and not any other sort. Plasticine, for example.