Thursday, September 29, 2005

213 - EGGS and BACON

There's something curious about people who use inconsistent capital letters. I don't mean people who don't start words with them, but rather people like this shopper who - for a reason known only to them - writes most items in lower case, but "EGGS" and "BACON" in upper case. I'd like to think it's something to do with a traditional Full English Breakfast, or that it's to differentiate quantities, but the sad fact remains that we'll struggle to find out.

However, the one item that grammatically demands capitalisation is left without: "dolmio". It's a brand name, and therefore a proper noun. It should read "Dolmio".

Do you think they'd notice if I used some Biro over the top of it?

212 - Thigh and Breast

A lot of people buy chicken breast. A few buy thigh. I guess it all depends whether you're into leg or breast. But both? Well, that just strikes me as greedy, unfussy and - perhaps - a bit dangerous.

211 - The Shopper's Synod

It's a great shame that I'm becoming more skilled at decifering dodgy handwriting. Why? Because I know that if I went on at length about "synods" - a council of a church, usually a Christian church, convened to decide an issue of doctrine or administration - I'd be simply falsifying a listed item. How, and why? Because it doesn't say "synod" after all. But just think how good it would be to have a council of shoppers, convened to decide a "shopper's doctrine". Oh, that'd be great!

Perhaps the synod could have taken place at the Holiday Inn. After all, the list is written on the back of what I presume is a Holiday Inn order pad, as it was found in a supermarket only a few hundred yards from one such hotel.

210 - Bath Puffs, But No Thank You

The shopper is making a casserole. This is interesting to me, as we've begun cooking up massive stews ready to see us through the winter. However, I don't want any "bath puffs" to see me through the winter. Indeed, I'm not entirely sure what they are. They sound like those fizzy bath things that dissolve in water and make you gag with disgustingly floral odours. And I don't think they're anything to do with the Hunny Monster (and yes, I have spelt it correctly, according to Quaker Oats)...although you can never be sure.

Perhaps the sad fact that the Hunny Monster has no role to play in this shopper's list has forced them to withdraw the thank you suggested by "Thank You Cards" at the top of the second column. It's a shame.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

No Shopping Lists at the Supermarket?

Unbelievable...we've just got back from Tesco, and I found NO LISTS. Absolutely none. Zero. I looked in multiple trolley parks, and even the baskets.

I'm shocked.

I'm scared.

I think they're on to me.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Brewsters Millions

Okay, so it's not a shopping list, but it's certainly shopping-esque.

A friend at work found this, discarded, at the side of a cash machine in Brewsters Taunton. This isn't anything spectacular in itself, but then again finding discarded shopping lists is hardly the most breathtaking event either.

But look at the amounts. Firstly who on earth withdraws £50 in cash at Brewsters, especially as they accept cards as payment? Secondly, who runs their current account at -£29,900.34? And, finally, who continues to have an available overdraft of £28,809.10?!

One of only two sensible conclusions can be drawn from this. The cash-withdrawer is absolutely loaded. OR the cash-withdrawer is a gangster.

I favour the second option. I also like the idea of collecting balance ledgers. It's even more voyeuristic than shopping lists...

Saturday, September 17, 2005

209 - Frantic Scrawl Around £30 Cash

Yep. It's frantic scrawl around a large circled "£30 cash". I'm quite sure that the placement of the scrawled reminders around the cash amount is some kind of code, but I'm uncertain what to.

"DVD School" may be a DVD of 'School of Rock', but I think this is unlikely. As a teacher, I reckon it's more likely to be a DVD to take into school and show the kids. Quite why, though, is a mystery.

Similarly, the top left corner is strange. "1 2 3 4 5 CURSS [something I can't read] 0 7 8 9 4". The second string of numbers looks like the first part of a mobile phone number. But why count in to cursing someone?

And is it a picnic that's coded at the bottom left? A mysterious list indeed...

208 - Cheesecake

Every so often a list comes along that lists specific recipe items. This one is almost definitely for some kind of cheesecake. The first four items would definitely be used in making a base, while the next three make a bit of cheesy-filling stuff.

However, it is the bottom few shopping items that I'm not so sure about. As someone who's not a fan of cheesecake per se, I'm not entirely 'up' on potential toppings, but the precision of these items suggests it's legitimate.

Does anybody have any ideas what flavour this is going to emerge as?

207 - Furniture Restorer

"SUGAR SOAP" and "WOOD WASH" suggest that somebody is planning a weekend of furniture restoring. It may, of course, be a weekend of sorting out the skirting boards for all I know, but the usage still stands.

Something on the list that scarily angered me was that "B D CARD" doesn't say who the card is for. This is a little nasty of me, I feel, as there are many people don't write who the items on their lists are for. Perhaps previous shoppers who have bought birthday cards have simply spoiled me into thinking that I'll find out every person's birthday. Either way, I feel guilty and shamed. But happy birthday anyway!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Accessory to Murder

This is quite chilling. Jim recently found a collection of old forensic science journals from the 1950s, one of which featured the case of John George Haigh, otherwise known as The Acid Bath Vampire.

Excitingly for the Compendium, it turns out that one of the key pieces of evidence in the case against Haigh was a shopping list found in his hotel room. Although quite hard to make out from the scan, it features a range of items including:
  • H2SO4 (Sulphuric Acid)
  • Gloves
  • Apron
  • Rags

So, shopping lists have a sinister side...

206 - Tesco Stuffing Must Be Rubbish

Well, it must be. You don't write "Paxo" (a brand of stuffing) on the back of a Tesco stuffing box unless the aforementioned Tesco stuffing has been somewhat disappointing.

Then again, can one trust a shopper who wants "BlueSpray"? It may be paint, but I doubt it. Hair colouring? Perhaps.

205 - Fruit Salad

It might not be for a fruit salad, of course, but if this fruit isn't destined for such a dish one can only assume it's for a very fancy fruit bowl. Or a fetching hat.

At least the fruit lover has a social conscience, though. Going along to the Decent Home Workshop surely requires a certain kidn of attitude. Funnily enough, we received a flyer for solar energy installation a couple of days ago. It looks great. I'd like to do it. Sadly, though, we live in a rented flat and I doubt the landlord would be very impressed to return to find a couple of massive solar panels and accompanying batteries stuck on the roof..

204 - Tins Plum Easy Husay

As with a few of my lists, it's opposite side that is of most interest. Indeed, the list itself on is just a bit illegible, presenting as it does "TINS PLUM EASY HUSAY". Any ideas?

The reverse side of the list, however, offers an astounding insight into the life of the shopper. I have disguised the personal details to protect the shopper's identity...not that they probably know that they're on here. Then again, why write a list on the back of this letter - and leave it in yoru trolley at the end of the trip - if you're bothered about privacy? I guess one suggestion is that the shopper has their midn on other things. Either way, I hope her husband's discharge from Emberbrook goes does the "care manager".

203 - Wife Lunch

It's a shame that what, on first glance, says "wife lunch" actually says "w/e lunch". I was truly depressed at this revelation, as the former option is just so much funnier.

The question is whether "sliced ham" and "salad leaves" are part the "w/e lunch" or whether they're different. Personally, I often have a light sald-esque meal at weekend lunch times, but perhaps this shopper doesn't.

202 - Etc.

"Etc." And so on. You know, bathroom wares, etc. And "ham and cheese" (presumably sandwich fillings), etc.

Fair enough.

However, why didn't they say "dinner, etc." rather than "dinner tonight" and "dinner tomorrow"?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Guardian's "The Guide" Features the Compendium

Today I had a very nice surprise, and a damned good giggle. On opening The Guide, the magazine that comes with The Guardian on Saturday, I saw the Compendium staring straight out at me. Even better, Johnny Dee who wrote the review of the site, is actually quite complimentary!

"Who would have thought a site that contains scans and commentaries on 200 discarded shopping lists could be so addictive? ...Honestly, it's fascinating."

That is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the coolest things I've seen in a while.

201 - A Busy Weekend Ahead

There is little doubt that the shopper has a hectic weekend planned - but how are they goign to remember it all if they leave their list behind? The "shears" complement that instruction to "cut hedges", presumably to prepare for a garden party. The "pots & flowers" will decorate the aforementioned garden, with shade provided by the "parasol". Some varieties of booze must have been procurred from elsewhere, as only "pimms" is listed here along with containers - "jug for pimms" and "Bucket - Booze". I'd guess that the top section is for a buffet part of the garden party meal, with the bottom third being ingredients for a curry as the main course. No dessert though...

200 - Vital Pies

My 200th list, and fortunately one that's got a bit of character to it! Althought the emergency "Hoi Sin Sauce" stands out due to the blue pen in which it's written, I'm convinced that "Pies" are viewed as the most important item by the shopper due to the double - yes, double - underlining! Quantities of items are highlighted also, demonstrating the necessity of getting the correct amount. This may well be a list written for a mn by a woman. Perhaps he added "Pies" himself - it certainly seems to be written in a different handwriting! The asterisks are strange, though, mainly because they are usually used to identify important items. In this list, though, they pale into insignificance compared to the double underlining technique. Shoppers, take note: a new hierarchy of necessity has been created!

199 - Apples May Not Be Fruit

Grouping by category is a sensible and oft-used shopping list management technique. However, when one is faced with only one item for a category the system sometimes falls down. In this shopper's case such trivialities are ignored - bung them in a category area anyway! Hence we end up with "pizza bases" or "chips" stuck in the middle of a sea of white paper. Similarly with "sliced", but I have no idea what exactly is being sliced in this instance. I like the suggestion that "apples" may not be "fruit" as they are singled out from the general.

198 - A Weekly Menu

I envy the family of this shopper. I want to go shopping with this list. While the shopper has failed to organise items according to categories in store, they have arranged them according to meal combinations. Even better is that no guesswork is required by the list scrutineers. Each set of recipe combinations are highlighted with the name of the meal to be made with them, and the day on which is is to be eaten. Thus "Wednesday Lasagna" is accompanied with all the items needed to complete the meal. I can only assume that the shopper already has some items at home (otherwise how would they make "Tuesday crispy chicken" without already having some chicken at home)?

197 - Red and Black

I'm sure the question hanging on everybody's lips is whether the red and black actually _mean_ anything. I'm afraid that I think it's a negative. One could argue that red is for fresh foods, but this idea is scuppered by the presence of "teabags" and "sugar". Similarly, the black could easily be for packaged grocery, albeit for "mince" and, possibly, "ice cream". How frustrating!

196 - A Big Stream of Consciousness

It's not the first, and I doubt it'll be the last, but this is an outstanding list for the type of items in such a disorganised order. The issue is that the list is a combination of both items and meals, but with no way of determining the difference between the two. I'm sure that all the meals can be purchased as ready-meals, but there is nothing to signify this either. It's a good list - amazingly diverse - but I pity the person who needed to actually go shopping with it. There's just no way you can be sure of getting everything.

195 - Ian and Me

I'm confused. The circled "M" suggests "me", especially as it is shown as such at the top right corner. However, "Ian" is in a box, but no boxes are used throughout the rest of the list. It could arguably be a title, but I wouldn't have thought that Ian would want "Lge Well Woman". And how about the circled numbers? I assume they are quantities, but combined with the "M" (such as "Meals 4 M") they take on a slightly more suspicious tone. There's also a feeling of confusion around the organisation of the list. Some similar items - the fruit for example - are grouped in a sensible way, but others aren't. All in all, Ian and Me seem to have a curious life.

194 - Double Sided, Double Shopper

The title of this list only becomes apprent when the other side is viewed. The shopper - a conscientious soul - has made their own pre-printed their list with appropriate categories, but has done so on BOTH sides of the list so that the paper can be used on two separate shopping trips. But what else can we find out other than the shopper uses their listy paper two times? The interesting one is that the category "Misc" features "Treats". What treats are these? Some may argue that "Pimms" is a treat, others that the "Crumpets" are. Either way, I wish they'd have been a bit more specific. The shopper is also a forward thinking individual - they have bought "Bread for freezer", evidently forseeing a time that they may run out of fresh bread and need to resort to emergency rations. How intelligent!

These items are written in pen (a different medium to the pencil of the first side), although a pencil was used for some annotations and/or emergency items. Also, the shopper lists "grapes" on this side, which also appear on the other side. I'll admit that there are shoppers who write items multiple times on the same list, but I just have a gut instinct that this is not one of those weirdos. Having said that, they do want a "Seedy raspberry" - perhaps a smutty fruit? Sadly, I think it's a type of jam.

193 - Emergency Shopping

Two emergency shops in a row? That's right - this list was written by a shopper who just 'popped to the shops' to get a few items for which they had a great need. I suspect that they are shortly to be visited by family (possibly a brother/sister and associated neices and nephews) but I have little grounding for this suggestion. The main clues are that they need "tea bags" and "sugar" to make a cuppa, and "ketchup" for the kids' dinner. "Bleach" will ensure the usually unkempt toilet is suitably pristine, while the "Beef Gravy" is a more adult version of the "Ketchup".

192 - Emergency Apple Juice

Emergency "apple juice". It just screams it out - written in a different coloured pen, and of absolutely no relation to the other items on the list. Or at least I assume it bears no relation. I can't be sure, you see, because I don't know what "WFFE Instant" is. Any ideas?