Friday, October 14, 2005

224 - Mum's List for Dad

Lists like this reveal so much about the shopper and their family that it's hard to know where to start. In this particular case, I've decided to begin with the deduction that while the shopper is male, the person who wrote the list is not. Oh, and they're parents.

"Anything for you" demonstrates that the shopper and the list write are not the same person. "Thick Nivea cream" would suggest that the list write is female. And "Nappies", followed up with "Nappies & wipes" further down the list prove the presence of a sprog. Interestingly, the list also features "Preg Test", but this is the only item on the list that hasn't been crossed out, and so supposedly not bought! Is dad in denial of a sequel?

Mum has also given some fantastic directions. "Water (Masses & masses)" ensures that he gets plenty, whereas "4+ pizzas (flavours you like)" strikes me as quite romantic.

The great thing about this list is that when you turn it over, it gets even better. I've evidently covered up any particularly personal details about the people on the letter, but I can assume one of two things. Either the shopper is Frank D. Numann (but then again, why would he still keep hold of a letter that he wrote and signed from 3 and a half months ago), OR the recipient of the letter is the shopper. In which case, as the recipient's address is written on this letter, I KNOW WHERE THEY LIVE!

If I was Danny Wallace or Dave Gorman, I'd probably go round to their flat and try to meet them. For the purposes of my hobby, though, I think that this would be taking things a step too far. After all, they might not like the deductions I've made about them on the site. Who knows what horrible tortures could lie in wait if I ventured round there to get a photograph with one of my shoppers? Then again, the web reports that 2-bedroom apartments in their block go for about £1,600 per month so maybe they wouldn't be too hostile. Or maybe they're in theMafiaa to afford that much rent. Who knows.

The confusing thing about all this, though, is the postcodes. If the recipient of the letter was the shopper, this means that they live in SE1, which is at least a 25-minute train ride and 15 minute walk from where the list was found in a shopping trolley at Tesco, New Malden (KT3). SW1, where Frank now lives, is a bit further still, as it's on the other side of the river.

Still, it's quite cool knowing that I could visit one of my shoppers if I really wanted to.

Maybe I should send a "New House" card to Frank D. Numann, though, because I also know where he's moved to :-)

223 - Bought, or Not Needed?

Lines through items usually suggest to me that the shopper has bought the crossed-out item. However, on this list I'm not sure. The problem lies in the fact that only "CHEESE" and "POTATOES - VEGES" have been crossed out, while there are still loads of items left on the list. Key to this is that "MILK" - an item that I see as a staple - remains uncrossed.

It's very confusing indeed.

222 - Mammal Milk

Sadly the illegibility of the handwriting means that I can't be sure that the third item on the list is "mammal milk". This is especially true as, unless my memory of biology is completely wrong, milk can only be obtained from mammals anyway.

Then again, the shopper also wants "Blue Flowers" which, again according to my biology teacher, is impossible - blue flowers don't exist. This leaves me with the conclusion that either my biology teacher was wrong, or the shopper's was. Can any biology teachers or students help me on this one?

And what's most curious is that "mammal milk" features again on the second side of the list. Then again, loads of others things are on here that are similarly illegible, so perhaps I should stop wasting my time working this one out and just grab a drink.

221 - Football Trivia Game

Why on earth would someone take a football trivia game along to the supermarket? And why would they leave one of the cards behind?

The best I can come up with is this: it was taken along to entertain the shopper's offspring. And it was left behind because the questions go back to 1996, so unless the offspring is quite old, they're not going to have a clue which team was led into Division One by Chris Kamara in 1996. (For the answers, click here).

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

220 - Suicide is Painless

The theme tune to M*A*S*H was called "Suicide is Painless". The Manics did a cover of it a few years later, and it was probably better than the original. Either way, the message struck home with this shopper.

I'm firstly amazed by the incredibly small writing on this list. Couple that with the sheer quantity of stuff and you can tell that this is a person for whom organisation and direction in life are important. They're also painfully precise, judging by the accuracy with which they colour each circular shape in the letters of the note paper's heading. The specific mention of "cat food / Jelly" suggests a shopper for whom pets are vitally important. They are also into treating themself on occassion: "comics" with which to relax in front of the TV, and perhaps "Sainsburys" shares to practice some business deals?

But what's this about suicide being painless? Firstly, the ominous circling of "tablets" suggests either a proposed overdose, or something to mask the pain of the "razor blades". However, they can't be planning on ending it for a while: they've got "Coke - 24" (cans) to get through. Stick with it, shopper!

219 - Canadian Livestock and 3 Lucky Dips

"Moose". Mousse? I reckon so.

There's some other wonders on this list - I doubt that it's possible to get stale "Nivea Deodrant", but it's evidently possible to get "FRESH". And do they mean "Humous" instead of "Humourous"? Perhaps it's just that they find liquidised chick peas particularly funny.

I like the circled importance of there being 3 "Lucky Dips" on the lottery, and the way that all the cigarette counter items are placed together - "Lucky Dips", "Paper" and "Fags".

218 - Scrap of a Life

"JOB SHIFTS" and "SWIFTS - DUST" are just about legible on this scrap, but whether this has anything to do with shopping I'm uncertain. I looks more like a scrap of paper referring to someone's work why was it in a shopping trolley?

217 - Emergency Windowlene

Most emergency items I find on lists are alcoholic beverages. With this precedent having been set, I find emergency "Windowlene" particularly funny. Perhaps they like the particularly acidic aftertaste.

I'm not convinced that the emergency "Windowlene" has much to do with the Teddington and Hampton Music Festival, but it would be nice to think that it's possibly given out as a prize. I'm not sure what for, but it could be a nice prize anyway.

216 - Lottee's Additions

I'm unsure as to whether the "Lottee" items are written by the same hand as the rest of the list. Certainly they are in a different pen, but I have the suspicion that the list was written in a black gel pen, and then "Lottee" added her items to the list later. I particularly like the vagueness of "Lottee Halloween outfit".

215 - Beef Stew For Six

The grouped listing of a choice of beef cuts and some vegetables suggest the ingredients for a recipe of stew which, judging by the "x6." in the top left corner would suggest is to serve six people. It's probably not a bad guess on quantities, but I'd be worried about the intestinal effect of "12 button onions" on the poor diner.

"milk" clearly is not part of the recipe. I mean, it's set miles apart. It's so obvious it's a different item. Really. Besides, who would even consider putting milk in a stew? Only weirdos, that's who. (Cue people leaving comments about stews where milk is a standard ingredient).

214 - Tea For Who?

Hmmm...three different teas suggest three different tea drinkers. However, I only say this because I drink "normal" tea and nothing else. It is quite possible that this shopper is simply a big fan of tea of different kinds, and wants a good range at home.

I also like the use of asterisks even though I don't know what they signify. The problem is that while most items are starred, some aren't: "Loo roll" (which certainly deseres a star, in my book) and "Herbals Tea" are left naked of stardom. Cat food is exctingly boxed as well, though. And has two stars. Evidently a special cat.