I don’t buy this online shopping lark

Shopping Trolley.

Shopping Trolley.

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Shopping. Love it or loathe it. There’s no in between. It’s something that has to be done and for me that actually means a trip to the shops.

I have never shopped online and never will. The idea of sitting down at my steam-driven computer at home and ploughing through a seemingly-endless list of groceries, toilet rolls, cold meats, tins of this and bottles of that after a day sitting in front of a computer at work ploughing through a seemingly-endless list of options for this and that, and boxes that need ticked, holds no appeal for me whatsoever.

So online shopping, for me, stays firmly on the shelf.

Love or loathe, it has to be done. I don’t love it. The supergiants that are Asda and Tesco are alien beasts to me. They are too big and I find myself wandering aimlessly among similarly-lost souls along aisles stacked with things I don’t need, but which I know if I stay long enough I will buy.

I can find no pleasure in traipsing round what is no more than an overstocked warehouse where boxer shorts and vests via for space with cheese, pork chops, tatties, onions, kettles, irons, mobile phones and condoms.

Vests should be bought in a drapers, tatties and onions at a greengrocers, chops and sausages at the butchers, kettles at an electrical outlet, and condoms at the chemist or from your discreet barber. Something for the weekend indeed.

There was a wee corner shop close to where I once lived in Galashiels. It was renowned for its boiled (home-boiled) ham which you could smell from the other side of the Public Park.

The two men who ran this outlet were characters indeed. One had a message bike which he pushed but rarely rode.

When the shows came to the park for the Braw Lads’ Gathering there were extra ham joints to be boiled...the show folk loved that meat.

This was a shop where you could buy groceries ‘loose’ and have placed in a brown paper poke that was then twirled a few times to ensure they remained secure for the journey home.

I remember when that shop bowed to progress and acquired a chest freezer. It looked out of place and the storekeepers found it difficult – or perhaps were just reluctant – to move too quickly with the times. I clearly recall being in a rush and decided to opt for frozen chips instead of the real kind.

I delved into the freezer and retrieved a packet and had to suppress a grin when the senior of two gentlemen dropped them into a paper poke – and, yes, gave them a couple of twirls. I laughed when I left the shop. But he obviously wanted to cling to the era of shopping that both he and his customers loved. That wee shop is a house now and the show folk have to find their boiled ham somewhere else.

Talking about shops and houses – what about those that were combined. They were dotted all over every town in the Borders. One little room full of sweets and various varieties of Heinz’s. All gone. And there’s no penny tray in Tesco’s.

One pleasure I do get from shopping – and you can’t do it online – is the search for the yellow labels.