Overcome with bitterness, Tesco Mary began taking her revenge
A lot of people would say that supermarkets aren’t interesting. Fuck off. They’re amazing. That’s why they’re not just called “markets”. They’re the scene of thousands of miniature dramas played out daily, documented in the choices people make of what to buy and what to leave behind.
Picking up a melon and carrying it halfway round a supermarket before exchanging it for a packet of sausages, for instance could signify any number of things. Perhaps you’re a portly chap attempting a diet, and seeing the discounted bangers made you decide to pack it and embrace your status as a big fat sod. Or perhaps you had a flashback to an incident in your childhood when some bullies shoved a melon up your arse, and a friendly man dressed as a sausage came to your rescue. Only you can really know.
But others can guess. My friend Adam and I run Someone Else Will Put It Back, a collection of photographs of discarded items complete with what we assume the story behind the last-minute swaps to be.
A discarded meal for one, hurriedly abandoned next to the deodorant shelf, could represent the happy tale of a lonely customer getting an out-of-the-blue phonecall from a pretty girl he gave his number to three weeks before. “No, I’ve got no plans, I’ll see you in fifteen minutes, bye! Shit! I stink!”
On the other hand, washing powder jettisoned next to a two-for-one pilchards offer would suggest that the shopper involved is unlikely to be a man famed for his sexual magnetism.
The site’s not been going long, but already we’ve learned that oranges in various forms crop up a lot, and people often change their minds about buying soya milk. The most disposable website ever made, or a stunning insight into 21st-century life? Either way it’s made every visit to Tesco an emotional rollercoaster. Here are a few of our favourite entries...
Coke x Fruit Juice
The second this swap took place, someone’s Mum smiled and didn’t know why.
Orange x Festive Chocolte
Old people are great. Sometimes they forget they live in futuristic 2010, and do Christmas shopping the way they used to do it in the 1940s. “An orange! That’ll be a Christmas treat nobody’ll ever forget!” Then they see their wrinkled hands, swap the fruit for a more up-to-date seasonal snack and curse God for the inescapable viciousness of age.
Chocolate Orange x Cat Litter
Buying an anniversary present for your wife can involve frantic indecision.
Wall's Sausages x Neuro Bliss
An enterprising young mind has decided to skip out the middleman here, and exchange a food that looks like penises for a drink that looks like semen.
Fanta x Bleach
At the last minute, this customer remembered that fizzy drinks are actually only the second-most effective contraceptives.
Turkish Delight Thins x Kit Kat Chunkys
This shelf is like a snack-based metaphor for Trinny and Susanna.
Toilet Paper x Socks
Someone’s bum is being treated like absolute fucking royalty tonight.
Sandwich x Lager
One man’s lunch break just became a party.