Supermarket Sweep

I dread going to the supermarket here. It is fascinating, granted, but you exit feeling like you’ll soon be riddled with E numbers and exhausted from hunting down things that don’t come wrapped in layers and layers of neon packaging. The muffins come wrapped in brightly coloured foil, with an oxygen absorber pouch, inside further clear plastic cellophane, inside a cardboard box. The only thing that looks fresh are the terrapins, which are alive, although it’s fair to say they’re not leading the fullest existence.

My brother and I had terrapins as kids, and we kept them in a smallish tank with a rock, a bit of water and probably a plastic plant or two – eighties-style. They weren’t the most loving of creatures, and we soon got fed up of having to clean them out. So we tossed them into the river that ran through our garden, leaving them to the sorry fate of the West of Scotland water temperature and whichever predators lay in wait. I’m not proud of our behaviour, and I don’t feel I can really take the moral high ground when I see these poor chinese terrapins getting their little legs tied up for the journey home to the pot. That said, I’m not ready to stew up my own turtle soup just yet..

The most utterly baffling fact, however, is at the checkout, where grandfather clocks sit happily beside the chewing gum, in the impulse-buy section. Just what you want, on your way out the door.

Supermarket Shanghai Supermarket Interior