I know what they’re up to… but read on.

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Picture this. You’re on a train. Something like London to Inverness. You’ve dozed a little. It’s a long journey. The train pulls in to a station. You’re looking for the sign that tells you where you are.

You look out the window. Nothing. As the train pulls away, you see the sign. Sideways on to the carriage. The further the train moves away, the more you’re likely to see it. Your cheek and brow and eye socket are all squashed against the window. Nothing.

An innovative station manager decided to hang them sideways. (“Cool!” he says. “I’ve had enough of the same old, same old… Let’s try something different!”) People on the platform can see it OK. Just not you.

Same in Tesco. I thought it was just my local one. Out here in the sticks, it could be some wealthy merchant’s offspring who’s never shopped in his life and thinks this would be exciting. Make his mark on the world of shopping. Find his niche. His calling in life.

Or (as it’s always blamed on them) a recent grad who’s never shopped in his life. Or even a seven year old. “Aw my little Octavia/Romulus/Godwin is such a clever child. Let them reorganise your shop.”)

The result is a failure.

The only way you can see the damn signs is when you’re in a main aisle that crosses the ones that actually have goods in them. Once in the aisle itself, forget it. All you see is the edge of these signs. You’ll have to walk back to the end of the aisle to know whether or not you’re in the right aisle or not. Inspired thinking.

You might think (from reading previous posts) that it’s just me. I see innovation and complain. Well you’d be wrong (this time anyway).

Staff members feel the same. ‘Talk to management…’ they’ll sigh with a fatigue that can only be described as heartfelt. Almost medical. They’re suffering from CMI: chronic management intolerance. And there’s nothing they can take for it.

So why persist? The answer is coming.

But before that, there’s more. The aisles are now labelled by absolute imbeciles. Probably the same deficient management team (that never goes shopping) sees it fit to use labels that read, Ingredients. Meat. Meat and Fish. Meat and Pies. Sauces

What in the name of large scale out of town, glorified barns with fancy lights are they trying to achieve?

As someone pointed out to me, virtually the whole shop is full of ingredients. So why not hang a sign at the entrance that just reads, ‘Stuff’.

Looking for risotto rice? Ha! You idiot! You thought it would be in the section labelled ‘rice’. It’s not. It’s opposite all the other rice huddling next to the pasta… who in their right mind would look for rise next to pasta in the aisle labelled rice? Need I say more…?

It’s now not possible to do a quick, efficient shop any more.  Ahhh, but that’s the whole point.

Tesco doesn’t’ want you there at all. It’s trying to eliminate people (shoppers) and move over wholesale to online shopping. The only ones who will (we hope) understand the codified aisle system are insiders (staff). Though I doubt it.

This week I asked a staff member (loutish, over-confident for one who merely counts ham slices and puts them into a bag with tongs) where I could find fresh fish stock. The sort that’s already made up. Fresh. Liquid. Not in a congealed cube. Fresh.

He brazenly directed me aisle number 6, was it? Stock cubes. You unworthy, unshaven clot who dares to claim a salary with your stinky cloth shoes and blue plaster over your probably septic, oozing piercing. Don’t you dare handle my food! was my though as I approached the Knorr/Oxo shelf.

Tesco gives me an excuse to leave the house. (We need to eat and I don’t yet grow my own.) At the risk of running into someone I know (and don’t like), I still go. There are other people who might feel the same.

What I suspect Tesco aims to do is this.

Once they’ve got rid of real shoppers, they’ll move over to online shopping only. Then they’ll turn off most the lights and turn down the heating. The staff is usually freezing anyway, they won’t quibble about another drop of two degrees.

And we, the consumers/customers? Well we’ll have to put up with the incompetent and chilly staff bringing us whatever they can find in the freezing and dark warehouse that once was a Tesco superstore.  It’ll end up as vengeance shopping. Some stubbly staff member who can’t find his way around the shop in the dark , has frozen puss stuck to his brow throwing what the hell he likes into your trolley because… well… he’s angry.

I can’t bear the thought.

My mother has told me to shop at Wairose for years. I’ve been smug telling her that Tesco has the same products and is a bit cheaper. It was truse but I can see that’s not all that matter. Time to listen to Mother… (“Yes, Mummy. You’re right…”)