Newspeak wins and sometimes supermarkets win. Somewhere about 5 minutes into a shopping expedition to a supermarket you just lose the will to live and will do anything to get out as rapidly as possible. That is, of course, with the notable exception of the reduced sections - it is not really about bagging a bargain but rather a chance to go rummaging through the random and unexpected ‘stuff’. Last night’s result of hunting and gathering produced a 10p bag of candy ‘blood’ but I did judiciously pass on the prospect of 3 dozen bottles of fake tan, a 3 pack of strong brew and a box of out-of-date condoms (which in some parts of the UK would represent the pinnacle of a good Friday night out).
But, in general, last night’s adventure in consumerism was no exception and by the time I had got to the nut aisle (don’t get too excited there isn’t a whole aisle it is just the only product I buy from this aisle) I had got over playing shopping trolley disco and it really was time to go. As usual the supermarket was conspiring to disenchant me as a regular customer by not actually having any of the products I would normally buy (if they ever bother to stock them) and forcing me to select a second option. I like pistachio nuts but hadn’t bought them for ages so - glass half full and all that - I bought a pack.
Getting home and preparing dinner I managed to squeeze in a pre-meal ‘scoff’. Ripping the bag open I started shelling (arguably the downside of pistachio nuts but it can also be quite a therapeutic process, and the requirement to do the shelling does slow down eating the nuts. Pistachios are quite moreish). About 10 or so nuts into the bag I thought, “these aren’t very salty” and looked down at the bag. What I saw was “Salted Pistachio Nuts in Shell” and given that this was pretty precise in its description I carried on eating. Somewhere around halfway I had convinced myself that there was a certain saltiness about the nuts. By the time I had finished the bag I was less sure and picked up the bag to put it in the bin. That is the point at which I noticed the key but small Orwellian subtlety that made all the difference - ”Unsalted Pistachio Nuts in Shell”. This is exactly why packaging should not printed in all caps. I had managed quite unintentionally to rip the bag downwards and managed to cleverly separate the ‘un’ from ‘salted’.
Somehow I don’t think ASDA will accept my empty bag as being suitable to exchange for some real salted pistachos (and not just ones that are salted in my head).