It’s been a long time since I’ve had a successful shopping trip at the TM supermarket over the road from my office. For months I’ve been making periodic forays and coming back empty handed and depressed by the barren shelves. But I need some pets food. Unlike the butchery, TM has the marked advantage of taking my bank card. Which, given that the last time I successfully went to the bank and came away with cash was November 9th, is a bonus. And my work mates had told me confidently that pets food was now readily available in the shops. So over lunch, I ventured bravely forth.
And I was shocked to find the Christmas spirit had taken over at TM. This wasn’t so much in terms of decorations. But the fact that there was actually a thing or two on the shelf gave it a distinctly festive air. I was stunned to see things like floor polish and rolls just sitting on the shelves waiting to be bought – no queue no nothing. I picked up a 2kg bag of rice for $6 million, and a bar of rubbing soap for another $6 million, but the posh imported Thai curry pastes were selling for under a million. Go figure.
The queue was long and slow. Everyone’s feeling the pinch of the cash shortage, and is instead swiping their bank cards. I watched a few people try and scalp cash-paying customers from the queue – offering to take their cash and pay for the other person’s good on the bank card. But the tills using cash were so much shorter, they didn’t have a chance.
Five out of the six people in front of me in the queue were stocking up on ice cream – each was buying the maximum three tubs they were allowed. Stocking up for the holidays, maybe. I haven’t seen those ice cream freezers full in an age.
There’d been a run on fake Mazoe orange cordial, selling for $1 million for 2 litres. The man behind me in the queue had two bottles. A youngster came up to him and asked where in the shop he’d seen the cordial, and was told it was now finished. “But,” the man said as the kid walked away, “I can sell it to you on the black market outside – $5 million.” Maybe he gets points for being proactive. Surely you save a lot of wandering around if you can scout out your black market transaction clients whilst you’re still in the shop buying the good you’re about to mark up and sell on.
The downside – no milk and no biscuits. So it’s going to be another hungry black tea afternoon at the office. And there was no pets food. I’m hoping my cat doesn’t lock me out.