reality cracking
Reality Cracking

The 'Supermarket' section

Supermarket reversing


Supermarket reversing
('the discount supermarket')

By Curious George
23 December 1998
Slightly edited by fravia+
With an additional introductory 'small essay' by fravia+: European Motorroad malls
23 December 1998

European Motorroad malls

Well, I would be scared as well if the information provided by Curious George should be confirmed to be true. I need a confirmation because I must admit that (until now) I have personally never encountered something that scary. Somebody wrote recently that a reality cracking essay was "not only a shopping list from +ORC's supermarket theory". Nice words, yet I believe that -as you'll read in this very document- +ORC's great clever past seeds are still FAR from having been completely exploited... man, he wrote his Supermarket enslaving tricks in march 1997... that's EONS ago in Web-time... and we are still far from really working on that... :-(
As soon as I read Curious George's essay, I wished to add a couple of observations of my own, which I deem useful as a possible 'starting snowball'.
Said comments of mine will now follow, and regard specifically many 'European 'motor-road malls'. (I'm sure that my friends in the States -and elsewhere- will have very similar targets).
Anyway I have seen -and unfortunately experienced- these horrible things all over Europe (M÷wenpick in Switzerland, 'Three goose' in Benelux), but I will use a "made in Italy" example that I unfortunately had to endure once more during my last trip -per car- to Venice (in Italy, still a town without any car whatsoever, very nice indeed, even if the stupid political local populace is more and more succeeding in transforming it in a sort of stupid (and useless) commercial cross between Disneyland and San Marino).
To understand what follows (if you are reading this outside the European Union or in the middle of nowhere) you must know that there are some huge 'super-malls' built across the Italian motor-roads (called 'Alemagna' or 'Pavese' or whatever). I cannot understand why the hell someone in his right mind would want to sit down for his rare minutes of relax during a journey smack in the middle of a motor-road. I believe that's sort of a masochistically oriented attitude, and that you would act that way only in order to watch even more cars running by (actually under your nose) at full speed... funny enough, after having tripped so many kilometers among (pukeworthy) zillions of similar cars...
These malls are such an abomination... one wonders: why don't they build small cottages and rest places 'in the green' instead, with no noises whatsoever, small tables and soft music under high shadowy trees, why don't they offer you a quiet place of silence, a small place where all the slaves that finally managed to escape for half an hour their car (or their Bus, or their lorry) would for a precious couple of minutes NOT be compelled to see, smell, touch, experience the frantic lurid traffic they had to endure during their whole journey?
This kind of developments puzzle me quite a lot. Is it a purposefully prepared torture from some sadistically oriented power that be? Or, more simply, is it due to the fact that there's probably no low limit whatsoever in the idiotically European mimicking of every awful solution or trick that has been concocted -and applied- by the 'commercial contorted' American minds?
Anyway just try it for the sake of it and stop on your journey when you meet such places (quite a hard lesson to learn if you ask me, yet useful indeed). Stop there and have a cold long 'reverser' look around you (yes you are a green slimy alien in this context of happy idiots... just look, evaluate, register and send back info to this galaxy... pink funny stupid earthlings around you wont understand that you have come from the 'reality cracking academy' of Aldebaran :-)
Loo! These malls are so structured that you WILL NOT find your coffee or your toilets on the ground floor... you'll have to take an elevator, or a lift, to the first floor... but it will take you nevertheless quite a while to get to the 'level exit' (like in Doom, thinking of it... may be we should treat all our visits to a supermarket like a doom game... :-) The criminal layout of these sites (I would like to dump the architects that studied and prepared these 'commercial killing fields' in the middle of a motor-road, possibly with a cement block around their feet... :-) will compel you to cross a labyrinth of interminable crappy products on offer... in order to finally get your simple coffee... the layout is stupid but effective: in order to get to the bar or to the toilets all visitors MUST go through the whole assortment of overpriced salami, plastic model cars, videos, whatever crappish and totally useless they want to sell you (and always overpriced: anywhere in that country the same products would cost you less than on those motor-road malls). Once you have drunk your coffee or used the toilet you'll have -once more- to go trough a maze of crap in order to go out and continue your motor-road journey.
There's absolutely no way you can avoid this torture. What is really funny, btw, is that most of the ubiquitous 'cretini con telefonini' and 'coglioni con gipponi' (the main 'categories' of Italian citizens :-) seem to like it a lot. Moreover since most of the 'objects on offer' seem to be 'casually' stapled (in reality they are very artfully positioned... you feel as if it would just be so easy to pick some of them en passant), most of them hinder your movement through this commercial abomination. Therefore the only defense I was able to invent at the moment was to simply walk trough this seaweed of commercial crap WITHOUT caring the least about all the artful posed salami-mountains and "die cast car models" landscapes, 'reversing' (in the simplest -yet quite effective- sense of the word) mountains of them :-)
Ok, I notice that this simple addition is getting too long... should you send feedback I'll try to extrapolate a real essay out of it...

fravia+, 23 December 1998 (Snow is in the air!)


the discount supermarket

by Curious George

23 December 1998

There is a particular chain of discount supermarkets where I live called "food 4 less". They claim that you will save between %20 and %50 off of the same item from a different regular supermarket. Well, I tried shopping there once. Very first thing I noticed (lucky me, I read +ORC's essay before coming here, thank God) was that there was ONLY ONE entrance. The slaves were FORBIDDEN to enter at the other door, the ONLY exit.

Now being immediately suspicious I go in with one of the unusually large trollies. I see that I have no choice of where to walk. So, I turn left. It turns out that the whole store is positioned in a maze. YES! There are not normal grids of isles, instead, the shelves are organized so that there is only one path through the store. More than this... there are some turns that lead to dead ends, on purpose of course.
So, I decided to wait in the middle of the maze -like a spider- and watch the slaves wandering up and back in a daze. Most of them were a little apprehensive (where is the escape?). But the soft muzik and the pretty meats and veggies made them "feel good". So, I noticed they would pass me with their trolly almost empty (all of them had "huge" trolleys) and their shopping list finished. I thought: that's it, they are clever enough, after all, I won't see them again. I was wrong: A few minutes later, I would see them return in a daze....and dissapear again. So, after a while; and a few more maze-crossing, I saw them again and again. Now, take notice, their trolly is QUITE FULL. Also, the shopping list is no longer in their hand.

So, now that I had my items and that I had finished my obeservations, I decided to leave. Being persistent I found the exit (was not so easy after all, though). Now, here I notice that they have many many cash registers. Maybe %50 more than usual, even if the store was the same size as a normal mall. All queues, on the various lines, were very small. Once you actually found the exit you are supposed to beggar off as quickly as possible, probably. I also notice there was no "express" line for those that only bought few items. Probably an almost impossible and blasphemous event. Then I realized that on the way in there were only large push trollies, no small hand basket whatsoever! You were not supposed to buy just a couple of things or just the things you need... you were supposed to FILL YOUR TROLLEY UNTIL IT BURSTS!

When i finally made it home, I examined my "fresh" products carefully. Meat had a nice "redness" to it... while in the store. Yet, when I cut open the ground beef for dinner, it was much more "grey" inside: only the first 2cm of the meat was pink. They probably took old meat and mixed, putting some fresh meat ontop. This is illegal where I live, yet they seemed to have done it. So, looking at my veggies, I noticed some "wax" on the apples. Carefully peeling off this "wax" I saw that my 'nice' polished apple has bruises on it. Looking at my milk, eggs, and yogurt, I see they are the same brand as my favourite store. This is not unusual in itself. However, even if according to labels the dairy was supposed to last for 2 weeks, the milk was thick as cream in just one week.
I suspect therefore they bought old dairy from the usual supplier of my normal grocery and then somehow contrived to stamp false 'best before' date onto them. Else I'm seeking an explanation.

I went back a week later to test all this in more detail. For the meats, I "secretly" poked a knife into the beef (being careful of the many casino style black camera bubbles... supermarkets are closely watched!). I constated that only part of the beef was bad!

In the produce area, I did the same test. Once more, only some of the apples were 'waxed'. And with dairy too, only some of the milk was of the same brand I normally use, there ware many other kinds I never heard of. So, I suspect that they present a mix of products: some almost stale, some fresh, so that only at times it really happens that the slave gets real bad stuff, and anyway he is not supposed to realize that this is only happening at this "food 4 less" chain. Also, by using bad exemplars from a brand present on the good store, the slave will think that his milk from the good store went bad, not that bought from "food 4 less".
By the way, on my second trip there, I did not buy anything at all. Great feeling of power, like a scientist in the Savana. Clerks were astonished to see me leave without buying anything. :)

The second time I was there I noticed that the music in the main store area was soft and slow. They repeat some songs again and again, but most of them are new and continuously changing. These patterns would need more thorough investigation.
Also, there were short ads inside the music. A soft male voice tells you about the special %60 percent discount for an item only available today! Lighting changes chrominance slightly from place to place. I never saw a clerk fixing the products, but the products were always fixed. In the exit row, music was different! It was faster. I think there were so many registers so they can get people out of the store fast so they don't realize they just bought so much that THEY DIDN'T SAVE ANY MONEY AT ALL off of the total purchase.

In conclusion, I am very scared of this store. I hope it doesnt become the store model of the future. At least regular stores only suggest with subtle psychology what to do. They don't try to make you. I think marketers (who are lower in my mind than even politicians and weapon designers) have become so infatuated with their power over the masses that they have lost any respect whatsoever for their fellow humans. This illicit power has corrupted them and they somehow think they are inherintly superior to the average man. I think though, that if the trend continues to be less hidden and try to force more from the slave, the slaves will start to wake from their slumber. Maybe I should say, I hope....

I wish you good eating for the holiday's readers!

--Curious George, end 1998.


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