Sandra Dick: Shopping hell is in store

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Heating set to ‘on’. Leaves clinging to the trees for all they’re worth, they’ve traded their lush summery green and faded into death mode.Autumn’s here. And while I adore the colours and the chill in the air, it also means I’m on countdown to yet another birthday.

Of course this was once a season of much excitement leading to deep depression as that much longed for gift failed to materialise. I can still weep over my lack of a Girl’s World styling head which everyone had except me.

It feels like yesterday but my face and, in particular, hands tell otherwise. Ladies, take it from a woman whose cake is about to feature the numbers five and one, do not bother with expensive moisturisers for your face, it’s your hands that will announce your age.

Perhaps the other sign of my advancing years though, is my growing inability to cope with shopping. In my prime, I could waste hours trudging Princes Street in search of the perfect whatever. Now it’s nip in then get the hell out.

Food shopping feels more complicated than ever. Baked beans? Organic, in tomato sauce or BBQ? Fajita-style or Curried or Chilli or Garlic and Herbs or Cheese? I feel like screaming ‘stick your beans, I’ll take peas!’

I can wait ages for a lone cashier, or wait ages at the self-serve checkout. There I’m nagged about unexpected items while clutching my purse between my teeth so my hands are free to search for bar codes. Almost always I leave without my change/groceries/debit card. Did someone say ‘progress’?

My local supermarket offers ‘click and collect’: order online (actually faster to find the nearest field and milk the cows myself for my semi skimmed), then drive to the shop, get boot loaded with someone else’s groceries, arrive home to find lots of dog food for a dog you don’t have.

It seems many shoppers are finding their relationship with shopping at a crossroads. Tesco and Sainsbury’s are in a pickle after one botched its sums and the other was caught urging staff to get us to spend more. Others are trying to woo us with things we don’t particularly want or need. Tellingly, it’s slightly old-fashioned and no-frills Aldi and Lidl that are on the rise.

Perhaps I’m not the only one who thinks it used to be so much better in the good old days, even if I couldn’t buy wasabi peas and physalis, back then bread was plain or pan, beans were in tomato sauce and checkouts had real staff.

Or, dare I say it, is it possible I’m just getting old?