For the second year in succession the Morrison's Summer Clearance Sale spilled over into violence. Shelves came down, crumpets got crumpled, two women had a tug-o-war with a frozen salmon, and a dosser, his feet wrapped in newspaper, staggered out drunk and crashed right through the main storefront window. Oh, it was heartbreaking to watch and that wasn't even the half of it.

*   §   *   §   *   §   *

When Mr. Morrison cut the tape, thus officially opening the 2010 Summer Sale, we all rushed in and over to the trolley park screaming and waving our arms around like lunatics. Though bedlam had already broken out at that point, there was still at least some kind of natural order to the chaos. That order was structured something like this: First in, due to pure aggression, were the insane. They neglected to take trolleys and on hitting the shop floor they all dispersed in different directions making weird noises. Next followed the Wheelchair Brigade, which was headed by none other than John. After the disabled came the relatively normal. That made up anyone who walked without a limp, wore their pants under their trousers, and hadn't arrived by ambulance or spaceship – I did however spot a few nervous twitches amongst us. I say US, because that was the group I made a part of. [Ha, taste the pain Brian, I'm 'relatively normal'!] Behind us followed the old, the dead, the sick and the dying. With their voice boxes, metal frames, sticks, and crutches they inched forward slowly like one enormous organism. Behind them were the really ancient. They made up a small group apart and were all covered in reproduced war medals and sucking on Werther's originals. From what I could make out they were there just to vandalize all the German stocked products.

15 x 1.89 =.
That was the equation I tapped into my vintage Casio FX-450 calculator just as I heard the first of many loud crashes and screams. But not the ecstatic screams of earlier, these were angry, raised voices  and one of them was John. “Fuck you!” he screamed “I saw them first! They're mine! Tristy!! Tristy!!!” Before I had time to locate him, he came powering around the corner of the deli aisle with a pack of 24 Mini Scotch Eggs clutched to his chest. He chucked them in my trolley, shouted “NINETY EIGHT PEE!” and muttered something about the pasta shelf tumbling over. He had gone bargain crazy, beguiled by the spirit that possesses people when reduced stickers are put on things. But not just him, everyone. Suddenly there were punches being thrown, old men getting duffed up by teenagers for packs of cream crackers, zimmer frame wars and crutches flying through the air like javelins. One woman, who must have been in her nineties, staggered by with a gapng head wound and a trolley full of tampons. “Jesus Christ!” I cried, “only £28.35!”.

As the world went crazy I kept my cool and snook around sweeping shelf loads of unneeded goods into my trolley. By then I had stopped counting the cost; my only interest was getting something before someone else did. Whether I wanted it or not was of absolutely no concern. It was there, 60% reduced, the 'bargain of a lifetime!' If I didn't snap it up someone else would and I'd miss out. Again. No way! Not this time.

Every so often John would again whizz by, bung something on top of my mountain of goods, scream out a number then roar back off to war. At one moment I saw him and another paraplegic ramming each other down the meat aisle. John finally got the better of the battle, upending his adversary into the pork display before hot-wheeling it away with two pounds of pigs liver.

After barely forty five minutes into the Morrison's two day sale, anarchy reigned supreme. What bargains there may have been were now either crushed under heavy shelving or trodden into the floor. Down every aisle something ever more absurd was taking place. From behind the fish counter I saw two police officers dragging away one of the regular Morrison's staff. He was completely naked after bargain hunters had stripped him of everything including his nipple piercings. Left, right and centre the wounded were being stretchered or carried away to makeshift recovery rooms. Then  a megaphone rang out, calling for calm and threatening to call the army in. That's when I decided it was time to pay up and leave. I went off in search for John. I found him, back at the fresh meat stand, stuffing lumps of chicken, pork and beef down his pants. I didn't say anything, just told him to get to the checkout, that we were leaving.

£457.69p, that was the cost of my 2010 Morrison's trolley dash. And that was without John's pantload of fresh meat. Quite against my volition, and without saying a word, he had scooted straight past the checkout and out through the automatic doors. When I followed a few minutes later with my trolleyful of bargains, I held my receipt up to the gatheried police, paramedics, fire brigade and crowds. About fifty or so metres down the highstreet I spotted John and pushed hard to catch him up.

Once off the highstreet and halfway home I looked at my mountain of buys and smiled. It had been a great trolley dash, and even if it had cost a bundle, it was nothing compared to the savings I had made. I looked up to John who was just in front. I should have been angry with him but for some reason I wasn't or couldn't be. All I could do was laugh as I watched him powering slowly ahead with bits of kidney and other internal organs falling from his trouser legs. I tried to kick what I could in the gutter, but it was useless. But so what, I thought, what the dogs don't eat the rats and pigeons will. We had done what we had come to do and it had been a major success. Just for today, we were the greatest shoppers in the World.


  1. I love reading your blog, but there is no way this shit is true.

  2. Then you've never been to a 60% reduced Morrisons clearance sale. This stuff really happens. X

  3. 'As the world went crazy I kept my cool and snook around sweeping shelf loads of unneeded goods into my trolley'.

    Unneeded. Yes.

    I used to love the sales for the violence and competition.

    Now I love them for their evidence of the malleability of human nature.

    Whenever I lose faith in the herd mentality of mankind I remind myself of supermarket sales.

  4. Abigail, anything that gives me five minutes of escape from myself is welcome relief... even laying down and letting the big boots of capitalism walk all over me. I think you'll sympathize with that. For some reason I get the feeling you are one of the few people who not only gained through Thatcher's Right to Buy Scheme, but made your fortune through it. Oh, that is you! Feeding and clothing the Nerdettes on other peoples misery.

    Unfortunately I missed the century's greatest bootsale as I was only ten or so at the time, but both my father's brothers lost their lot, and Aunt Jaqueline done almost as bad.

    Well played Mrs Winthrope, you thrived of a Nations grief. X

  5. hahahahaha crumpled crumpets. pantload of fresh meat. hahahahha o mi god. all this: pee my pants.
    it is true! everywhere!! it's a fucking metaphor!

  6. tristy,
    i may just be wordy today but i wanted to say,
    that sometimes in these moments you write about
    i see true love,
    like i have never seen.
    it's like i was once blind
    but not any more.


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