By Jerzy Morkis
Once upon a time the church was the great meeting place, where the Scriptures were read to allow us to ponder the error of our ways and prepare to go forth and be better mortals.
But now there is a new god and this Big Brother has a new house, usually on the edge of town... called a supermarket.
For it is written in the Book of Consumerism:
1. In the beginning was the high street then Big Brother said: “I will change man’s shopping habits” and lo, his habits were changed.
2. And Big Brother said: “I will give you more for less and I shall build big car parks and I shall provide an abundance of trolleys and baskets.” And so it was done.
3. And in the temple, Big Brother spake thus: “Oh ye are sheep and the time has come for my flock to be shepherded and in my house there will be rules which thou shall not transgress.”
4. And so it was written and Big Brother laid down his commandments.
5. Come ye to my doors for the hours which they are open are long and many and my parking spaces are many, though not as plentiful as you need when you needest them. When it overfloweth, thou shalt queue and be merry.
6. Taketh a basket or a trolley; oft I will make thee insert £1 to unlock your trolley and you shall not grumble if you have not the coin but you will queue for change and be merry while the till operator discusses events in the life of Ella.
7. There shall be no rules for travelling within me. Thy toes will be crushed, thy legs bruised, thy children run over, and many aisle-jams shall you endure as neighbours discuss the well-being of Ella, but thou shalt not grumble. Thou shalt be merry.
8. And when thou has completed thy shopping duty you shall come and stand before my altar. Thou shalt queue and be merry.
10. And when you standeth in my queues for 10 items or less, thou shalt not counteth what lies within thy neighbour’s basket. Thou shalt queue and be merry.
11. And when thy neighbour before thee exclaimeth: “I think have the 33-odd pence,” thou shalt not wail or gnash thine teeth when she hath only 32. Thou shalt queue and be merry.
12. And when thy neighbour before thee be an acquaintance of one of my servants thou shalt not wail or gnash thy teeth at any enquiries over Ella or where she went for her holidays. Thou shalt not shuffle thine feet or maketh exasperated noises. Thou shalt eavesdrop, for it is expected, but thou shalt wait, queue and be merry.
13. Thou shalt honour the barcode, for the barcode is order and truth. Though in every basket and in every trolley thou shalt carry the burden of an item with an unrecognisable barcode, you shall not wail. Thou shalt wait for thine barcode to be checked and thou shalt queue and be merry.
16. And once all is accounted for and thine debts paid, thou shalt accept my loyalty card whether thou needest or requireth it. For it is good.
17. Then thou shalt go forth with thy messages and loadeth thy vehicle and depart. And thou shalt be thankful for all the goodies contained within and thou must pledge forever to queue and be merry. For that is the way and the way is good for I decree it.
Here endeth the lesson.