Superstores Soothe My Soul


They say, ‘Music soothes the savage beast.’ Well I don’t know about that. You know what soothes me? Superstores.

I love superstores.

The bigger the superstore, the more I like it. I’ve touched on this before, but give me a Target, a Carrefour, or an Alcampo, and I can cheerfully wander the aisles for hours. Giant Tescos delight me. Retail parks make me unfathomably happy. Driving through Florida, with its repetitious beat of Walmart, Target, Petsmart and Toys R Us, filled me a joy I can’t possibly explain.

Apparently if you rub the nose of a shark it will flop over and bob upside down in a catatonic state for a few minutes. It’s known as ‘tonic immobility.’ Some scientists think it’s because the sensory pores on their noses get overstimulated. I feel like my experience walking through the doors of a particularly large superstore is not unlike that of the shark. My brain just… switches off. I leave all my worries and concerns outside the store in an imaginary basket and enter a carefree space filled with spaghetti and suncream and cereal and stationery. I will go through each and every aisle trying on costumes, and floppy hats, and seasonal sunglasses, and kids’ shoes. I will read every card, examine every type of lead pencil. I look at the different bags of frozen peas with real and unfeigned interest (which is something I’m sure not a lot of people can say). If, after browsing the entire stock of a Carrefour, someone were to offer to take me to a different Carrefour, I would actually be excited. Yes, even though it’s probably the exact same stuff. Yes, even though I was just there.

I didn’t say it made sense.

I wouldn’t call myself a shopaholic. The purchasing part of the store experience is honestly the least interesting to me; I am practically allergic to queueing so even if I’ve picked up a couple of items, I usually put them back down if there’s any hint of a long line. Instead it’s the methodical, meticulous, mental notetaking of everything in the store that does it for me. It’s almost like a form of meditation.

Unfortunately, here in Ireland, there are no true superstores. No Carrefours. No Targets. No Walmarts, no Costcos, no Alcampos. Tesco is as big as it gets. To get my fix I have to go over to Madrid and visit Carrefour far more often than is reasonably required when all you need to buy is wine, rice, and tomate frito.

I am trying to plan out the next six months with a holiday to Spain factored in, and although obvously visiting family is the number one priority*, there will need to be a few big box meditation sessions thrown in, as well as a good bit of wine purchasing and restocking of general Spanish supplies. My knee is jigging up and down with anticipation even as I write this.

Am I alone in finding superstores soothing? Does anybody have a suggestions as to why this happens? Is it just the delight of knowing that if you really wanted, you could have a different kind of cereal every day of the week for about two and a half months?

And now I’m hungry.

I’m off to make some Spanish rice and pick out a bottle of red for later. It is Friday, after all.

Have a great weekend everyone!

*(*shifty eyes*)



  • The Real Reality Show Blog

    I share your passion for “window shopping” through the aisles of our American megamarts. It’s gotten worse for me since I retired and have, now more than theoretically, all day to spend in a store. The only thing I found that comes close to the feeling is a session in a dollar store. Love it there so much I even called them “happiest place on Earth” in a post a few years ago. I may have to repost that. After I run down to the store of course.

  • Dangerspouse

    (It’s actually, “music has charms to soothe a savage breast”. Not beast. Although confusing the two is understandable, as both have led to disasters at various times in my life. And there’s a “tonic immobility” joke in there too, obviously.)

    I love those stores too! I particularly enjoy perusing the aisles of WalMart, providing as it does a very visual lesson in the industrial prowess of every country in the world other than America. It’s like a visit to China, but with more guns and better toilets!

    • Quinn

      Goddamn. The Ballad of Tom Jones has steered me wrong all these years!

      I’ve only been to a couple of WalMarts and they were dimly lit and badly organised, giving them a sort of depressing air… I might have to retry them! I like my superstores BRIGHTLY LIT and OXYGENATED. And 24 hours. Like casinos.

  • Christian

    Oh my god yes. Supermarkets and shopping in general soothe me. I especially like wandering through a clearance section to see if I can find awesome stuff.

  • bexoxo

    Not only a different cereal for everyday of the week for two and a half months, different socks, shampoos, and snuggly blankets too! I have to say, Costco has always been a bit overwhelming for me. I do love me some Target therapy though. 😊

      • bexoxo

        I think my dislike of Costco began when my parents made me carry around a 4 foot stuffed animal that I was told I could have, just to get it home and be told that it was a Christmas present and took it away from me for a few months… maybe Costco has just become a trigger for me.

  • calijones

    I’m from Utah, home of big box marts, and I’m exactly the same as you. I may have already commented on your other post. I would always go to Harmon’s or Smith’s or Whole Foods if I was bored, lonely, depressed, it always made me feel better. Even if all I bought was a tea. There are no big stores here in central London though so I get excited to visit a big one any time we go out of town. It feels like home.

  • Dewy

    I love them too. Costco is the biggest we’ve got here. It’s like being in another universe since they hold brands we don’t see over here. Apart from Costco I love wandering in Bunnings a hardware store. I love all their tools and gadgets. The possibilities are endless then there’s all those kitchen homewares stores. I can go from one to the next looking at their egg timers to tongs admiring all the gadgets. Found dolphin ice cubes moulds the other day😂

    • Quinn

      I need to visit Costco! It sounds like heaven! And I also LOVE hardware stores. I start dreaming about wandering around in a utility belt and becoming Joanna Gaines…. I have starfish and fish-shaped ice cube molds so I feel our freezers probably have a lot in common!

      • Dewy

        They had penguins ones (Tovolo) that I loved but didn’t buy. I nearly did but popped them back. They were like $15 a piece and I couldn’t justify spending $15 for a little ice cube mould.
        She and Chip are my favourite couple. I love her style. My kind of style.
        Except I live in a modern apartment and well all those open shelvings looks great but a pain to clean 😊
        You’ll love Costco they’ve got so much stuff. I wouldn’t mind buying stuff to go home and try and see what it tastes like. Only down side is the packs are extra large meaning you’ll have to eat until kingdom come and bad luck if you don’t like them.

  • Angela

    I went to Costco for the first time in my life on Tuesday! Wooooaah! I felt like my head might fall off from looking at so much stuff!!!! I must admit though I do love a browse around those really big ASDA superstores I can get lost in those for hours!!

  • The V Pub

    We have a home furnishings store in the US called Home goods. It’s accounted for placing more men in comas than daytime talk shows. As a side note, I’ve somehow unfollowed your blog. One would think that a person who can pluck tiny strings could avoid such things ☺

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