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Supermarkets, we all use them. Once a week, maybe more often, we patrol up and down the asiles and load stuff into our trolleys, then we pass it all through the checkout and drive it home. I know there are variations these days, you can shop online and have it delivered, or you can have it put in a locker for you to pick up. But I still drive in, load my trolley, and drive it home again. Although I do things a little bit oddly.

We go to two supermarkets, and we alternate them. One week we use the nearest one to where we live, the other week we use a further one which is a little better and has stuff the other one doesn't. And this shows up a problem that maybe the rest of you don't have. But first I need to tell you about the shopping list.

There's an app called OurGroceries which is really useful. I have our favourite recipes set up in there so, having decided on what we will eat this week I just pick the recipes and it makes up the shopping list. There is a dummy recipe which has things like milk and coffee on it which I always pick. Then I take my phone into the larder and check off what we already have. The result is a list of what we actually need. More than that, each item is assigned to a category. The obvious thing to do is say meat, fish, cheese etc. My categories are supermarket asiles, and the list is displayed by category, so my list is displayed by asile. When I get to an asile I know what items I need from there. Nice.

And now we have the problem. My categories only work for one of the two supermarkets. The other one, although it is owned by the same company, is organised completely differently. So the list is not sorted right for it.

There is a solution to this and libraries have been doing it for years. Books are catalogued into a standard system. I think there is more than one standard (often the case with standards) but they are similar enough that if you go into any library you can find a particular book by knowing its catalogue number and they arrange them on the shelves that way. Wouldn't it be nice if they did that in supermarkets too? How many times have you had to ask someone 'where is the...?' Probably not too many, actually, but it still seems a useful way to go about things.

There is a sort of standard already. Fruit and veges are always first, baked goods and non food items near the end. But in between it could be anything. I think they tend to put freezers near the middle of the shop, which is possibly more effcient energy-wise. So the frozen stuff is always there, though I find some of the better cheeses are near the end too. So there is the begining of a standard, but the rest is all mixed up.

I don't have any plan or any hope this will come about, and the existing system does work well enough for most of us. But it would make my life a tiny bit simpler.

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