Shopping/Shopping online

Findlater's delivery bicycle - courtesy of The Little Museum of Dublin

Findlater’s delivery bicycle – courtesy of The Little Museum of Dublin

Not alone do I remember Finlater’s large grocery shop on the corner of O’Connell Street with Cathal Brugha Street in Dublin, I also remember buying items of groceries to carry home with me on the bus from town! We are talking way back when I was barley into double figures.

Remove the sign and I am dipping into the memory box of another similar bike.

Eddie’s bicycle. Eddie brought an order of groceries to our house on six days of every week. That is a story for another day.

We have come a long way from small grocery shops with the grocer standing behind the counter in a brown shop coat or apron on which to wipe his hands. A pocket for a notebook and the obligatory pencil sitting on his ear.

The cooked ham and the bacon (raw) were both cut on the same hand operated slicer and cheese was cut to the size of the piece you wanted. The fact that the soil covered potatoes were added to the scales in the back store and a bail of briquettes was carried to a car with those very same hands, only added extra flavour to the bacon! Health and Safety were never heard of, and sure we were only building up our immunity. My granny would have called it clean dirt!

We paid for our shopping with REAL money, not bits of paper or plastic.

We have come a lonnnnnng way since then.

In the ‘olden days’ when I was a knee spit high, you could find small shops that claimed to sell everything from a needle to an anchor. Today we have Supermarkets and stores trying to sell us a LIFESTYLE.

Pre-packaged, shrink-wrapped, plastic bags, Big Supermarkets and BRAND NAMES.

We have gone full circle. The Eddie’s of this world may have gone to their reward, but you do not have to leave the house to have the groceries or indeed any shopping delivered to you kitchen counter, never mind front door.

A few days ago, I was returning from my adventures in Dublin, when my mobile began to chirp.

“Mum where are you, now”?

“On the bus back to the house, we are as far as the halfpenny bridge.”

“Do you fancy coming to this talk/presentation with me? I am feeding Buffy and about to head into town, if so, I’ll call and see if I can get you a ticket.”

“It might be interesting, go ahead and try.”

I stayed on the bus in case the answer was no. Elly called back with the instruction to get off at the next stop, cross the road and jump on the next bus back into town!

I did. We met,and I went along.

On entering the building I was greeted and welcomed by
Piaras Kelly, Associate Director of Edelman, although we had not actually met before, he was aware of my online presence.

The presentation was on behalf of Musgraves, SuperValu & Centra  – who are all under the same umbrella. An evening of information, discussion and suggestion gathering from foodie bloggers and users of social media, to see how they can improve their online presence.

The above group is Southern based and not available to me in Northern Ireland where my online foodie needs can be catered for with Sainsburys, Tesco or Asda

It was interesting to see things from the other side. But what struck me was the fact that I was the oldest person in the room, old enough to be the mother of everyone else there.

I was greeted with hugs and kisses by several signed up and badge holder ‘Grannymar Toyboys’!

If I was to sum up the evening in words they would be

Online presence
Value for customers
Tablets and mobile phones
A bottle of wine
Meals for two
Family deals
Young Mums
Providing recipes and ideas for quick and tasty meals
Coeliacs – a long discussion on their needs

I did have the opportunity to request that recipes be included for those with other health issues such as Dairy allergies.
A request was made from the floor to remove the rolling flashy bit from the top of the site, something I was pleased to hear and they can be such a distraction.

For me the evening was geared for people already living the world of technology and actually more familiar with it than some of those presenting. This is not a complaint, only my impression.

There was no mention of the older generation, many of whom are being pushed into this world of clicks and likes. Young people forget that we oldies were brought up in a world of “DON’T Touch, you might break it!”

Many people in their seventies & eighties are using technology theses days to keep in touch with family and friends scattered across the globe. As they become more familiar they brave the waters to other areas and home shopping is one way.

The sites need to be simple with easy straightforward instructions.


Flashing lights are for Christmas trees and street decorations. Let us find the food and necessary items First. Let the ‘flifferty gibbet fashionatas’ dig deeper for their ‘apps’ and wide screens!

Make text large and clear enough for aging eyes. Text over jumping or moving screens can be gone before we find it.

Three for two or buy one get one free offers may be fine for family shopping, but do have offers for pensioners. A bag of fruit with different varieties in it – not a bag of apples that will have gone off before they reach the end of it.

A local butcher to me at home does an offer one day a week, it will have a piece of steak for frying, a pork chop, sausages , bacon, and maybe a couple of chicken breasts all for a very reasonable price. That would keep a pensioner in meat for a week.

You want to support the family, we seniors are very much part of that family. Not alone are we struggling with ageing ailing eyes and bodies, we have to battle with a very fast changing world. Do not push us into the ditch of life to linger and fade away.

We need to eat too!

Padmini the wonderful cook and author of many cookbooks, and hails from Chennai, in India, brought the topic Shopping/Shopping online to our LBC table for dissecting today. Why not pour a drink and join me on a trip round the other members all listed in the sidebar for the next course in this banquet.

16 thoughts on “Shopping/Shopping online

  1. Rummuser

    That journey down the memory lane resonates. Particularly the clean dirt and building immunity. In India, both systems operate cheek to jowl and these are also joined by street and push cart vendors. It is usually a journey to more than a few stops to buy vegetables, meat fruits and groceries. Online purchases too have now begun to make life interesting.

  2. Chuck McConvey

    My journey wasn’t the same – seems I’m big-city born and bred so other than milk delivery, grocery stores have always been the order of the day. GM your site design comments are all right on but I doubt much will be done in that regard as the target markets are 18-49 and 25-54 – just as in TV ratings. Of course if such a site did exist – large print, no frills and suddenly became successful we oldsters would again be the flavor of the day, Take heart in the fact that in spite of tired, old eyes we bloggers and travelers are a bright, hearty (well sorta) lot and not intimidated by technobabble. And just wait til someone invents a smell app and we can smell stuff online. The mind boggles. (easier and easier each day it seems)

  3. wisewebwoman

    I liked your comment about site improvement for us oldies. For instance I find “Goodreads” a site I’ve tried to embrace extremely non-intuitive. Daughter doesn’t. I have to hunt for clicks constantly which I find irritating. As to shopping I do some online, mainly reading and holistic medicine and would order groceries online from farmers (yes!) and online stores when living in Toronto.

    1. Grannymar

      I will do a large shop every few months to buy the bulky household stuff, but still like to go pick my own fresh food and have the opportunity to see and speak to real people. I have no desire to become a button clicking recluse….. for a very long time.

  4. SchmidleysScribbling

    I buy some items online, and others we buy at various stores, almost all of them huge modern enterprises. A few small corner shops still exist, mostly kept alive by the sale of spirits. Even these are going the way of 7-11. The Farmer’s Market is wonderful, but not in our heat. Dianne

  5. cedar51

    Even now, with the bread – like a French Stick – in a see thru’ bag – it is still has a “glued” on tape – so no more eating bits off the end of it – without first wrestling with the tape!!

    Yes, there are places that do paper bags but they are in my neck of the woods…

  6. Grannymar

    We are now charged for plastic carrier bags, in the hope that we will revisit the idea of bringing our own reusable shopping bags. We have a long way to go, as there are still plenty of plastic bags in use.

    Paper carriers are fine in dry weather, like we are having at the moment, but a disaster in our more normal downpours!

  7. Alice

    Re memory lane and home food deliveries on bicycles: I love the idea and would welcome it, but never had such a great experience as I was growing up. I’d like it even more as the major meal planner/preparer now. Re make it easy not a treasure hunt: some great ideas you’ve outlined here. You should charge a consulting fee.

  8. Alice

    we oldies were brought up in a world of “DON’T Touch, you might break it!” — I’d never thought of it before, but that line explains a lot of hesitation toward new technology I always feel!


A penny for your thoughts...