Supermarket bargain-fest culture creates so much waste

Shoppers out for a bargain in the Christmas sales.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Shoppers out for a bargain in the Christmas sales.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC

I find my mood moving swiftly from mild irritation to teeth grinding frustration with consumerism-driven sales tactics these days.

In particular, what I find ignites this crescendo of irritation is the ongoing need for shops, mostly supermarkets, to tempt us with the option of a bargain/freebies or buy one get one free. We see it time and time again.

Free coffee with 10 stamps; loyalty cards flood our purses and wallets. We present them like a pack of cards when we check out. Pick a card, any card! Sound familiar?

What drives our desire to accumulate things we don't need, items we don't want but find ourselves piling into our trolleys for the sake of a bargain? Why do we buy an unwanted newspaper or bottle of water to boost our bill to over £10 to double our points?

Why are our fridges filled with three bags of carrots when we only wanted one; 2 cucumbers when it is highly likely we won't eat one?

What are we planning to do with all this food when it was never on our lists in the first place?

It is all very well but what concerns me is the waste our households are accumulating which, like it or not, intentional or unintentional, is being tossed into our wheelie bins on a weekly basis, or let to rot in the refrigerator drawer or fruit bowl.

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Our cupboards filled with tins and packets, a monstrous family bag of pasta when we live alone or don't even like pasta.

We convince ourselves it is handy to have just incase. Well it was half price after all!

What drives human nature to a bargain, have we always been this way or are we driven in a semi addictive state to have more than we need?

Is it a status symbol to have our fridges full or our kitchen cupboards bursting or our wardrobes bulging, giant TVs?

Does it give us, the human race, confidence, or kudos? Does it make us more acceptable and likeable to others? Is it an actual fact a competition between us as to who possesses more?

When you see bottles of water being given out at railway stations, you can step back and watch the stampede.

Some people already have a bottle they have brought with them but when the word 'FREE' registers in the mind, we know we have to go for it! Why! We are fortunately not living in a war zone or a time of rationing. We can turn the tap on if we are thirsty, or boil the kettle if we want coffee but as soon as someone mentions FREE it is suddenly an absolute 'must have'. Why?

Buckets of apples by the side of the road in Autumn with a sign 'Help Yourself' is all it takes for cars to pull up on the edge of the road. I would love to know what happens to these apples!

I really hope they get transformed into pies and crumbles and not compost bin liners.

I would also like to see if nearly so many people would stop if it was 10p a bucket without the invisible 'something for nothing' label attached to it then would it hold the same enticement?