I stood on the shore summoning courage, and as the wind whipped my eyes and I tasted two streams of salt, I thought about Tesco Everyday Value cloths

I stood on the shore, unsteady. I blamed the soft sand, but really I knew where all the gin had gone. I stood on the shore. Soon it would be night. Time. The beach was cold and almost empty. The holidaying guests had gone home, back to their guest houses with the DO NOT DOs on the walls, the evacuation plans bolted to the back of their hotel room doors, and embraces, and television shows, and towels, all with all the softness long since worn out.

I summoned up courage, incantations. The rocks in my coat, the gin in my belly, wind in my hair. Salt in my face. I should have had my hair cut for it.

A woman walked along the shore, walking her dog between the dirt and the sea. The woman looked sensible and the dog looked sensible and the woman’s shoes looked sensible and, as I looked at her, I realised that, actually, the loneliness that I thought had been killing me, had driven to this, was the one thing which was keeping me alive.

I looked at the woman. She was exactly on the border between land and sea, life and death, but she just barked commands at her collie. She had a stupid thing they use for throwing balls. The dog was running in circles, manic. I lit another cigarette. My last one, although I still had most of the pack left.

The woman raised an arm at me. I just looked at her, at the sea.

The woman altered her trajectory till she was walking towards me.

“shit” I thought.

The dog shat on the sand. It shuffled and then it squatted looking at me with almost defiance and I saw the black sludge trickle out of its arsehole and fall into a steaming heap on the wet sticky sand.

It stood up and ran off, manic again. I inhaled smoke as hard as I could.

In one smooth motion, the woman extracted a nappy bag from her wax jacket, extracted a cloth from her bag and, scooping like she was taking a low catch, scooped the sand and the shit into the bag, tied it off and put the shit filled bag back in her pocket.

“I say” she said. She looked the sort to talk, to turn everything around to her (‘actually, I can understand how you’re feeling…)

She said nothing though. For a long time, she stood in front of me and looked into my eyes. I had the feeling, and I was a bit fucked at the time, that she was god, looking deep into me, peering through the black stagnant lake beneath my skull, and into my brain below.

I was ashamed of my thoughts and of my history.

To distract her, God, (it’s all very confusing), I decided to think about something else. I decided to think about the cloth I’d seen her use to scoop up the shit. It was a Tesco’s Everyday Value Cloth. I could spot one of those a mile off. Ten to a pack, for about a quid. At 10p each, you’d think they’d be shit themselves, but you’d be wrong. They’re very sturdy and durable. So much so that sometimes we realise, with a jarr, that we’ve been using the same one for weeks. Eurgh.

The cloth itself is striped cheerful blue and white, like deckchairs used to look like in Victorian times, if sea side post cards of Victorian times are accurate (and, really, who is to say whether they are or not?)

The packaging is poor, though. A google image search brings this up as the first image:

I love that design. The simple green of the bucket, and the ‘ting’ of the sunshine on the ‘o’ of the Tesco. The way the lovely font of the ‘all purpose’ looks in lowercase.

Clean, understated. Without doubt, the best packaging for a cleaning product ever.

I, though, have these

Why is packaging for cleaning products so shit? These images look like they’ve bene lifted from an East German text book. Simultaneously dull and stupidly nonsensical; bubbles floating out of institutional sinks, psychedelic swirls that mean literally nothing, buckets being tumbled over by poltergists with what look like blue rats jumping out. They liked that one so much they included it twice (heaven forfend the thought that they were pressed for time)

Do these people think that people do not care about cleaning products and the design of their packaging? Good people do, deeply. What’s the point with making a bit of effort? Why not take a leaf out of apple or bose or some high end retailer and investing in a beautiful design.

THAT is why tesco is going down the toilet. God it makes me angry, it makes me seethe. But at least, I suppose, I feel something.

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