ADVERTS FOR SUPERMARKETS TELLING US HOW MUCH THEIR SAUSAGES COST
With thriftiness more important than ever, there’s no reason why the Britons of space year 2011 shouldn’t we be informed when 1½p has been knocked off the price of a six-pack of Penguins. No reason at all.
“Crossed out prices were charged in many Tesco stores including Stevenage.” Yes, EVEN in Stevenage.
While these days we couldn’t possibly step inside a supermarket unless it’s been advertised by way of comic vignettes starring Fay Ripley and The Bloke From Sunnyside Farm Who Wasn’t Phil Daniels, back in the 1980s people could be enticed into their local superstore by way of COLD HARD BRIBES.
Case in point, this entertainingly overblown commercial for Tesco from 1982, where somehow the concept of “selling things at a bit of a discount for a while” is somehow “the biggest and best thing that’s happened to shopping since checkout… CHECKOUT 82!”
1lb of Bird’s Eye frozen peas. Was 45p NOW JUST 42p.
P-p-p-pickup a six pack of Penguins. Was 31p NOW JUST 29½p.
A family brick of Lyon’s Maid vanilla ice-cream. Was 32p NOW JUST 25p. And the use of the word ‘brick’ only makes it the more appetising.
80 PG Tips tea bags. Was 61p NOW JUST 59p LOOK AT THE TWO PENCE COIN YOU JUST SAVED THE SHIT OUT OF. LOOK AT IT, TOUCH IT, FEEL IT AGAINST YOUR SKIN. TWO PENCE TWO PENCE TWO PENCE, YEAH.
And so on. The promise of as much as three pence off a bag of peas might not sound like much now, but back then this was indeed as majestic event as Voiceover Bloke implied. Ask anyone over the age of 30, and they’ll probably remember their dad popping off to Texas (the DIY store, not the American state) for loads of chipboard, ready to build the family pea silo. We’re not making this up – in the Thatcherite era, pretty much every working class family north of Bristol had a pea silo, with mum leaving the kids at Aunt Mabel’s because she was making the annual pea run with a borrowed van. Seven pence off in one go isn’t much, granted, but this is where economies of scale really kick in. Ten bags of peas, and you’ve saved seventy pence. One hundred bag of peas, and you’ve saved up seven whole pounds, and that’s enough for 23.7 six packs of Penguins.
One hundred packs of peas would usually fill a chest freezer, and that’s where the unambitious shopper would call it a day. But no, if you were lucky enough to own a pea silo, the amount of money you could save would be astronomic, at least in 1982 terms. BrokenTV’s family pea silo was made out of fibreglass, ‘cos our dad knew this bloke down the pub who could source it cheaply, and it held a massive 23,435lb of frozen peas. That’s 10.629 metric tonnes in new money (see, people didn’t care about getting planning permission for things in those days). Filled with peas to the brim, it was. And thanks to Tesco’s Checkout 82, the family saved a whopping £1640.45. Factoring in the material and construction costs of the family pea silo, that still left a net profit of £940.45, which in those days meant BrokenTV’s dad could buy a three year old yellow Ford Capri with red racing stripe. Yeah!
And THAT’S why every time we visit our mum for tea, even now, WE HAVE TO EAT BLOODY PEAS. It’s much the same for anyone over 30, like we said.
All thanks to pea silos.
We hate pea silos.