Once upon a time, I had other ways to acquire the little hit of dopamine I now get when I approach the glowing red Tesco sign on my evening walk. Someone I had a crush on turning up at a party, a waiter approaching my table with a tray of burgers and the moment I located my friends’ faces on the other side of the pub have now all been replaced with crossing the threshold at a giant supermarket. (That, and Married At First Sight Australia).
Since England went back into national lockdown on 5 January, going supermarket shopping is one of a very short list of legal reasons to leave the house and be near to other humans. “Think I need a trip to big Tesco to perk my mood up,” wrote one Twitter user last week. “Might get dressed real fancy to go to the big Tesco,” said another. “When I die take me to the big Tesco in the sky,” requested one particularly committed shopper.
Among the perhaps unsurprising number of social media posts about going “out-out” to a big supermarket, there are the many selfies people have taken of themselves wearing a full face of make-up, a fun outfit or striking a sultry pose when heading off to do the big shop. The trend is largely a self-deprecating joke hinging on the idea that our lives are now so mundane that wandering the frozen food aisle is an occasion that merits liquid eyeliner. But a desire to be seen by others isn’t frivolous or vain, it’s intrinsically human.
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