I’m a Legal Alien

I have just completed a surprisingly bewildering task – my first proper shop in a UK supermarket.

I normally go shopping on auto-pilot. Most of us do. Even those first few trips on leaving the nest, are habitual, as we grab the familiar brands of our childhood and the washing powder we know our mum buys. With so much high profile complaining in Irish media about foreign companies colonising our stores, I had completely forgotten how strongly Irish brands dominate our shopping trolleys.

Now, in this alien environment, I’m a brand novice again. I have no idea what kind of spreadable butter someone like me is supposed to buy. Or which tea brand is going to taste closest to Barry’s. I’m taking surreptitious looks into other people’s shopping baskets, taking note of which bread brand they’ve chosen. Hovering in front of the soups for such a long time that the security guard is giving me funny looks.

Then there are the few aisles of respite – breakfast cereals, my old friends! And fruit and veg look (almost) the same. Though there seem to be a lot more coconuts here.

Interestingly, the food culture is still quite similar – it’s not like going on holidays to Spain where you’re navigating not only unfamiliar brands but unfamiliar foodstuffs in general. These British shops look just like ours, it’s just the product labels which are different. Which makes the brand landscape all the more intriguing for me.

Hopefully I’ll be able to turn this brand blindness to my advantage in my new role. I’ll be working on a lot of food and FMCG brands, where my alien perspective might offer some new insights.  I’ll also be getting under the skin of what it means to be British – but that’s for another day!

    • Maggie
    • October 6th, 2010

    Hi Neasa , loved your alien shopping post. Keep them coming! Anything to match brennan’s bread??

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