Have you ever been in the middle of large, chain supermarkets, and had to stop , and work out where you were? Perhaps you thought you were in a different one. Maybe a branch near a train station that you ran into to grab a sandwich once, or the giant out of city one you used to go to when you were a student.
It is probably only a brief moment, but in that split second you are absolutely unanchored. You could be anywhere.
That is because your brain has realised the the truth. That no matter where you are, it is all the same supermarket. All of them. The same one.
I know you think I am lying. But consider the fruits you eat that are “transported” across the world. They arrive fresh, with days left in them, for pennies. Think about it. You think they can make a profit on strawberries from Morocco?
Let me give you another piece of evidence. If the supermarkets were separate stores, think of all the managers, shop staff, trolley pushers, and car parking attendants they would need to pay. This requires millions and millions of pounds in wages, training, and uniform. Sink that money into the exploration of different dimensions, and get positive results, you slash your costs by two zeroes. Still wondering how they get those fruit to you for nothing?
Next you will deliver what you think is a killer blow. Why don’t all supermarkets look exactly the same, if they are literally the same building?
Well, of course. They do not want you finding out. And you are judging the supermarkets by our rules. Where you shop is not exactly stable, but a pocket of a colonised world, a mirror held up to what a supermarket was some point in the past.
Don’t worry, the supermarkets are quite safe. But this is why it is so important that you do not stray off route. Why all the aisles are numbered. Never, never, go through the doors with the large flaps of plastic in front of them. The ones you can never quite see the back of.
Because through there, the supermarket will keep going and going. You will push your trolley past shelves of tins covered in languages never seen before, through sections full of only of screws covered in furry neon mould, past cashiers with faces made of bats. And that moment of confusion, of having to work out where you are, will last forever.