In the past, I regularly shopped with my sister Rachel, we visited random local destinations every Saturday to the big superstores for our weekly essentials. During one of the days out I found a scrap of paper with note of ‘spray oil and butter’ written on it in my basket - the shortest shopping list ever I thought – it really amused me! That was the day, in 2006, that I started to collect discarded shopping lists. It became a bit of an obsession for a while, looking in trolley’s for abandoned notes, it was almost treasure to me – a portal to other people’s lifestyles and weekly meals. I created a piece of work called ‘Brussels and Bleach’ in 2009 from some of my ‘finds’ but also regularly squirreled away many other shopping lists in bags and boxes.
On-line grocery delivery to your doorstep seems like a normal part of life now. It thankfully removes certain elements of the shopping experience and reduces the temptation to buy things you don’t actually need or want from the comfort of your home. It makes our hectic lives a little easier – no queues or screaming kids to contend with.
I have been getting a weekly delivery for several years now, so I don’t really get the opportunity to discover the little scraps of paper in the baskets anymore, but the other day, I saw a shopping list when I was out and about, I wanted to pick it up but resisted due to the current climate. It did however spark a need to revisit and catalogue my lists, some of which have been sadly thrown away, although I did locate the digital files that I used to created ‘Brussels and Bleach’.
So, I have curated ‘Chops’. It is photographic visual catalogue, a mini museum and archive of over 120 shopping lists left by other people, carefully preserved forever – PS. Don’t forget the butter!