The Village Shop has been going from strength to strength since my extensive multi-channel leafleting campaign.

I am pleased to see it doing so well. They have a good combination of standard things that people need and finer things that might make them a small profit. I always nose around the displays whilst my pint of milk is being rung up on the sophisticated electronic till.

Something stops me in my tracks.

“What,” I ask, very slowly and carefully, “is this?”

The Village Shop lady looks up from her transaction.

“It’s mustard!”

I stare at her, and then stare at the three jars in front of me, given a prominent position above the pork chops. “It is German mustard. In the pot the shape of a beer glass. German mustard.” I wave my hands helplessly around the shop. “People do not come in here to buy German mustard. Not even the tourists.”

She purses her lips. “Well Granville brought it in from the cash and carry this morning – he was very proud of finding it.”

“It is German mustard, in a pot the shape of a beer glass. How many of these do you expect to sell?!?”

“All of them!”

I shake my head in exasperation and read the label carefully.

“It’s from Aldi!” I boggle at her. “You are trying to sell, on your premium display, three items of German mustard, in pots the shape of beer glasses, from Aldi. You cannot sell stuff from Aldi in here. It is the Lidl Lidl.”

“It’s not from Aldi is it? Where does it say that?”

“I tell you what,” I offer generously. “I will give you half price for this now. That way it will save you time when the sell-by date expires and you have to mark it down to half price.”

She turns this down, offended. I don’t know. I try to help people with the benefit of my extensive retailing knowledge but they just won’t be told.

The next morning I go to the Village Shop once more, to buy bread and a newspaper. I glance over to the display. Only two pots remain.

19 thoughts on “I go to the Village Shop.

  1. MB says:

    Are you sure Granville didn’t go to the c-c-c-c-c-cash and c-c-c-c-c-carry?

  2. Megan says:

    My old village shop (NOT my Olde Village Shoppe) used to carry Hot Rod Magazine (complete with bikini-clad car babe of the month sprawled unconvincingly across the bonnet – I mean really, NorCal at the best of times is a chilly place and yet not one goose bump? Unless the bonnet was hot in which case she would have had a far more concerned look on her face) right next to Organic Living and The Economist. For a small town we were an eclectic lot.

    And I admit that someone, somehow would have been thrilled to bits with German mustard in a miniature beer glass.

  3. tillylil says:

    Did you fall for that old maketing ploy?
    It’s under the counter.
    The shopkeeper is making you think there is a demand so you snatch up the remaining two jars!
    Either that or some other ‘village idiot’ bought it or may be there was an influx of German tourists yesterday.

  4. Nancy Barnes says:

    Having never lived in a village, I can’t really comment on what the shops must be like. (Any notion I have of British shops comes from years of watching Coronation Street.) I do, however, often visit the corner store up the street from where I work. First, I pass the hookers standing next to the law firm where I work. Then, I pass a halfway house. Today, I had the added bonus of watching a man on his hands and knees picking cigarette butts off the curb. When I get to the store, I always glance at the small parking lot where previously someone had been shot in the middle of day while exiting the doctor’s office located over the store. All this for a Coke Zero and Mentos gum. I’m not sure if the store sells mustard; I’ve never stayed long enough to look!

  5. Eunoia says:

    As you may or may not know, I am an expat living currently in Germany.

    just thought you would like to know that “jemandem dein Senf geben” (=give someone a giving someone your mustard) is our equivalent of the Brit idiom “piece of your mind”, i.e. tearing them off a strip.

    PS_: If it is Löwensenf, I recommend you try it. The last Norfolk mustard I had was from Colman’s wonderful Olde Shoppe, which I think was in Norwich (yes?).

  6. Icy Mt. says:

    Admit it, Jonny, you paid full price and bought the first one, dinya?

  7. Sam says:

    Aldi do quite good mustard, actually. You should get some Frankfurter sausages from there next time you go, they’re delish.

  8. admin says:

    The Colman’s mustard shop is in Norwich, yes. It sells mustard, plus all sorts of exciting mustard-related merchandise, like teatowels and table mats and stuff. I would strongly recommend a visit, although allocating a day might be overkill.

    Nancy Barnes has whores on the way to her Village Shop!!! That is gritty urban reality for you. We don’t (as far as I know, and I think I would have found out by now)

  9. guyana gyal says:

    She knows what your trick is, don’t think she doesn’t know. You were planning to buy the 3 for 1/2 price, then resell it with sausage made with the sausage-maker. You were probably planning to make pepper-sauce with it too, and sell it at triple the price…to her!

  10. Keith says:

    Consider yourself lucky, Jonny. I lived for two years in a village in Germany, and I couldn’t buy any mustard, German or otherwise, in the village shop — mainly because we didn’t have one. We did have a hairdresser, though. But she didn’t do mustard.

  11. Do tell, Jonny – what is the precise calibration of mustard snobbery in your particular patch of Rich-and-Retired-Stockbroker Heaven? I get the feeling that it was less the nationality of the stuff than the distressingly discount nature of the store it came from that was at issue. If it had been French mustard in the shape of Rodin’s Fallen Caryatid would that have been ok?

    Or perhaps you’re just an ignorant tattooed swag-bellied yob who only trusts the flourescent yellow pus you get on the hot dogs at Millwall on a Saturday afternoon. If so, more power to you, my boy – do go ahead and break those filthy foreign pots over the shopkeep’s traitorous head…

  12. Richard says:

    I used to have a cupboard full of assorted glasses that once contained German mustard. This was on account of at the time being married to somebody who was a bit German. I must go to Aldi to recreate my lovely collection as I don’t know where the village shop is. Unless you want to buy them for me, Jonny, and send them via Mr Crozier’s lovely Royal Mail.

  13. Gail says:

    I must tell my brother forthwith about your German mustard discovery as he has been lamenting for years the withdrawl of the Colman’s German mustard line.

  14. Pat says:

    Selling German mustard – that’s appalling. Everybody knows French is best.

  15. admin says:


    Perhaps I should buy a pot and offer it as some sort of competition prize?

  16. Oli says:

    SOrry, I bought it that afternoon, the pot now has pride of place on my mantle peice.

  17. Hamish says:

    You could take the mustard to the pub, surreptiously replace someone’s pint with the be-mustared one, then stand back and watch the hilarity unfold. Or you could stay at home and watch the cricket.

  18. What would Gladys Emanuel say about that? Or the Major from Fawlty Towers?

    Shhhh – just don’t mention the war!!

  19. aerospace says:

    hi,I think that, Small villages still have people living in them. Shops will sell anything those people need to live.So yes, they will sell vegetables and milk, and most likely meat.I wouldn’t expect that tourism would be that big a trade, and small shops are unlikely to change their stock.

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