For many years, supermarkets kept confectionary by the tills so the queuing shopper (or more likely any associated children) could be tempted into unplanned purchases. In recent years, this practise has reduced – or so we are told.
When I am required to visit Woking for “the man”, I tend to acquire the elements of my lunch at a small branch of Marks and Spencer which is handily sited adjacent to Woking station. There is a strange selection of random items on the way to the tills, mostly of a snackable nature – some healthy, some less so. However, the most prominent display, as I wait for a till to become available, is a wide selection of gins (and no tonic). For the slightly shorter shopper, Scottish whisky is there to tempt – whilst the giant (or stilt-user) is offered brandy.
I presume these spirits are not there to tempt small children, who would be faced with a selection of sweet sherries, as the licensing laws would mean M&S were swiftly hauled up before the beak. So, they must be there to tempt their older clientele into impulse dipsomania. Given the store’s location, welcoming recent arrivals to the dubious delights of Woking, M&S must assume that any visitors will require access to a stiff drink (or several) before they are able to cope with the horrors that lie ahead. Or is gin – rather than a chocolate bar – a typical last-minute, till-side purchase for the Woking shopper? I’ve never thought of the town as particularly Hogarthian – but perhaps I have underestimated how louche its denizens are behind closed doors.
You (and my employers) will be pleased to know that I have (so far) managed to resist temptation. I make no guarantees as to my future conduct…