Complexity-theory influenced quantum holistic shopping

Anton M Miller

Well, once again, it was time for a party and I was completely unprepared. Usually, I would just give someone some money and they would disappear for an hour or so, then return laden with goods. Unfortunately, this time my house was empty apart from myself, the artist (who would be of no use as he woudl be sleeping) and the living mess. I was going to have to do some shopping...

I raided the money mattress and gained two hundred dollars worth of paper money, which I quickly secreted away into my wallet. You never know if anyone is watching you.
I wandered around my house aimlessly for a few minutes, trying to find the artist, whom I knew was around. I eventually found him, incapacitated as I expected, under a pile of cushions and blankets, sleeping heavily. He would be of no use to me today.

I was halfway to my shopping place of choice when it began to rain. I had been expecting this, but still dreading it. The windscreen wipers on my car were barely servicable in anything above a light sprinkle of sky-water and now the rain was thundering down like a terrific ocean.

The wipers were working frantically, but to no avail, so I lowered my window and rubbed at the windscreen with my hand, yanking it back a little too late and being bitten by the wiper blade. This wasn't working. I stuck my head out the window.
Pain! Water struck my face and neck viciously, spattering like thin glass pellets over my skin. I squinted my eyes and tried to see through the rain, getting a slightly better idea of what was on the road then my streaked windscreen offered.
A single drop forced it's way past my eyelashes to shatter on my cornea. Yelping in pain, I drew my head back in to the cabin of the car quickly, rubbing the afflicted eye. Remembering that this is the one thing you shouldn't do to an eye injury I yanked my hand away and tried to open my eye.
Fog everywhere! How was I going to survive this?

Less than a minute later I pulled into the undercover car park. I won't go through those few seconds of hell in print, it's just too hard to explain, I'm sorry. It has to be said that there isn't much that compares to driving blind in the city.


Now that I had arrived, I was struck by the realisation that, besides having a drippingly wet head, I had no list of items to procure and I was stone cold sober. Well, as near to sober as I had been for almost a week. But the important thing was, I didn't know what to buy - It was time for complexity-theory influenced quantum holistic shopping it seemed. The basic idea behind this is that everything is connected to everything else in some way, and that if I interacted with one thing it would cause repercussions in everything else.
Therefore, no matter what items I chose to buy, something, somewhere (hopefully at the party) would have a strong connection with these items. There was always the chance that something I chose would only have a weak connection with all other items, which would render it useless for the time being. But the next time I chose to shop in this manner, there was a chance that I would find something in my basket that would connect to the first item.
This manner of shopping is very chaotic and difficult to understand, making it necessary to overlay human choice patterns based on need and want so that there was some sort of sense to the mess. I still don't fully understand the technique myself, despite having pioneered it.

I grabbed a basket and began to shop.

I had to affect some sort of pattern in my path to ensure the shopping was balanced, so I turned to my immediate left and began following the wall, passing the bakery section first.
Some items are always useful and present themselves strongly in the complexity-theory influenced quantum holistic shopping method. Cake is one of them. You can never own too much cake, although I will admit that certain cakes have certain uses.
I grabbed a selection of cakes then inspected them - It should be noted that inspection of chosen items is not recommended in complexity-theory influenced quantum holistic shopping as it causes the waveform to collapse before the critical moment of payment when everything is resolved. In any case, I inspected the cakes out of pure interest, I would buy these cakes anyway, no matter the type.

First a chocolate mud cake (rich and full of flavour - good for parties with heavy drinking), then an apple tea cake (light, complex in taste and a variety of textures - great to quell the munchies adn keep yourself interested at the same time) and lastly a 24 pack of donuts (great just to sit there and snack on).
Laden with these, I continued on, past the savoury breads (I cannot explain why I passed these buy) and on to the meat section.

The meat section doesn't fit in with my shopping method, as you have far too long to decide on an item and the element of surprise is lost completely. I had to skip the meat section reluctantly, as I was craving a large steak at that moment. The meat section continued around to dairy.
Dairy is one of the best sections for complexity-theory influenced quantum holistic shopping as the cold air often keeps you moving, afraid to stand still for too long for fear of the cold turning your feet into strange chicken-skin like lumps of flesh and bone. This has always been a worry of mine.

I walked quickly along the dairy section, grabbing items at random, not even daring to look as I hurried along. I reached the end just in time and steered into the fruit and vegetables.
Apples.
Apples are good for you and are exempt, I thought as I grabbed a bag and tried to get some Granny Smiths into that impossible opening. After a few seconds of struggling with the bag I gave up and moved on, mentioning to the mother of two next to me that they obviously designed these bags to deter people from eating healthy foods.
A plot by the fast food companies, I'm sure. Vegetables and fruit are often quite depressing and besides, I had a fully laden garden at home to take care of my organic needs.

At this point, I had reached the end of the outer wall and it was time to move on to the aisles. This is where I come into my own, but I should apologise anyone who has met me during one of my shopping frenzies. Securing the basket in one arm, I began to jog down the right-hand side of the aisle, building up speed and siezing objects as I went.
I reached the opposite end of the aisle, skidded slightly on the cold floor and began the return journey on the other side of the aisle. I had to dodge around some school children, but otherwise, it was working perfectly. Only nine more aisles to go, assuming my basket continued to have enough room.

The next aisle went down without a hitch, I didn't even see another person, a rare thing in a supermarket. I stopped suddenly and sat down to analyse the word 'supermarket'. When human beings first latched on to the idea of bartering, they did so with leech-like vigour, determined to never to release this new idea.
They still haven't, as money unfortunately reminds us. Bartering most likely began when one farmer offered another farmer one of his cows for a bunch of chickens. The swap was made and the idea took hold.

Soon, whole groups of farmers would have been exchanging animals, then the products of animals, until it was so common that a place was set aside for this practice. This place grew until it was named the 'market'.
I can't even imagine where this word came from, maybe from the word Marquee as markets were probably under these, or from a detioration of 'marked' referring to how a market was a good land mark. I don't know.
Markets would have quickly grown to be a place where you could exchange almost everything, then began to seperate into specialised sections, finally disintegrating into stalls, then shops. The markets would then have begun to vanish, no longer permanent fixtures, but appearing only once a week or even once a month.

Then shops would have begun to congregate together until eventually they became groups of shops, arranged around one central area - shopping centres. The shopping centre would easily overtake the few remaining markets as the shopping place of choice. After a while someone must have remembered how good markets used to be and decided to reintroduce them.
But the old format was no good in this new age, it had to be bigger, better, stronger - it became the 'Super' Market, big brother of the old market that teased it and took all it's lunch money.

My train of thought was broken by one of the shop staff asking me to move from the middle of the aisle. I continued to shop. Incidents occured as always - I was assaulted by an elderly woman with an umbrella, forced into tasting some gelatinous sugar concoction, followed by a small woodland creature type child with a toy rabbit. The usual things that you have to deal with in order to own your food for the week.
Finally I reached my least favourite hurdle - the checkout.

I waited in line. I don't know why it is that people wait in lines. There is no sign that says you must line up, there is no logic that says you should, only manners. From what I've seen, these no longer exist. So what drives them to do it? Could the order of lining up relax the human mind? I was certainly getting very introspective.
Or maybe it derived from the theory that troops standing in lines deceived the enemy of their true numbers. If the people behind the registers thought there were less people to serve than there really were, maybe they would work faster to get them through, to give themselves time to slump on their registers.

I waited nervously. Last time I had faced a checkout, I had coming away more than fifty dollars lighter. I've always had an aversion to giving away money.
Then suddenly I was chosen, sullen eye contact from the girl behind the counter calling me forward. I've noticed that they rarely use their voices in these places now.
"How are you today, sir?" she asked, programmed to do so. I often don't reply, they seem not to notice, but today I had some time so I put one hand on the conveyor belt, ignoring the fact that my hand was escaping while I feigned utter sincerity.
"Today, I'm fine. Yesterday, I was also fine. I have been fine for almost a week now. But tomorrow I have an enormous party looming and I fear that I may have to become drunk. I'm sorry to trouble you with this, but it has been weighing on my mind."

She ignored me. My products went into the plastic bags set aside for this purpose and were placed at the end of the counter. Then she told me the price. They don't even ask for the money anymore, they just tell you the number. There is no please anymore it seems, RIP please.

My items were worth seventy-five dollars and thirty-five cents, according to the girl. I had seen the number on the display come up as '75.34'. Why do they bother to include prices of four cents when they knew I couldn't possibly pay that amount? Who can still pay four cents legally?
No one. The same people who are fooled by the idea that '1.99' is cheaper than '2.00'. Logic is no longer an option. I handed over the appropriate money, making sure not to give her a five-cent coin. I needed as many of those as I could get my hands on.

I turned to leave and was caught by surprise as she held up a blue cardboard square and sighed,
"Would you like a free CD?"
I froze, my arms reaching for my bags, and snapped my head around to look at the CD. It may have been some hyped-up-pop-diva-of-the-moment, throwaway drink coaster of a CD, but it was free...additionaly the girl asking was attractive in a bored and robotic way. I find it hard to resist beautiful people.
I nodded awkwardly and took the CD. What must she think of me? I was obviously not the sort of person to follow trends and the like, yet here I was accepting a teenybopper pop CD. It's not important anyway, I had to move on to make room for the next customer.

It was during the drive back that I realised how much thought usually occurs at supermarkets. The calming pace of walking up each aisle to find the one item they don't stock, the irritatingly mind numbing music, seeing other people in much the same situation - all must work together to make the human mind shut down to a meditative like state where nothing else matters. Shopping is an automated response to the environment.
Luckily I was driving now, away from this mental trap of a place that draws us back time after time, but I knew that I would return sometime...


It felt like I had been gone for hours when I arrived back at my house. The Artist, who I had left behind buried in cushions was awake and slumped in front of the television, clutching a guitar.
"I bring food for the mass!" I greeted him as I stumbled through the front door, spilling my purchases onto the couch. He grunted and quickly inspected what I had bought, holding up a small wooden elephant, a look of disgust on his face.
"Dude." was all he could say.

I took the elephant and placed it onto a shelf next to at least thirty others. Some things are unexplained when it comes to the complexity-theory influenced quantum holistic shopping method.

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