Late Night Shopping

There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either.  ~Robert Graves, 1895 – 1985 English poet.

I never shop in the supermarket at night.  It just doesn’t seem right to me.  Night time is a time for relaxing and taking it easy not shopping which is not my favorite pastime anyway.

On Wednesday I visit my son and his family, pick up my oldest grandson from school and make dinner for everybody.  Today my daughter-in-law told me of this great buy for porterhouse steak at the supermarket.  So on my way home I called in to buy some.  She had purchased some at the weekend and the family pronounced it Great!

Great sign

I thought if her husband and two growing sons applauded this choice of hers I shouldn’t argue.

Well a supermarket at 10pm is a very different place to a supermarket at 10 am.  You could have counted the number of people shopping on your hands and they were way out-numbered by the staff.  Shelves were  being filled by young students, mothers and older men and women who obviously had this time  available to earn some money.   And often people who are skilled in various areas cannot obtain work in their chosen line of work and must take whatever is offered.

I think back to the time when my children were young and how lucky I was that I didn’t have to go out to make extra money to support the family.

Here as most places in the world, jobs are scarce for older people, students and mothers needing to supplement the family income.  These people are paid at the minimum rate.  According to the Department of Labour the rates are:

  • the adult minimum wage applies to all employees aged 16 and over who are not new entrants or trainees
  • $13.00 per hour, which is, $104.00 for an 8-hour day or $520.00 for a 40-hour week.
  • Employees have to be paid at least the minimum hourly wage rate for any extra time worked over eight hours a day or 40 hours a week.

Again, as in most countries we are seeing a widening of the gap between the haves and the have-nots.  One wonders how a single mother with a couple of children at school reliant on the minimum wage manages to keep the family fed, housed and clothed.  There are of course, benefits available to supplement the minimum wage but what are the criteria for accessing these benefits?

As I age I am becoming more aware of the inequalities in our country and while I know that there are programs available to assist those in need, it seems a hard pill to swallow if one is prepared to work.

End of another serious blog today.  Tomorrow will be better.  I am off to the Hospice to serve lunch for the patients.


This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this:  most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time.  Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.  ~Douglas Adams
, 1952 – 2001 English writer and dramatist.
He is best known as the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy …


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17 responses to “Late Night Shopping

  1. Seems I’m not the only one banging away about work… or the lack of it! Espeially for over 50s! 😉

  2. You call attention to a real problem in this country. The plight of the “working poor” has been written about for some time now. As time goes on, the wealth disparity in this country keeps widening. And that is a bad prognosis for any country.

  3. Hmmmn, just wanting to add another point of view from someone who does fill shelves in a supermarket at night …
    I originally started for one of the reasons you mentioned, to earn extra money at a time which fitted in with my husband and young family. As the girls grew up I moved to work days. After four years working days with “a different breed of staff” I eventually went back to work with the night staff who welcomed me with the same friendly banter as before.
    My point ? Just to say that although some night workers are there because they have to be because of time limits or other reasons, you’d probably be suprised how many of us are there by choice.
    When I went back to nights, it was like putting on an old pair of comfy slippers again.

    • Thank you for the comment. It’s easy to make snap judgments without knowing reasons behind decisions people make about working. And it is good to get another side to the story.

  4. Good of you to point out these statistics. There are so many people who are struggling to make ends meet. Thanks for a serious but well done post.

  5. You and I have more in common than I originally thought, Judith. I too was able to stay at home when my children were young, thanks to my hardworking life partner. I have always been so grateful for that and look back with such fond memories of our time together as a family.

    And I also do not like to shop. In fact it is my least favorite activity, but thankfully my husband doesn’t mind it and does most of our grocery shopping for us!

    • Well Linda – more things in common. My late husband was the cook in our house so the grocery shopping was done together, with he making decisions about what to buy and me following behind with the trolley.
      Thanks for the comment.

  6. That’s a great post on ’72 Judith! On a lighter note, for my birthday today I did one on 1947..check it out if you get a chance!
    Chris

    • Thanks I read your post. You are a champion having had to contend with all those other happenings during that great year. Well done.

  7. Another reason people have to keep on working longer than ever is because of health care (or the lack of it). They need the insurance. I know it’s not this way in all countries, but it certainly is here in the States. Thoughtful blog, Judith.

  8. It is important social commentary. The Rev Jesse Jackson once called these people “the people that take the bus to work”. I don’t know what $13.50 is in US dollars but it must be as meager as it is here by your tone. At least a third of America lives like this. And we spend $11,000,000 PER DAY ( $30 billion to date and 6,000 dead) in Afghanistan most of which gets into the hands of crooked leaders and drug lords(70% world’s opium comes from there).

    • I think there is something totally immoral about spending all that money every day when your own citizens are desperately in need. But while we don’t spend nearly as much as you, some $26 million for one PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team ), this money could be well spent at home.
      The numbers of your dead tell a dreadful story – I wonder if as in the Vietnam war, those soldiers even knew where Afghanistan was before they shipped out.

  9. Thank you for your work with hospice.

  10. I thank the Hospice for allowing me to make a contribution. I am sure I get much more out of it than I give.
    Judith 🙂

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