How to diffuse awkward encounters in Sainsbury’s

They happen to us all, far more often than should be statistically possible. But JAMIE RYCROFT is here to save the day.

awkward Film fish jamie rycroft moment Sainsbury's tab guide tescoes zac effron

I saw a film last week called That Awkward Moment, in which Zac Efron and Michael B. Jordan discuss the cringe-worthy situations they have been in and then fight piranhas (I may have fallen asleep at some point while watching it). But throughout the whole film, I wanted to shout “NO! That’s not an awkward moment! It’s as if these rich, handsome actors don’t understand the mechanics of social dysfunction!”

As Cambridge students, you all know what a genuinely awkward moment is. You’re shopping for soup in Sainsbury’s, go to the end of the aisle and see the girl you went on the RAG Blind Date with but ended up so wasted that you vomited on your own shoes. Even worse, you can’t remember her name. And worse than that, she’s just noticed you.

(Disclaimer: the “you” of that previous paragraph is not a thinly-disguised version of me. I have never been on a RAG Blind Date, have never drunk so much that I vomited, and have never talked to someone long enough to learn their name.)

This is definitely not me.

This is also definitely not me

And of course, these unlooked for little coincidences somehow happen all the fucking time. 

Since it can get to the point where it’s tempting to just never leave college and starve to death/go bankrupt via buttery bills, I have created a three-step solution plan to this dilemma, to print out and keep with you at all times so you’ll know what to do when the situation arises, which it probably will do next time you go shopping:

Act like you’re ‘in the zone’

It’s easy at Cambridge to avoid social interaction, as long as you behave like you’re in the middle of some kind of study-related crisis. So if you don’t want to talk to someone in Sainsbury’s, just pretend you’re in this situation.

The best way to do this is to display something related to your course. If you do English, quickly take out your poetry collection and start studiously reading it. If you’re a NatSci, whip out your Bunsen burner (that’s not an innuendo). If you study Land Ec, find the nearest poor person and start oppressing them. And so on.

Mmm. Phallic

Run away

This one’s pretty straightforward. I’m assuming that by this point you’ve been in Sainsbury’s so often that you have memorised, Sherlock-style, all of the potential exits.

So in the nanosecond between her calling your name and the point where you have to reply, retreat into your “mind Sainsbury’s” (which is similar to the original but with more camera effects and bastardization of Conan Doyle’s stories), and work out the closest convenient point of egress. It may involve climbing up the shelves and then leaping across the top of the aisles to the staff exit. Or perhaps it means scurrying quickly along the floor, like a rabid turtle, past some befuddled people at the self-checkouts and then out into freedom.

Don’t be in Sainsbury’s

I’m completely serious here: there are plenty of other places you could be doing your food shopping than Sainsbury’s.

There is another way.

There is another way

You know that you go to a university full of inordinately rich people when they think that shopping at Sainsbury’s, a place our family would only ever get food at if Christmas was getting married and throwing a baby shower at our house, is considered “slumming it”.

If you want cheap food, where else could you go? How about Tesco? It’s really not that far away, only a ten-minute walk from most central colleges. And you can get a stick of French bread, small enough for one person and a handy weapon for beating away tourists, for 50p! In fact, Tesco loaves are both cheaper and have a longer sell-by date (perhaps because they’re made mostly of plastic and sorrow).

Technically, if you want to one-up that, you could go all the way to Asda. But that’s somewhere over in the wasteland beyond Parker’s Piece. I’m pretty sure only people from Oxford and [TIRED GIRTON JOKE] can survive out there.

Basically, if you want to avoid awkward moments when talking to people, shop at Tesco. Half the price, half the eye contact and double the fun.