The Basics

Ruby prefers the simpler things in life…


One of the things I found most difficult about moving out was shopping for myself. At home, my parents buy fancy shit, like cashews, but despite all the money the government is giving me I don’t feel I can justify spending upwards of 4 pounds on exotic nut-stuffs. Spices and herbs also seem unnecessary. This is why the Sainsbury’s Basics range is perfect for me.

The Sainsbury’s Basics range possesses a refreshing honesty that you just don’t find in name-brand products. It’s careful to make absolutely no promises that it cannot keep, possibly to avoid lawsuits it undoubtedly could not afford. Think of all the lies advertising has told you: Lynx promised you women, BT promised you a loving family, and Cravendale promised you cats with opposable thumbs.

How much of that has actually happened? Excessive use of Lynx actually seems to repel women, BT has done nothing but tear my family apart because of faulty phone lines. As for cats, well I try to avoid cats (their eyes are too judgemental), so I’m not really sure what their present thumb situation is. Either way, this is exactly the kind of disappointment you won’t get from the Basics Range.

“No lookers, still gorgeous with roasts”, their unassuming parsnips tell you. They are acutely aware of their position and function in the world: to accompany some better food and be sliced to the point of being unrecognisable. They don’t aspire to anything higher than that. Basic biscuits are equally modest: “some jam, some chocolate, definitely Jaffa”. They meet the technical requirements for being a Jaffa cake, and that is all. The McVitie’s affiliated Jaffa cake website is alive with adjectives such as ‘irresistible’ and ‘scrummy’. Adjectives this powerful have no place on Basics biscuits.

The Custard Creams avoid making any claims relating to their actual qualifications as biscuits at all: “no fancy packaging”, they say, and they shall say no more. This does lead me to wonder whether they are actually custard creams at all, or just crafty, trans-fat filled imposters. Still, truer words were never spoken.

The Basics range dresses itself in plain white, adorned only with orange writing. Although their slogans may be occasionally worrying, they are carefully engineered to be impossible to disagree with. A bag of battered fish ‘portions’, for example, declares itself to contain “responsibly sourced Alaskan Pollock- still plenty of fish”. I hadn’t doubted that a bag of fish would contain fish until it got all defensive, but Basics wouldn’t lie to me.

“Cleans, no added promises”. I’m glad to hear you say so, Basic Washing Up Liquid: I know where I stand. The Fairy Liquid bottle’s slogan is “behind you all the way”, which raises some confusing questions about its level of involvement in my life. I mean, can I call Fairy expecting moral support during my next essay crisis? If I were to commit a crime, would Fairy be considered an accomplice because they tacitly endorsed me? This is left ambiguous.

Maybe the cold realism of the Basics range should be applied to everyday life. Kids often grow up expecting to be famous and rich. This disappointment could be avoided if we gave them all plain white t-shirts decorated only with painfully honest orange writing. Instead of shirts that say ‘Superstar’, or ‘Drama Queen’, girls could wear shirts that say ‘female, no added promises’. Rather than ‘Football Hero’ or ‘Superman’ shirts, boys would wear shirts saying ‘some limbs, some skin, definitely human’. In all honesty, ‘no fancy packaging’ would pretty accurately describe my fashion sense. And so, despite my taste for cashews, I will be sticking to the Basics.