Is it just me or has the price of grocery shopping become more grossly offensive than ever?
I've been saving for weeks now, just put a deposit down on an avocado and I'm left wondering if/when "part pay" will be introduced for supermarket consumers.
No surprises then that the much shallower and far smaller trolleys are now the ones that appear to be in the greatest demand?
While many will say that less is more, I can't help but think that the masterful marketers and their mouthpieces are enjoying a huge laugh at the shoppers' expense as they rebrand, repackage, downsize and increase profits.
I'm no bean counter but I swear to God, the baked beans of old were more bean than sauce and the cans were definitely bigger.
The gingernut was thicker (no reference to its intelligence is implied), once capable of soaking up an eighth of a cuppa upon dunking, you now need twice as many to achieve the same result, and chicken drumsticks were large enough to be utilised masterfully by Phil Collins or John Bonham ... these days you could barely swat a fly with them.
Then to add insult to injury, you're charged obscene prices for the hefty, inedible bone - on any cut of meat.
The family dog stands to benefit more from the per kilo price.
Does a saveloy or cheerio qualify as "red meat"? Is white bread as racist as brown? Is chilled food really more relaxed than frozen? Why are there still no bull bars on a trolley and does a pot noodle really contain "pot"?
We may never know, as we wander, zombie-like, around the aisles, reading labels, counting pennies, once proud protein eaters forced to become "shameful, secret shoppers" as they sniff salamis and sausages, manhandle the mince, finger the fish, and poke the pork, lost in the dream of what could be - if they had the money.
Desperate Dairy lovers must resort to fondling the feta, caressing the Camembert and mauling the mozzarella. Many forming a mental plot to abduct a pound of butter.
While those who prefer fresh produce feel compelled to grope garlic and grapes, massage melons and mushrooms and take selfies with a sexy savoy, others wishing they could steal a kiss with a kumara, tease a vine-ripened tomato or become penpals with a parsnip or pineapple.
I never thought I would live to see the day when the term "window shopping" would become applicable to the everyday ingredients more commonly known as food.
We have no right to bitch about growing health costs and rapidly rising obesity levels when the only affordable foods, to low-income people, are the unhealthy white carbs like bread, pasta, noodles, fizz and cheap pastry laden pies and dough-heavy, heat and eat pizzas.
Or baked beans, drowning in sickly, sweet sauce, cheap potato chips and "budget brand" sugar filled sweet treats.
No one, in this day and age, should be forced to drool over a healthy, balanced diet because the price is so unhealthy.
So who is to blame, really?
The manufactures, the distributor, the supermarket or all of the above ... maybe even us?
Yes, us. We pay more and get less, however, we choose the self-service checkout. In some supermarkets, the only thing we don't do is stack the bloody shelves.
We shop, we act as checkout operators, we pack our own crap and we're paying more for the privilege, even though we are contributing to a huge reduction in labour.
They profit - from what they promote, to gullible us, as a convenient time saver.
What next ... will be trimming our own meat, filleting our fish or par-baking our own bread ... all perfectly presented in a package that promotes being part of the process?
And if you think I'm pulling your leg, whoever thought pulled pork would become "a thing" that justified an increased price tag? Or that a "healthier", more tasteless chicken tit would cost more than one with juicy, crispy skin?
Then they have the nerve to question why shoplifting is on the rise.
Hmmm ... shall I call Einstein, Sherlock Holmes or the police - for daylight robbery?
Feedback, of the avocado kind is welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org