steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Shopping Mysteries of the Gloucester Road

Where my road joins the Gloucester Rd, there's a newsagent. Here's a Google's eye view of it. The shop has changed hands a couple of time since I've known it, and is now owned by a family that speak a subcontinental language I can't identify, but it's never been anything other than a standard newsagent, selling the standard range of papers, milk, bread, crisps, etc.

Why do I mention it? Because, through several revamps to the shop front, the fascia (is that the right word?) has always proudly displayed the legend "Genuine Irish Products" - along with a sign reading "Genuine Irish Food". Click on the link, and see for yourself. And every time I pass it, I murmur "WTF?"

Because, I mean, well, WTF?

I'm sure you can buy Genuine Irish Products from this shop - Kerrygold Butter and bottles of Guiness and so on - but you can buy the same products from any other food shop on the Gloucester Rd. Hell, get a £20 Ryanair flight from Bristol airport and within an hour you can buy them in Dublin. And why this emphasis on genuine Irish products, as if people were trying to pass off fake ones all the time? It's a mystery.

The one Irish product I'd really like to buy, because it's my absolute favourite - I speak of course of Kelkin's Original Muesli - is notable by its absence.

Could it be a kind of code, though? For example, further down the road you can see head shops advertising "Cream Supplies" - by which they mean that you can buy the canisters needed for cream chargers to whip cream. Except that no one uses them for that: the canisters contain laughing gas, and are exclusively used to get high, as far as I know - a tradition invented in Bristol over 200 years ago by Humphry Davy. Does "Genuine Irish Products" have some similar secondary meaning?

The Gloucester Rd does have real specialist food shops of many nations: Turkish, Vietnamese, Iranian, Italian, and of course Polish. However, I've yet to see a Spanish shop there or anywhere else in Bristol - which is strange, because with youth unemployment running at 55% in Spain there are plenty of Spaniards coming to live in the city, and (as I hear from my Spanish PhD student) they miss being able to buy good chorizo, paella rice, decent Rioja, and other such basic amenities. I'm sure English people would shop there too, having been to Spain for their holidays, far more than buy their food in the thriving Polish supermarkets. But no one has yet catered to this growing market. Why won't someone take this business opportunity?
Tags: bristol, real life
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