Su­per­mar­ket heads take vir­tual shop­ping to a new plat­form

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - MICHELLE ROWE

FOOD De­tec­tive is not al­lowed to go food shop­ping with Mr De­tec­tive due to her habit of lin­ger­ing in the con­fec­tionery aisle and press­ing her face up against the bags of chocolate snow­balls for hours on end.

Mr De­tec­tive is all for a quick scoot down the aisles — dart­ing around sta­tion­ary shop­pers whose spa­tial aware­ness when it comes to their trol­leys leaves a lot to be de­sired — be­fore zip­ping at break­neck speed to the check­out with his pur­chases. De­tec­tive is prone to trol­ley rage in such sit­u­a­tions (the sec­ond rea­son she is banned from Satur­day morn­ing vis­its to the su­per­mar­ket) but she may have found a way to get around such un­fair ex­clu­sion.

A ‘‘vir­tual store’’ is be­ing rolled out in South Korean train sta­tions by Tesco Home­plus in a bid to in­crease sales with­out open­ing more shops.

Bill­boards with pho­tos of all the usual mer­chan­dise found at the su­per­mar­ket, ar­ranged on vir­tual store shelves, have been posted on sta­tion plat­forms for com­muters to browse while they wait for their train.

In the event the 18.45 to Gwangju is run­ning late again, they can spend the time shop­ping by point­ing their smart­phone at a bar code and adding items to their vir­tual shop­ping cart: no trol­leys, no end­less check­out queues, no pim­ply, part-time staff who wouldn’t know their parmi­gianoreg­giano from their party pies.

Even bet­ter, by the time these shop­pers ar­rive home, their goods will have been de­liv­ered.

De­tec­tive thinks it’s a great idea, and hopes that if the vir­tual store ever makes it to Aus­tralian rail­way sta­tions, the con­cept might be ex­panded to in­clude bill­boards fea­tur­ing pic­tures of trains that, once or­dered, are ac­tu­ally de­liv­ered to the plat­form on time.

DE­TEC­TIVE was so im­pressed when Pen­guin Books cre­ated a line of mugs sport­ing vintage book ti­tles that she carted a full set back in her suit­case fol­low­ing a hol­i­day in Lon­don (only for them to be­come avail­able in Aus­tralia soon af­ter and spoil­ing all the fun). An­other ex­cel­lent ini­tia­tive by the in­ter­na­tional pub­lish­ing house is its newly re­leased Great Food Se­ries, a col­lec­tion of bite-sized books with a food fo­cus. Writers in­clud­ing Sa­muel Pepys, JeanAn­thelme Bril­lat-Savarin, Is­abella Bee­ton and M.F.K. Fisher are in­cluded in this se­ries of 20 ti­tles re­flect­ing on food from across the world over 400 years.

De­tec­tive could while away many hours read­ing El­iza Ac­ton, who was telling the mod­ern Bri­tish woman how to man­age her house­hold well be­fore Mrs Bee­ton fronted up in her neatly pressed pinny, or Bril­lat-Savarin ex­pound­ing on the erotic prop­er­ties of truf­fles, or Ital­ian Pel­le­grino Ar­tusi dis­cussing un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dents in­volv­ing mine­strone in Livorno or the un­usual his­tory of ice cream. The beau­ti­fully pre­sented pa­per­backs are $9.95 each and De­tec­tive reck­ons turn­ing up with one as a gift for the host­ess at that next din­ner party will beat a bunch of ser­vice-sta­tion flow­ers hands down. More: pen­guin.com.au.

DE­TEC­TIVE’s re­cent men­tion of un­fas­tened hair dur­ing cook-

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