Queen Elizabeth II has made another visit to a grocery store. No, even better—Queen Elizabeth II went to a pop-up “experience” in honor of British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s 150th anniversary, designed to evoke the original store, but with self-checkout machines dropped in from the future. It’s a real mystery how much sense any of this made to a 93-year-old woman whose primarily frame of reference is palaces. Did she pause to wonder whether Harry and Meghan would post an artistic shot of the simulacrum old-fashioned meat counter on their Instagram account? It’s definitely a sign that we have reached experiental corporate pop-up full saturation, however.
The pop-up, located in Covent Garden, includes both a replica of the original market from 1869 and “performances taking you through the shopping experience right up to the present day, as well as plenty of interesting finds from the Sainsbury’s archive,” according to Time Out London’s description. The Queen had some opinions, according to Town and Country’s coverage:
Lynn Bennett, who works for the company in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, showed the Queen a basket of popular shopping items from today alongside one from the 1950s.
“How tastes have changed,” the Queen responded, according to Bennett. Included in the 1950s produce was Bloater Paste, a sandwich spread made from herrings. “When I presented the Bloater Paste it sounded like she said ‘That sounds disgusting!’” Bennett said.
This is not, in fact, Elizabeth’s first visit to a grocery store.
For instance, iI In 2016, she was led around a Waitrose located in her son’s pet project, the planned community of Poundbury, where she gazed upon the cheeses and blessed the entire place with her presence, in a great demonstration of the absolute weirdness of the institution of monarchy. On her 1957 trip to America, she specifically requested to see a supermarket, leading to an impromptu stop at a Maryland example, where she made queenly small talk with absolutely flummoxed Americans while wearing a fur coat. “She is thought to slip out on occasion to shop locally in Ballater in Scotland when she is on her summer break,” added Simon Perry at People.
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How many Instagram-baiting experiental corporate pop-ups she’s seen is another question entirely.
The highlight of this visit was the demonstration of the self-checkout machines along with newfangled online scanning technology available through apps downloaded by customers.
“And you can’t trick it? You can’t cheat then?” she asked the regional manager, a slight glint in her eye. Why, Lizzy, you thinking of indulging in a little light shoplifting?