A chef who approaches people in supermarkets to find out what’s in their trolleys has discovered unexpectedly heartwarming stories in the process.
Margie Nomura, from London, has met a man who was whizzing to pick up urgent supplies for his girlfriend who had just gone into labour, and Brian, 79, who bought her to tears when he revealed he was buying his late wife’s favourite lavender tealights.
The chef, who also host the hit ‘Desert Island Dishes podcast’ has racked up more than 26,000 followers on Instagram with her supermarket snaps and tales and counts stars such as Davina McCall and Joe Wicks as fans.
She told Femail: ‘I’ve had incredible chats with complete strangers in the middle of the frozen food aisle, hugged a stranger as we both cried when he told me about the loss of his wife, and rushed around the supermarket with an expectant dad as he was on his way to the delivery room.
Margie Nomura, from London approaches strangers in the supermarket to find out what’s in their baskets. Brian, 79, told Margie he recently lost his wife, but still buys her favourite lavender tealights to put on every night
Brian told Margie he makes a ‘mean lamb stew’ that his five grandchildren and two great grandchildren love. Pictured right, his shopping, containing the ingredients for the lamb stew and the lavender tealights his late wife loved
One of the people she met was 79-year-old Brian, who recently lost his wife but still stocks up on her lavender tealights to put on every night as they were her favourite.
He told Margie he makes a ‘mean lamb stew’ that his five grandchildren and two great grandchildren love.
She also met Tayshan, who was darting around Tesco as quickly as possible as his girlfriend had just gone into labour.
Tayshan picked up snacks, coconut water and flowers – and told Margie he was excited about becoming a dad again, and his three-year-old was excited to become a babysitter.
Margie Nomura, from London, asks fellow food shoppers what they’re buying, and has discovered some heart-warming stories in the process
Tayshan, was darting around Tesco as quickly as possible, picking up snacks and coconut water, as his girlfriend had just gone into labour with their second child
Tayshan picked up snacks, coconut water and flowers – and told Margie he was excited about becoming a dad for the second time
Another shopper, Laura, told Margie she will only ever buy something if it has a reduced price yellow sticker on it, saying this is her ‘way of life now’.
The civil servant said she’s been doing it for about five years, and has become a ‘much better cook because she’s used ingredients and eaten food she wouldn’t have picked up otherwise’.
Laura added that she’s ‘passionate about the alarming amount of food waste that happens in this country’ and that she now only spends £40 a month on food shopping, which Margie described as ‘pretty incredible’.
Margie also met Christine, an 83-year-old buying the ingredients to make an egg custard for breakfast, because ‘life’s too short not to!
Christine said she plans to add ‘a little nutmeg’ to the top of her baked egg custard
John won the hearts of Margie’s Instagram followers when he told her he was buying chocolate and wine for his girlfriend.
In the hope of cheering her up, he bought her two bars of Lindt and a bottle of wine, as well as ramen, which is her favourite.
One shopper told Margie she was experiencing ‘culture shock’ as it was the first time in a British supermarket.
Monica, an American just arrived in the UK, questioned where the supersized item were, and found it odd that eggs weren’t kept in the fridge.
She also asked Margie why Brits call pulp in orange juice ‘juicy bits’?!’.
John won the hearts of Margie’s Instagram followers when he told her he was buying chocolate and wine for his stressed out girlfriend
In the hope to cheer his girlfriend up, Margie caught John buying wo bars of Lindt and a bottle of wine, as well as ramen, which is her favourite
One fan favourite was Christine, an 83-year-old planning to make an egg custard, which she told Margie she will eat for breakfast, because ‘life’s too short not to’.
An Instagram user commenting on Christine’s photo said: ‘I wish there were more 83-and-a-half-year-olds on Instagram.’
Another wrote: ‘Love this! Life’s too short not to!’
‘I think one of the biggest surprises for me has been just how nice everyone has been – I’ve only had one person say no to being featured,’ Margie said.
‘The best thing about food is that it’s never just about the food. Talking about food means sharing stories and events that happen in your life, and that’s what makes it far more revealing than you might at first think.
Laura, told Margie she will only ever buy something if it has a reduced price yellow sticker on it, saying this is her ‘way of life now’
Laura’s shopping basket contains only reduced items meaning she only spends £40 on food a month
‘Peeking into other people’s trolleys at the supermarket is something we all – at least I hope it’s not just me – do when we are at the shops, so I like the idea of turning it into a game’ she continued.
‘You have a look at the shopping, see what they are buying and then swipe across to see who the trolley belongs to and to read a little about them’.
Speaking of her success, which has even sprouted copycat accounts, she said: ‘We’re all just human, we all need to shop for our food – but usually we just do it on autopilot never taking notice of other shopper and what might be going on in their life.
Monica, an American just arrived in the UK, said she experienced a ‘culture shock’ in UK supermarkets
Monica questioned where the supersized item were, and found it odd that eggs weren’t kept in the fridge
‘It’s almost like a Sliding Doors type scenario – so many different lives and timelines passing by each other without ever realising and it’s been really fun to document some of those stories.’
And her fans agree, commenting on the ‘Supermarker Snoop’ trend, one said: ‘ Love this, was just asking my boyfriend last night if he looked at people’s trolleys to try and work out their life and he thought I was odd!’
Another wrote: ‘I do this ALL THE TIME!! Love seeing what people buy, sometimes I strike up a conversation with someone and ask if that brand of whatever is good etc – I’ve received the best ever tips in line at the supermarket!’