Mini Supers

by Alex on Apr.12, 2009, under Blog

When I was little, everything was mega. Mega good, mega skill (spelled with two ls as ‘they’ said that skil with one l was an American bum disease, so one had to stipulate), mega lush, mega ace, even mega tiny. The fact that mega tiny was an oxymoron didn’t bother us. One, as we were four and so had no idea what an oxymoron was, and two, mega in our vernacular simply meant ‘very’.


Mini super though? What is that all about?

Back in the days when size didn’t matter there were shops, and markets. The likes of Mr J Sainsbury come up with a large shop-based money-making idea (do you really think I can be arsed to research who actually invented it?) and thus the supermarket is born. The French invent the Hypermarket (my only evidence for that being the enormous Carrefour in Bristol that I used to go to with my dad – it was absolutely massive, mega massive in fact) and mini markets start to appear when the first grocery shop not to be positioned on a the corner of a street was opened. Shocked at the avant-guard placement of this food and general household supplies purveying establishment and soon realising that the phrase ‘corner shop’ simply could not be used to describe it, the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) calls an extraordinary general meeting and after 48 hours of intense discussion the expression ‘mini market’ is agreed upon.

So, mini markets are small and supermarkets are big. Is there any need for the double-prefixed mini supermarket naming trend rife in Central America? Shirley the mini cancels out the super and you end up with market, as has been the tradition for millenia, since before the days of Messrs. Sainsbury, Carrefour and Patel (the inventor of the mini market), before any prefixing was deemed necessary. I guess the issue is that having abbreviated supermercado to super, Central Americans have scuppered themselves in that canceling out the super with the mini would leave nothing and then one would have no indication as to what the establishment was, which would be distinctly sub-optimal.

So I guess that, irrespective of the oxymoronic epithet, mini supers are here to stay. Who knows what next? Maybe if a market emerges for really really small shops, and at the same time the behemothian Carrefour-type warehouse-stores make their way to Central America, we’ll see the emergence of micro hypers, I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

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