Possibly the Most Important Instructable EVER! Making a Shopping List

Introduction: Possibly the Most Important Instructable EVER! Making a Shopping List

About: Undergoing treatment for old bicycle addiction. I am doing very well and have cut down to ten.

Why do I need to read this?

You may be wondering why it is necessary to have an instructable on shopping lists. If you think about it carefully you should understand that for every project you intend to make, you need to shop for something to allow you to actually make it. Do all the required equipment materials just suddenly appear on your kitchen table as if by magical means? I think not! Clearly if you want to buy Spaghetti, your list will need to read “Spaghetti” but that is a gross oversimplification of the science of shopping list assemblage and is just for illustrative purposes so I can later demonstrate the absolute folly of "spagettism" in relation the the very exact science which is shopping list creation and management.

Shopping Lists - a much neglected science

It is quite amazing that we spend so much of our lives shopping, and yet we are so poorly prepared. If we took the same attitude when swimming we would all quickly suffer hydrocution with disastrous consequences for the worldwide economy and marine life. It will help the readers to follow my simple tips when writing shopping lists. I am an authority on shopping lists as I dedicated seven happy years to the research and development of the approved shopping list method. Ignore this at your peril – imagine popping out to go on an ill prepared shopping trip. At best you may return with the wrong item – perhaps a slightly faulty series 2 RBMK nuclear reactor; when what you really wanted was dried spaghetti, leaving your supper plans in tatters! At worst you may never return home again, doomed to shuffle though endless retail establishments for all eternity, while your entire family slowly succumb to dehydration, malnutrition and in their eventual starvation enduced delirium resort to eating doilies and possibly the curtains.

Factoid; There is no accepted international standard for shopping lists - there may be an ISO for the nomenclature of fruit and even root vegetables - but there is NOTHING AT ALL regarding shopping lists! Unbelievable!

Does this really apply to everyone?

It is worth mentioning that shopping lists do also apply to ne'er do wells, sociopaths, psychopaths, mass murderers and common criminals, after all stealing is really only shopping - but without paying - so they need to pay very close attention too. All to many world domination plans have been non events due to inadequate preparation of lists of required items. Imagine trying to plan an effective genocide with no instruments of mass murder? Farcical.

How do I make my list?

You mean how do you make your list; I already know I am after all an expert on the subject!

The ideal condition for writing your list is as follows;

Select a suitable room at a comfortable temperature (19 to 24 degrees C) check the temperature in the room with a whirling wet and dry hydrometer. Write the readings down on Basildon bond paper, cross them out then throw the paper away. (You will need a sturdy waste paper basket) Best make sure that the room is not built on top of an active volcano. Wear loose fitting but comfortable clothing. Check the room for booby traps, flies and wild animals – it is surprising how many people are seriously injured before even starting their shopping list! Do not attempt writing a list if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, also never eat peanuts or steel ball bearings as you could choke. Toxic chemicals are best avoided as are ionising radiation sources.

If you can borrow a Geiger counter and a Canary if you know someone who;

a) has one and b) is willing to lend it to you, do so. As you did for the humidity readings Write them down on Basildon bond paper, cross them out then throw away. If the Canary asphyxiates give it mouth to beak resuscitation, and nurse it back to full health. You can them carry on with the search for a suitable room.

A supply of fresh wholesome air is also essential (Note – this does not necessarily apply to gilled fish or other similar aquatic life forms) a hermetically sealed room will soon suffocate a would-be shopping list writer, worse still if it is filled to the brim with hydrochloric acid! Avoid! Adequate lighting is very important. Without light one can fall possibly causing at least a sprain or graze or perhaps an unnecessarily excruciatingly painful death. If you do by some lucky chance survive with minor wounds it is still very hard to see what you are writing in stygian darkness. Always carry a torch with a spare set of batteries, a bulb and a first aid kit. The room should be decorated with a wipe clean finish in a plain colour that is easy on the eye (I personally recommend BS colour 12C33 in eggshell finish) the room should be in good decorative order without chipped cracked or flaking paint. A short wave radio is an excellent tool for communicating with the emergency services should there be a structural collapse following a storm, earthquake or tidal wave. A good stout table and chair should be supplied. Beech is a very suitable wood being close-grained and generally very serviceable, whilst its close graining minimises the risk of splinters during even prolonged heavy use.

An explanation of the approved “cut and shuffle” system.

This system was devised by the armed forces when shopping in the Andover area in the United Kingdom. The harsh conditions proved the ideal testing ground for what was to become the approved method for procuring “two or more items in succession on one occasion or tour of shopping duty via the cut and shuffle system”.


Using an HB pencil, (pencils are far more temperature stable than ink pens) pressing firmly write the items down in any order in a pre prepared grid of pencil squares measuring 2” by 1 ¼”. Then cut the squares out and affix them with a good quality glue to pre-cut plywood squares measuring 3” by 3” with well chamfered corners and edges, complete with one number ½” diameter hole in the top left hand corner (the function of which will become fully apparent later) Apply three flooding coats of good quality yacht varnish and allow to dry fully, rubbing down between each coat. Arrange the squares or “list element receiver” as us experts call them, in accordance with standard Monte Carlo simulation procedure (that’s random to you, casual list-less shopper!)and then (quite why I waste my time on lecturing you about the finer points of list making when all you want to do is go and “ buy” things willy-nilly is completely beyond me. For Goodness sake I was. I was employed for seven years at the institute of shopping list research and I damned-well know what I am talking about! I am sorry for that outburst it will not happen again.

I left an embittered man when the government of the day diverted our funding to the facility for the “Institute for the provision of universal European swearing and cuss words”. In my letter of resignation I inadvertently gave the raw material that will henceforth form expletives that can be used across the whole of the EU without translation to the local crudités!)

Returning, somewhat agitatedly (with a deep sigh) to the subject closest to my heart, that of writing shopping lists, string the list together using a good quality bath chain. Weld the ends together so the chain forms an endless loop.

Attach an approved emergency recovery beacon with a free-running pinger transmitting at an acoustic frequency of 37.5kHz to enable later location in the event of global catastrophe and / or a tsunami.

Enclose the list in a recovery approved waterproof and fireproof box (a black box flight recorder box is ideal) Don’t forget to attach a self inflating water activated buoyancy aid with a sufficient volume to lift the box, list pinger and all to the surface where it can be later safely retrieved.

Well Done

Congratulations, you now have a functional yet practical shopping list, which will float, in the event of a flood. And can be located in almost any natural disaster or other cataclysmic event. And you can tell your grateful family that spaghetti is back on the menu thanks to my assistance!

List of materials equipment and specialist you will need.

A plot of land

Planning permission

Building regulation approval

Connection to services (Water, Electricity, Gas and sewerage disposal)

An Architect

A Structural engineer

A Quantity surveyor

A Building contractor familiar with open book accounting

A Project manager

A Whirling wet and dry hygrometer

A Geiger counter (borrow – don’t buy) Check the batteries are included

A canary (in good health)

A waste paper basket (sturdy - mind!)

A torch with spare batteries and a spare bulb

A first aid kit

A sturdy table (Beech)

A sturdy chair (Beech or Maple)

A short wave radio

A sheet of WPB grade plywood (Far Eastern will do)

Paper (Basildon bond of course)




Yacht Varnish

2 x 2.5L tins of acrylic water based eggshell paint BS Colour reference 12C33 - but closest house colour match will do.

A brush

A roller

A roller tray

Brush cleaner

Bath chain

A heavy duty welding rig

Marine use approved transponder (see text for exact specification)

A black box flight recorder box (Throw the original contents away)

A Marine industries approved water actuated self inflating buoyancy aid

A healthy packed lunch

A life jacket

A parachute


Snow shoes


A Dressing gown


Cotton buds

A Swimming costume

A hand warmer

A pulse

A HB pencil

A pencil sharpener

A purse with some money in it (Sufficient quantities for your purchases)

(You can bring a sense of humour if you must but it is totally unnecessary when writing a shopping list)

A bag suitable for carrying spaghetti

Be the First to Share


    • Make It Bridge

      Make It Bridge
    • For the Home Contest

      For the Home Contest
    • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

      Game Design: Student Design Challenge