It’s never too late to learn something new, as 93-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, a newly minted Instagrammer, demonstrated once again on Wednesday when she dropped by a Sainsbury’s pop-up shop in the original central London site of the supermarket chain’s first shop to celebrate its 150th anniversary. Back in the 1800s, only three products were available for purchase: milk, butter, and eggs. Of course, that’s no longer the case; according to the Daily Mail, the Queen was “struck by changing tastes when she was shown the contents of a modern day shopping basket.”
As it turned out, that was just the first of several shocks in store; the Queen was astonished to discover the manner in which each of those products could be purchased—that is, without the help of cashiers. The concept of self-checkout stations was so foreign to her, in fact, that she couldn’t help but wonder if they weren’t just de facto stations for shoplifting. “And you can’t trick it? You can’t cheat it then?” she asked the regional manager who showed her how to use one properly, explaining that shoppers enjoy the system because it speeds along the checkout process. The Queen, apparently, can relate: “I’m sure they do. Everybody wants to hurry,” she responded.
The concept of shoppers being able to pay for their groceries through an app seems to have left the Queen equally impressed: “That’s an interesting tool,” she added.
This was not, in fact, the Queen’s first encounter with the self-checkout process; photos of her 2016 trip to another grocery store, a Waitrose supermarket in Poundbury, prove as much. To be fair, there was no shortage of distractions that day—particularly for someone who doesn’t spend much time food shopping. The Queen also made use of her time there by, for example, roaming the “specialty” aisle.
Even at that point, though, the Queen had become something of a grocery store veteran; she also dropped by a Waitrose in Windsor in 2008. In fact, she’s even taken her grocery store tour international, making time to prowl the frozen meat section of a Giant in Queenstown, Maryland, with Prince Philip on their royal visit to the United States in 1957—a time when shoplifting really was the only form of self-checkout.
An Appreciation of Queen Elizabeth II’s 93 Years of Loving Corgis
Queen Elizabeth II with two corgis at her home at 145 Piccadilly, London, 1936.
Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret at the windows of Y Bwthyn Bach, aka the Welsh House, a miniature house presented to them by the people of Wales, built in the grounds of the Royal Lodge, Windsor, 1936
Queen Elizabeth II with her dogs in her study, 1972.
Queen Elizabeth II with the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, and one of the family’s corgis at a railway station, circa 1935.
Queen Elizabeth II arrives at King’s Cross railway station in London with her corgis after holidays in Balmoral Castle in Scotland and before welcoming the astronauts of Apollo 11 who walked on the moon to Buckingham Palace, 1969.
Queen Elizabeth II sitting on a garden seat with two corgis at her home on 145 Piccadilly, London, 1936.
Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth II with gardening equipment and a pet corgi on a terrace of the Royal Lodge, Windsor, 1940.
Queen Elizabeth ll arriving to the Aberdeen Airport with her corgis to start her holidays in Balmoral, Scotland, 1974.
Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret sitting on the grass in the grounds of the Royal Lodge, Windsor, stroking a corgi, 1936.
Queen Elizabeth II with her corgi Sue at Windsor Castle, 1944.
Queen Elizabeth II walking the Cross Country course with some of her corgis during the second day of the Windsor Horse Trials, 1980.
Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret studying whilst a corgi sleeps at their feet in a drawing room at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, 1940.
Queen Elizabeth II with her dogs at a window of Y Bwthyn Bach, aka the Welsh House, a miniature house presented to her and Princess Margaret by the people of Wales, built in the grounds of the Royal Lodge, Windsor, 1936.
Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret in a carriage in the grounds of the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park, 1940.
Queen Elizabeth II relaxes at Sandringham with her corgis, 1980.
Queen Elizabeth II with two corgis and Princess Anne on the runway of an airport in London, 1969.
Queen Elizabeth II carrying one of her dogs at Windsor Great Park, England, 1990.
Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral Castle in Scotland with one of her corgis, 1952.
Queen Elizabeth II traveling in the back of a car with one of her corgis, circa 1980.
Queen Elizabeth II hugging Dookie, her first-ever corgi, 1936.