We all love a good horror story about the queue at the shop, how long it took to find parking, the man who kept clipping at your heels with his trolley.

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For most of us, the ordeal of the weekly shop can be over pretty quickly, with a single trip to a single supermarket, but not everyone has always been so lucky. Here are just some of the ways it could be oh so much worse...

1. Supermarkets didn't exist

While the Americans had been perfecting the "Pile it high. Sell it low" mantra since the 1920s Britain's first supermarket didn't open until 1951. That's right, folks. For many in 1939 there were no convenient stops at Tesco to grab some bits for supper, instead shopping involved stopping at a number of different stores, bakers for bread, fishmongers for fish, butchers for meat, grocers for biscuits… And if you went at busy times you would likely need to queue at every stop.

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2. The employees were on commission

Unlike today's workers, many small stores employed their workers purely on a commission basis, meaning that selling you goods was the only way they made any money and kept their jobs. Many people were hit hard by the Great Depression and had families to feed, meaning that some shop assistants would desperately try to sell you as much as possible.

3. You had to do it EVERY DAY

Very few homes had refrigerators in 1939. Instead they relied on cool rooms for storing food, but keeping produce fresh was a seemingly impossible task. This meant that many people wanting fresh produce had to face the shops (and endless queues) every day.

4. You had to choose where you shopped

When rationing was introduced you couldn't just drop into any shop you were passing. Instead, everyone had to register at their local shop to ensure that adequate supplies were always available. This made shopping incredibly difficult for people who worked long hours some distance from the shops.

Sussex Agricultural Express, 11 July 1941 © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

5. Impossible contracts

The introduction of hire payments schemes in the early 20th Century was a revelation for many, but unfortunately not everything was as it seemed. The idea was that, as today, goods were sold to customers on the agreement that they would pay back instalments at an elevated price. However, few shops gave customers any paperwork and many weren't made aware of the details of their contract. As a result many people had their goods repossessed, often within hours of missing a single payment, with no remuneration regardless of how many previous payments they had made.

6. You had to plan in advance

Another blow to the impulse buyers came in the form of coupons. At the start of the week every family member would receive coupons to be exchanged for food, which then had to last for the rest of the week. This meant that every meal had to be carefully planned in advance to make sure the food lasted.

7. The local shop might just disappear

The reality for many people was that one day they'd go to collect their rations at their local shop and it just wasn't there anymore. Falling bombs reduced many a shop to no more than dust and rubble, so that some people had to trek miles out of their way to find food.

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Discover more fantastic stories from the eve of war on our dedicated 1939 Register blog section.