I find myself in awe this morning of Gareth Wild’s brain. Who is Gareth Wild? According to his Twitter bio, he’s a film producer in the London area, but according to a Twitter thread that has gone viral since he first posted it yesterday, he’s also a methodological genius who let an idle curiosity back in 2015 guide him on what became a six-year-long project that concluded just this week. I shall explain.
Do you ever have those little thoughts pop into your head like, “I wonder exactly how many times I’ve watched my favorite movie” or “I wish I could see everything I’ve ever eaten in my life, laid out in front of me on a buffet.” I used to wonder if I was the only one who pondered these unsolvable mundanities, but now I know that Gareth Wild does, too.
In the thread, Wild explains that he always does his shopping at the same Sainsbury’s grocery store. “After quite a few years of going each week I started thinking about how many of the different spots I’d parked in and how long it would take to park in them all,” reads one tweet. “My life is one long roller coaster.”
So, he set to work mapping out each parking space and assigning them into various zones, a task he accomplished by creating a vector image from a satellite image of the grocery store, rather than “walking around the car park counting each space and exposing myself as a lunatic.” The image showed 211 spaces that Wild had to “conquer” as part of his project. (He left out motorcycle spaces and disabled priority spaces, because neither of those designations apply to him.)
In addition to the parking lot map, Wild created a spreadsheet to track which spaces he had parked in, beautifully color-coded by zone and space number. Once it was completed, an image of a triumphant Rocky Balboa raising his fist to the sky was added to the sheet as well.
With Wild estimating approximately 60 trips to Sainsbury’s in a year—one big shopping trip per week, plus running back for odds and ends occasionally—the project would have actually been completed much sooner, had it not been for the pandemic, which messed around with his shopping cadence. But now that it’s complete, Wild is chock-full of solid parking advice for anyone planning their own trip to the Bromley Sainsbury’s. And we’re chock-full of other projects we’d love for him to tackle with this dogged methodology. Please, sir, can you tell me which of my area grocery stores consistently stocks the least bruised bananas?