In 2003 Michael Jackson was gifted an experience which seems incredibly pedestrian to us – but for him, it was once-in-a-lifetime.

“I said in one of my interviews that it was my dream to go into a supermarket, and just shop, like everybody else, and put things in a basket,” the musician says in the intro to this 2009 YouTube upload. “I want to see the real world, but it’s really difficult.”

It seems that a friend of the popstar’s, who owned a mall, realised he could make that fantasy a reality. For one day he closed off his building to the public, allowing MJ to experience the mundane-for-some joy of grocery shopping unhounded by admirers. He even had family and friends of Jackson’s pretend to be staff and other customers, using the crackling intercom over the muzak or doing some shopping themselves, so that the effect was closer to reality (and less like an abandoned urban hell).

Watch the heartwarming, and frankly a little melancholy, footage below.