Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm not that cheap....

Or maybe I am.....

They were having another of those weird, one-off - oh so distinctively Chinese - price promotions at my neighbourhood supermarket again when I last looked in a few days ago.  Two side-by-side stacks of seemingly identical packets of cocktail sausages (the American Hormel brand: not very wonderful, but way better than any of the locally made 'sausages' alongside them in the chiller) bore very different prices.  One of them was marked at around 25% or 30% cheaper.

There was no sign by the display explaining the reason for this offer.  I suspected that perhaps it was just a random piece of mistaken pricing - 'store error in your favour'.  Or perhaps a slightly smaller packet size.

But oh no - of course, they were clearing out expired stock.  Not close-to-expiry-date stock, but stock that had already expired.  I assume this is "illegal" in this country, as it is almost everywhere around the world these days.  But levels of public health supervision and enforcement here are still negligible; and public awareness of - or concern about - such issues is so low that major supermarket chains can still do this kind of thing as a matter of course, without even a trace of embarrassment, with almost no risk that any of their customers will complain... or even notice.

Being rather seriously cash-strapped at the moment, I sifted through the pile of discounted sausage packets checking the 'Sell By' dates.  I didn't think there'd be too much of a risk with a couple I found that were dated in the second half of December (I hope I'm not going to be proven disastrously misguided in that; standards of refrigeration are not very reliable here either!).  The ones that were a full month or two out of date, though, I left for the Chinese granny hovering expectantly behind me.

And I pity the poor schmuck who ended up with the packet dated 7th August.  No kidding - one of these packets was five-and-a-half months out of date.  Oh dear.


Cedra Wood said...

I feel like this should be a really elegant metaphor for the human condition, somehow...maybe an illustration of how, when we choose to draw our lines, there are always those with both greater and lesser standards than our own, how we deduce our places in society by evaluating where we fall on that spectrum...and how murky and nebulous is the process of making peace with our decision to indulge in something that is "wrong," but not "too wrong"...or the fact that the potentially death-laced brand of our choice is always preferable to the (theoretically) safe, but less desirable, alternative.

I don't know. I'll have to work on it.

Maybe I'm just desperate for the excuse to neologize "Hormeltaphor."

Froog said...

Ha! Run with that Cedra - sounds great.

Although Hormeltaphor sounds a bit too much like a character in a fantasy novel, doesn't it? Maybe that's just me. (And I don't even like fantasy novels!)