I’d offer you a biscuit, but I don’t have any.
I have crumbs. This is how biscuits come now.
When I was a lad you went to a grocer’s shop for biscuits and they were lined up in big tins. Tins full of loose biscuits: digestives custard creams, tea biscuits, shortbreads. A lot got broken of course and you could buy the broken ones cheaper. I don’t remember they ever had crumbs, and if they did they certainly didn’t sell them. They probably swept them up and fed them to the chickens.
But we don’t have grocers’ shops any more. We have supermarkets. We don’t have careful grocers in off-white aprons with a stub of pencil behind their ear for adding up the bill, and who value their customers.
We have supermarkets. We have supermarkets who employ shelf-fillers who have spots and ipods plugged into their brains, and who have no idea how a biscuit is supposed to be handled.
I think they jump on them; or juggle with them. Badly.
I bought three packets of digestives this week (my favourites). They were crumbs from either end right through to the middle, where there were two biscuits which were only in halves. I ate them gratefully with my tea.
But what I do with the crumbs? I could reconstitute them with water, but why should I!
I can’t feed any more to the local pigeons, which eat so many digestive crumbs they resemble dodos. Not just my crumbs of course. This is a universal problem. The day is coming when there will be lynch mobs storming the supermarket aisles looking for spotty shelf-fillers, who will be bludgeoned to death with triple-wrapped Kingstons and their ipods trampled intoâ€¦ well, crumbs.
What’s going on? Why can’t we have a reasonable level of consideration from people who want to sell us stuff?
Because we’re mugs, that’s why.
We get what we deserve, and we deserve to be treated like whimps because we are. We skulk home with our packet of crumbs and lift them off our plates with a wet finger.
Well â€“ it’s going to change!
I, for one, am going to war! I shall open my packet of crumbs immediately I have bought them Ñ at the supermarket checkout.
“Oh dear,” I shall say, “these appear top be damaged. Please replace them.”
And they will; and I shall check the replacement, which will also be damaged, and they’ll have to replace them, tooâ€¦ until their entire stock of digestive biscuits is lying like a third-world wheat stockpile in the exits and no one can get in or out.
If we all did this things would change. My family tell me: yes, you’ll end up in a home for peculiar people.
Of course, there will be collateral damage. I am prepared to sacrifice myself to the greater good. One day they’ll erect a monument to me in Flinders Mall. A new word will enter the English lexicon: if a thing is “Pearced” it will be commonly understood to have been made whole again.
And when, one day in the not very distant future, when I am incarcerated in a place for the elderly and infirm, at least there may be a chance of getting my tea with biscuits that are fit to be dunked!