Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The crazy dried fruit lady

This is apparently my new secret identity. OK, maybe not so secret as I’ve just told you.

As you may recall, oh best beloved, I had an issue with finding some raisins that were not glazed in the evil known as  palm oil. I searched high and low and complained loudly and bitterly to everyone I knew that they didn’t make raisins like they used to--that is just being dried fruit not coated in some unhealthy substance. Somehow talking about dried fruit makes me go all eccentric and start really oversharing my concerns about the state of the dried fruit economy. This happened again today in Sainsburys.

I went to buy some medjool dates. Not those little horrible runty ones that are all artificially shiny that sat on the shelf next to the ones I wanted. The good ones. The medjool ones. But alas and alack! I could not find them. I looked high and low. I walked around the entire produce section. I furrowed my brow and tutted under my breath. I steamrolled my trolley to other sections looking for them. They were gone. All the medjool dates. The organic ones and the taste the difference ones. They sell two kinds of medjool dates, but none were on the shelves. I didn’t care which ones I bought as they were the same price, but I did  not want those freaky, shiny little ones. So then I spotted a young man who were worked there and my inner identity reared its ugly head and I marched straight over to him. He looked about 16 and was probably working there after school. This is what occurred.

Me: Excuse me young man. I can see that you work in produce as you are wearing gloves because this section is inexplicably like Antarctica. (it was freezing over in produce)

Him: (looking a bit worried) Yes ma’am. Can I help?

Me: I am trying to locate the dates. They seemed to have moved house without telling me.

Him: The dates?

Me: Come here, young man and have a look. Do you see these dates here?

Him: I thought you were looking for dates.

  Me: yes but not these dates. When a person eats dates it is because they want a healthy snack. These dates on the shelf here are glazed in glucose syrup which causes them to be so artificially shiny.

Him: Why would you do that to dates?

Me: Precisely my point. But next door to these dates lived a superior date called the medjool. It was not glazed in sugar syrup or palm oil like the horrible raisins you sell on aisle 3.

Him: (frankly looking a bit terrified) Um…Ok.

Me: Now last year the dates all lived over on aisle 3 with the other dried fruit like raisins and then inexplicably they moved house and wound up in produce. They have been here ever since in this precise spot . They have, however, fluctuated in price. They were both less than £2 (the best value anywhere) and then the organic ones went up by 15p and so I always bought the taste the difference ones, but then the taste the difference ones followed suit and now they both cost £2.15. This is still a better deal than Waitrose where they cost upwards of £2.50.

Spiderman interrupted my retelling at this point and said :

SM: Please tell me you did not go on and on about the history of the dates at Sainsburys to this poor lad.

Me: I’m afraid I did. Once I got on a roll I just couldn’t stop myself.

SM: Oh great now you’ll be known as the crazy dried fruit lady. Every time you walk into the shop they’ll all be huddled in produce and pointing at you saying, “there’s that crazy dried fruit lady.” I won’t even be able to go shopping with you now as they’ll say, “there’s that considerably older looking guy who is with the crazy dried fruit lady.”

I continued my tale.

Him: Did you try looking on aisle 3?

Me: Yes I did, young man but there were none to be found. Only your hideous raisins glazed in the tears of orang-utans.

Him: (taking a step backwards) Um…would you like me to go the back and see if there are any there?

Me: Yes please, that would be most kind.

He went to the back storage room (no doubt to tell his mates there was a crazy lady going on about dried fruit out there) and returned to say we were shit out of luck. NOTE: not the actual expression he used, but that was what his tone implied.


Him: I’m so sorry, but there isn’t any back there and as there is no shelf label anymore I have to presume that we aren’t stocking them anymore. This sometimes happens with food that very few people buy.

This is when, I’m sorry to say, I went all Lady Bracknell from the Importance of Being Earnest and instead of shouting out in my comically indignant voice, “A handbag!” I shouted out in my comically indignant voice,

Me: Not stocking them? Why that’s ridiculous. Every time I come there are only a few left on the shelf! Someone besides my good self must be buying them, it stands to reason!

I quickly regained my composure and hopefully my dignity and said:

Me: of course it is not your fault. You were very kind and tried to help. Is there a manager I could speak to, to commend you for your services?

He led me to a manager, who did appear to be trying not to laugh. I tried very hard, but did not succeed, to just give him an outline of the tale, but found I wanted to tell the whole story of my indignation about the state of dried fruit today. I did say that the young man had been most helpful (if unsuccessful) and then turned to leave.

As this story played itself out to its inevitable conclusion, I could feel my growing older until suddenly I had become my grandmother.  I was struck with an overwhelming urge to tip the young man 20p, just as funny old ladies had tipped me a quarter when I worked at Baskin Robbins. This I felt was going a step too far and if I wanted to get out of the shop without cementing my status as a mad old bat I needed to quit whilst I was ahead.    

But I am still shit out of luck when it comes to medjool dates. Damn.


  1. I was under the impression that Quakers were peaceful folks. Bless your Heart.

  2. You handled that with grace and dignity. It is only your heightened sense of self that makes you feel as though you were behaving like a loon. :)