Stark Naked in Tesco

petelovespurple via viual hunt

Image courtesy  of petelovespurple via Visual Hunt.

Back in the good old days, I suppose I’d have been about three and sitting in a little metal chair on the back of Mum’s sit-up-and-beg Raleigh, shopping was quite a different experience. We went to the corner shop, the greengrocer, or the butcher for most of our daily requirements. Daily, because domestic refrigeration was unheard of. Potatoes were weighed out and poured into the bottom of our shopping bag. Next came root vegetables, then greens, and on top of those, the most squashable items, like fruit and salad. Perched on top of those were eggs in a paper bag, or maybe sausages in waxed paper. And when we got home the shopping was unloaded into a vegetable rack, or meat safe to keep off the flies, and a larder.

Bread, milk, and coal were delivered by horse and cart. Milk daily, bread two or three times a week, and coal, you could have best bright or nutty slack, about once a month, and you had to run out into the street if you wanted bread or coal. Not that that was a hardship to me as I loved the horses. Bobby was the milkman’s horse and Tommy the baker’s. Tommy was apt to bite so his piece of carrot had to be offered carefully on the flat of my small hand.

What, you are asking by now, has this got to do with being stark naked in Tesco? It’s packaging, especially plastic packaging. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need the stuff: vegetables come in their own packaging: it’s called skin or leaves. Okay, so sugar and flour need to be in bags, paper is usually sufficient, and liquids need containing, glass or waxed cardboard works well, but there’s a heck of a lot of stuff that doesn’t need to be fully clothed in frilly crinolines and bustles, with flowery hats, wigs and suitcases. And surely it’s possible for manufacturers of packaging to come up with an alternative to plastic bags. According to another TV programme, on as I write, there is an environmental sea-change coming in packaging which has to be good news.

Packaging, or the way it’s presently abused, also deceives the purchaser and that really, really annoys me. Try going around any supermarket and looking at the packaged cooked meat, for example. Do what I do and shake the packets to see what’s hidden behind the large stick-on label. Answer: nothing. Absolutely sod all – air in fact. I shake them, turn them upside down so people can see what they’re not buying, and walk on. Oh, I’m sure these supermarkets are perfectly legal in their packaging but legal isn’t necessarily morally or ecologically defensible. The law, after all, does often have long furry ears and bray a lot.

I once bought an apricot and champagne gateau, really scrummy, that boasted it served six to eight. From the packet size, I believed it. Well, we’ve all been conned. It was literally half the size of the packaging. Thank goodness I hadn’t relied on it to feed eight or four of us would have gone without.

But there’s a much more serious issue here than conning the public over value for money. According to a TV report tonight, 50,000 people a year in the UK die from pollution. I dread to think what it is in China. Let’s suppose for a moment that the packaging of my apricot gateau was reduced to what is really necessary. You could get twice as many on a lorry. Expand that to every commodity that is over-packaged and that would probably halve the number of lorry journeys. The saving in unsustainable, exhaustible resources and in pollution would be astronomical.

Of course there’s a down side, profit and jobs at the very least, but look what’s at stake. There is, apparently an island the size of Wales that is made entirely of plastic. Worse, if you need worse, the plastic that degrades ends up as micro-plastics, tiny grains that are ingested by fish and birds and are already making their way up the food chain and onto our supermarket shelves. This stuff is toxic and we’re feeding it to our children. Add to this the fact that modern farming methods, basically not using organic manure, are causing soil infertility and have reduced the nutritional value of some vegetable foods by as much as fifty percent and we run a real risk of suffering malnutrition in the future.

Just take a look next time you’re in a supermarket and see if you think taking a step back in packaging wouldn’t be a good thing to try. I wonder what the check-out person would say if you put your spuds, carrots, and tomatoes naked on the conveyor belt? Maybe, we should try going stark naked in Tesco.

The Silence of the Stones A mystery set in West Wales – missing children, perjury, wrongful imprisonment, and revenge.

Touching the Wire  The women and children of Auschwitz – a fictional tale inspired by a terrible truth.

Where Hope Dares  Kidnapped to fulfil an ancient prophecy – an environmental disaster and a future of own own making?

FOR THEIR COUNTRY’S GOOD SERIES 1840s convict transportation to the Australias

On Different Shores

Beneath Strange Stars

On Common Ground

The Dandelion Clock – Lovers torn apart by the Great War – coming November 2018.

33 thoughts on “Stark Naked in Tesco

  1. I’m going to re-use this in my Saturday Sound-off category. That is to say I will ‘Press This’, add my own introduction and send my handful of followers over here. The site is developing nicely, Rebecca.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you, Frank. I’m pleased with how it’s coming along. Mostly due to your excellent tuition. I’ve just added a short story ‘Ooh, air Margrit’ you may find amusing. It’s embarrassingly true.


  3. It was a step forward when they began charging for bags, but not far enough, yet. We need a set of containers to capture the things that can’t just sit in your fabric / cloth bag. Paper means cutting down trees which we need for oxygen. Waxed containers means they can’t be recyled. Burlap/linen bags, one for veg one fruit etc could be a start, made from vegetable matter. I’d go naked in Tesco as long as I could capture the loose bits … *grins*

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I can add to that. ellenbest24, It’s utterly infuriating when they package things in 3s or 4s. Take Heinz baked beans, They, at least, came in recyclable cardboard, Now, they’re wrapped so tight in plastic cutting it off can actually bend the tin. The other thing, presumably to persuade people they’re getting more when they’re not, is huge boxes with the same contents as the boxes that fitted. Yes, they stopped giving out free plastic bags, so what do Tesco, and doubtless the rest of the supermarkets, do? Sell rolls of plastic bags to people who used to line kitchen bins with the others. Bins, I may add, that are made of washable plastic in the first place and don’t need lining.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ha! You nailed the buggers. But the money for the bags 100% goes to charity and they offer free recycling of them at all of their stores (Tesco) . They are then treated and turned into compostable recycled bags. Not enough but they seem to be trying a little more than some. Those beans are buggers to free…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Getting dog food tins out of packaging is hard too. You’d think, with some items, the manufacturers really don’t want us to get into them. And those bottles with plastic seal strips that break when you try to tear them off. I end up cutting round them with a knife. I do actually boycot certain brands because of their packaging.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Rebecca,
    Excellent post. Entrepreneurial solutions: Hand-crafted, designer reusable grocery bags, made from natural fibers, like cotton canvas. I make my own and have used upholstery remnants, too. Great gifts. Spending money for the crafty.

    We could do so much to reduce waste. Deposits on glass bottles, like they used to do with Coca-cola. Liquor and beer bottles could be sterilized and re-used. And on and on.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is technically possible to decompose plastic to create fuel. There is a plant doing that a few miles from where I live. Other uses include shredding and making into fibres which are woven into heavy duty fabrics such as is used in those 1 ton capacity ‘big bags’ builders use. I agree with you, however, most of the facilities for dealing with such waste are in developing nations where labour is cheap. And that involves an enormous transport cost.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Converting plastic into fuel would be a good outcome, given the fuel crisis we are facing. It does seem curious that it is cheaper to send plastic bottles to China to be converted into clothing than to do the same thing here. I think moves are being made to tackle some of these plastic problems, but, while profit is the major driving force, change will be slow. Sadly, it seems it will always be a case of too little, too late.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. This is very true and touches on another ‘high horse’ of mine. This is just one small instance of how criminals are ruining the world for law-abiding people. Their activities impinge on every aspect of our lives. Don’t get me started…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Halfwit is far from being a halfwit, but it’s no excuse for companies to enlarge the size of the containers and leave the contents the same, or smaller. That’s just a sales ploy.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Pedigree Dog Chews! They are expensive, so I buy them on special offers & him indoors groans because there’s very little storage space left in the under-stairs cupboard. They are worth every penny because they do what they claim, reduce tartar, which cheap ones say they do but don’t. There would be more space if the boxes has stayed the size the 4 packets of 7 fitted perfectly. They don’t. Grrrrr

        Liked by 2 people

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