Richard Herring: I like yoghurt and I’m not desserting the issue
Friday 28 Mar 2014
I was in my Sainsbury’s Local the other day, picking up a few provisions.
Among a varied basket of items I placed nine yoghurts. I thought while I was there I may as well buy a few. That would keep me going for nine days of a yoghurt a day. Or five days of two yoghurts a day (except for one of the days when I would have only one yoghurt). Or 18 days of a yoghurt (on average) every other day.
There are several other permutations. I am not going through them all now! Because I want to leave you the fun of working them out for yourself.
Whatever the combination, I wasn’t going to have to worry about buying any more yoghurts for a minimum of five days. And only then in the unlikely event that I wanted two yoghurts a day. Which I very rarely do.
I don’t know how many yoghurts I eat on average. I don’t keep statistics on that. I have a life. But if I had to guess, I would say I ate two yoghurts every three days or 0.6 recurring yoghurts a day. In that case, I wouldn’t need to buy any more yoghurts for practically a fortnight.
When I got to the checkout, the assistant started scanning the items. Then she noticed the yoghurts and looked at me and said: ‘Someone likes yoghurts!’ I didn’t know what to say.
It’s true. I do quite like yoghurts but no more than the average lactose-tolerant person. She was clearly sarcastically implying that I liked yoghurts more than a normal person would. Or should. Like there was something kinky about my yoghurt interest.
In fact she was so amazed that a man could walk into a supermarket, of all places, and buy nine yoghurts all at once, she lifted the basket towards a work colleague and said: ‘Look at all the yoghurts.’ I felt humiliated.
I was being treated as if I was planning to get all nine yoghurts out of the bag the moment I was out of the shop and scoop them all into my greedy mouth, like I was some kind of yoghurt obsessed freak yoghurt-addict rather than, as was the case, a normal yoghurt consumer who merely wished to ensure a ready supply of yoghurts in his fridge in case he got a perfectly natural craving for a yoghurt (probably as a pudding or a mid-afternoon snack).
In any case, I don’t think it is her place, as a checkout girl, to pass comment on my groceries. So what if I did like yoghurt more than the average customer? That was my business.
What if I’d purchased nine boxes of condoms – would she have said: ‘Ooooh, someone likes sex?’ Or nine pornographic magazines – ‘Someone likes masturbating?’ How about nine packs of toilet rolls – ‘Blimey, someone likes s***ting’?
No, I would expect discretion. Just as I expect discretion about my (normal) yoghurt consumption. Anyway, it was only nine yoghurts – it’s not that many.
I might have been having a dinner party with eight guests and giving everyone a nice Müllerlight yoghurt for dessert. Then I’d only be having one yoghurt – hardly the actions of someone who deserves to have that yoghurt consumption lampooned.
Now every time I pop into that shop, all the staff will be looking at me, sniggering and whispering: ‘There he is, Mr Nine Yoghurts.’
Then if I buy nine yoghurts they’ll all laugh at me. If I don’t buy any yoghurts, they’ll assume I’m getting my stash from somewhere else. My life is ruined.