Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Egg on face

A brief sideline from question answering for a momentary Angriesque rant. Normal service will return shortly when I shall answer exactly what lies at the end of the rainbow, for I have been there.

Last night, whilst getting ready for bed, the news was on. A piece on the fraudulent sale of over 1,000,000 non free range eggs masked as free range egss per week. A picture flashed up on the screen. It was one of those grainy CCTV pictures usually used in connection with mass murderers or terrorists. The news reader droned on about how the police where seeking the identity of this man in connection with the egg fraud.

It stopped me in my tracks. One million fraudulent eggs sold per week and the best lead they have is a grainy picture of one man? Really? Our police forces can find and sieve through massive amounts of information on murdering fiends and find them in a snap, but the best they can do on the sale of over one million eggs per week is… one picture.

It does make me wonder exactly what happens at those massive supermarket depots. I have only one scenario in my mind, and my mind is pretty good at scenarios. Picture this, late at night, the rain lashing down. A beat up old 18 wheel lorry pulls up, and a shadowy man slips out to talk to the duty manager.

“Hiya mate, got a million free range eggs in the back. Have to shift them fast, you know how they go.”

“A million? How odd, I just got a request from 18 supermarkets for a fill of eggs tomorrow! They wouldn’t happen to be in our own brand free range egg boxes would they?”

“What do I look like to you? Some fraudulent egg seller? ‘Course mate, they’re packed and ready to go.”

“Well, I’ll buy them then. What sort of price are you looking for?”

“Hey, for you? Today only, 1p an egg.”

“1p? My oh my, I can’t even buy British grown factory farmed eggs for that, you must be one fine upstanding and efficient example of the British farmer you must!”

“Indeed I am mate, indeed I am. Now, I don’t suppose you can do that in cash can you? See, the ball and chain, poor crippled dear, has to go to the dentist tomorrow. He’s one of those American bastards, only takes cash. You know how it is.”

“Let me see, I’ll have to check my wallet. Well what do you know, I just happen to have £10,000 in unmarked notes. Will that do my fine fellow?”

“A pleasure doing business with you, where shall I offload them?”

“Bay number nine, there just happens to be a team just waiting, and a fleet of delivery trucks to get them off to the stores. By the way, I didn’t seem to catch you name?”

“John Doe mate, John Doe…”

The news went on, and a rather poignant interview of a Farmer surrounded by what appeared to be a very healthy flock of chickens clucking about in the dirt was shown. He rather grimly said that the industry had thought something was wrong. Demand for free range eggs kept growing, yet the price kept dropping. So people, next time you’re in the supermarket, and buying those free range eggs grown of happy chickens, don’t wince at paying a few extra pence, and think of the farmer who needs those pence. Don’t think of the poor deluded supermarket who seems to have “bought” free range eggs in their millions, but don’t seem to know from whom.


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