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It's OK to be pernickety about some pick 'n' mix




<em>Illustration: Caroline Adaszynski</em>

Illustration: Caroline Adaszynski

NOT that it's any of my business, but it seems there is a breed of shopper who feels they are entitled to rummage until they find the only one item that is good enough for them.

In bookshops, especially where there is a stack of the same title, the one that suits this shopper is the one at the bottom.

In the neat pile of T-shirts, the one the rummager desperately wants is again at the bottom, and in the process of unearthing it, all the others are unfolded, inspected and cast aside.

These kinds of rummagers get my disapproving stare, but it is in the fruit and veg shop that I feel compelled to speak. The masseuse kneading the avocados or mangoes may get a wimpish ''Softening them up, are you?'' from me; the splitter, attacking bunches of bananas and trusses of tomatoes, may get a helpful ''You'll find the single ones more cheaply over there''.

By the time the flapper gets to the bottom of the spinach display, the once lush bunches resemble pompoms, too shabby now even for cheerleaders.

The newly manicured customer, needing five zucchini of exactly the same length and girth, leaves the rest with scratch marks. No doubt she can make a nice salad from the divots under her fingernails, having collected more from the Lebanese cucumbers and button mushrooms.

I take comfort from the fishmonger who reprimand a toucher who reached over the glass to finger the salmon fillets. He told her she had to buy the ones she had handled. She didn't, and I can only hope she never shops there again.

So when I get home and an avocado I cut open is covered in finger-sized bruises, I wish I had made a voodoo doll when I first saw the masseuse at work.

''Where is your community spirit?'' I scream silently. At tea with aunty, after a quick squeeze of them all, do you select the only good cupcake from the bottom of the artistically arranged pyramid? And, aunty, are you happy with the pyramid's ruins, delighted that your apprentice has found ''the one''?

I am, however, a glass half-full sort of person. Sometimes I do get a T-shirt for a reduced price because it has a dirty mark on it from being discarded by a rummager. Sometimes I get a book discounted because it was damaged in a midden of discarded copies. Sometimes I get bananas or tomatoes more cheaply because they are no longer attached to their siblings.

Just don't get me started on the samplers who don't need lunch by the time they reach the checkout.

Caroline Adey

HuffPost Australia

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