Saturday, February 14, 2009


When I was young, yes that long ago, I went to a boarding school between Liverpool and Southport. Each term a school “patron” would appear for afternoon tea and with him came boxes of delicious cakes. As our usual fare was bread and jam you can imagine how these visits were welcomed. In due course I learnt that the cakes, over a 100 of them, were bought from Marks and Sparks cheap because they were nearing the end of their shelf life. Given we were used to a diet of “splosh” and “dead baby” slightly dated cakes were no problem at all.

Now this week those memories came flooding back when I saw a newspaper photograph that showed the true depth of the economic crisis we are in. It was a group of men and women sifting through the rubbish bins outside Mercadona supermarket in La Línea de la Concepción looking for products that had been thrown away because they were out of date.

Now every supermarket in Spain, western Europe and beyond at the end of the working day throws out product that is perfectly safe to eat but has passed its precautionary sell by date. However if these foodstuffs have to be dumped then please don’t let them be fed to the rats and seagulls or recycled but given to those in our society who now more than ever cannot make ends meet.

These are the true victims of our economic crisis not the financiers who caused it through their greed and incompetence who are rewarded for their failure with tax payer bailouts and golden handshakes. A bit of neck wringing would not go amiss here but our politicians won’t say boo to those geese!

There are organizations such as Caritas and municipal departments in every city, town and village in Spain that are geared up to meet the needs of those who are starving in our society. It would be a relatively simply matter for at the end of each day the food that can no longer be sold to be collected for these poor souls.

This economic crisis is going to get worse before it gets better. It would be a brave man or woman who looks down their noses at these desperately hungry folk – for believe me there but for the grace of God go you and I – and we may well go there yet before this catastrophe is over.

Let them eat these cakes - please!


PROSPERO said...

I write this while I eat cake but check our friend Alexander Bewick on the Crisis...

Mary said...

I have always been incensed by Continente/Carrefour etc.
letting their fish and fruit almost rot on display before removing the
goods, why not bag it up and sell cheaper or give away to local charities
before it reaches that stage- better publicity than having people rooting
through your bins, it's disgraceful, images of Brazil. When I took the
question up at the fish counter and consequently the suggestion box few
years ago they answered me that it was because of the health hazard- no they
can't sue you for food poisoning if it's filched from the bottom of a
disgusting bin but they can certainly palm it off upside down and covered in
ice to a paying customer.